It is time to abandon ship me mateys! I am abandoning more books this year then usual. Sad. Perhaps that is because I am trying new things. In this case, this involved an old love – dragons! By all rights I should have loved this book. And I did sort of like it . . . up to a point.
I made it to the 63% mark before calling it quits. The novel is split into two parts – before dragons and after dragons. This is the story of a pygmy girl named Pip who is captured from her island and taken to be an exhibit in a zoo. I absolutely loved the majority of the section in the zoo. While in the zoo she makes friends with the creatures in her enclosure. Her friendship with Hunagu was the highlight. I loved Pip’s tenacity, intelligence, loyalty, and grit. Her growth was lovely to watch. She is small but fierce like me! Arrrrr!
The problem occurs when the dragons enter the story. I know crazy right? I adore dragons but from the point of Pip’s leaving the zoo, the story started to go downhill for me. I believe some of this is due to the structure of the novel. The zoo is a small world where the scenery doesn’t really change so all of the focus was on the characters and their relationships. I loved this character-driven section.
When Pip leaves the zoo, it is to enter the wider world. The focus on character relationships is mostly removed and the story shifts to the overall arcing politics of the world which I simply didn’t care for.
Pip ends up in dragon school and discovers her own nature. Hunagu disappears from huge parts of the story. We don’t even get to delve in the nitty-gritty of the school. It almost felt like it turned into a different book altogether at this point. While I love dragons, I didn’t love the dragons in this book or the dragon culture. Ah that’s saying something. So I stopped there.
Side note: The prologue of this novel was not good at all and felt kinda horrible with cliches of jungle people and Pygmies from Australia in particular. I should have stopped there maybe but I wanted to see how the dragons were displayed. Sigh.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Yesterday, a Dragon kidnapped me from my cage in a zoo.
Stolen from her jungle home and sold to a zookeeper, Pip knows only a world behind bars, a world in which a Pygmy warrior and her giant ape friends are a zoo attraction. She dreams of being Human. She dreams of escaping to the world outside her cage.
Then, the Dragon Zardon kidnaps her into a new life. Pip rides Dragonback across the Island-World to her new school – a school inside a volcano. A school where Humans learn to be Dragon Riders. But this is only a foretaste of her magical destiny, for the Dragon Assassins are coming. They have floated an Island across the Rift and their aim is nothing less than the massacre of all Dragons.
Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.
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