Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Remember when I stated that we were to read Wonder Struck for the International Book Discussion at the library? Yeah, well, the book changed because the price was too, well, pricey. So the library picked How to Train Your Dragon, a thinner, less expensive novel written by - possibly - a less pretentious writer. Great, that's sixteen dollars I won't be seeing again. On the upside, at least I didn't have to pay for this one. 

Co-worker Mike C. told me not to "cheat" and watch the movie thinking it was the same thing. Apparently, it's not. And a book hunter would never make such a novice mistake. So I cracked the novel and started reading. I was anticipating a short read. At least it didn't take me as long as Wonder Struck. Easier on the back, too.

How to Train Your Dragon is you're typical hero book. The wimpy Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is bullied by the piggish Snotlout. Aside from Fishlegs, Hiccup's the laughing stock of the Hairy Hooligans. It would probably be okay if Hiccup were just another Viking's son, but he's the son of Stoick the Vast, the chief of the Hairy Hooligans, meaning Hiccup is next in line. Not if Snotlout has something to say. Undermining everything Hiccup is, Snotlout thinks of himself as the next chief. So much so that when the boys pick their dragons - a rite of passage into the Hairy Hooligans - Snotlout picks a Monstrous Nightmare - a dragon only meant for the chief and his son. When trouble arises while picking their dragons, Hiccup gives up his dragon in order to save Fishlegs from exile. He returns to the dark dragon cave to retrieve another dragon for himself, grabbing a mysterious dragon that he "felt" was there. When Hiccup discovers the only remarkable thing about his dragon is how remarkably small it is, well, that's when things start getting interesting.

Like I said, the book's pretty much your run of the mill hero story. It's the same archetypal character. From Frodo Baggins to Peter Parker to Harry Potter, it's the small guy can save the world idea. And Hiccup and his small dragon, Toothless, prove just that. Cowell does present us with a story worth reading, but I can't imagine how the other books will differ from the same, basic idea - Hiccup, the boy you can't see as a hero, doing heroic things. And I can't see me reading them.

How to Train Your Dragon is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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