Dragon\’s Blood

by Jane Yolen

My first exposure to Jane Yolen was her Pit Dragon series, and these books have always remained my favorites of hers. They are set on an imaginary planet which was first seen as uninhabitable and used as a dumping ground for criminals. Some of them survived, and a rough civilization arose out of the extreme desert climate. Very few animals and plants on Austar IV were useful to humans, but the people managed to domesticate large winged lizards they called dragons. The society of Austar IV is based on a system of indentured servitude- masters and bondsmen- and full of gambling, drugs and prostitution. Betting is huge part of the economy, largely based on dragon fights in the \”pits\”.

The main character in Dragon\’s Blood is a teenage boy, Jakkin, who is a bondsman on a large dragon farm. His days are full of drudgery- mucking out dragon stalls, grooming and feeding the beasts. But unlike most of his companions who loathe their occupation, Jakkin likes working with the dragons and wants to train his own. He plans to steal an egg from his master, then raise and train the dragon in secret in the desert, hoping to buy his freedom with money he can earn from pit fights. His plan is fraught with danger and unforseen difficulties, but he finds an unexpected ally in his master\’s daughter, Akki. She\’s one of the stronger characters in the book, which makes up a little bit for the fact that on Austar IV, it\’s an accepted fact that most women are in \”baggeries\” (this aspect of the society is not a major part of the story, but only hinted at).

Even though this book has a very uncouth society, I didn\’t find it objectionable because it fit with the harsh setting and history. And although Jakkin based his gamble for freedom on thievery, I still found his character sympathetic and even admirable at times. I really liked how the dragons were depicted. Like Anne McCaffrey\’s dragons, Yolen\’s are telepathic- but very few people actually communicate with them, and the dragons do not \”speak\” in words and sentences; instead they form mental pictures with colors and shapes. They are quite believable creatures with individual personalities that don\’t reach above their bestial nature. I will always picture them as I saw in the original illustrations, which graced the covers of the first paperbacks I picked up in this series. I\’ve seen many new issues since then with different images, none as good as the first. Does anyone know the artist\’s name? I\’ve been unable to find it (my own copy is a hardback, with a different cover).

Rating: 4/5                    304 pages, 1982

More opinions at:
A Fort Made of Books
Nicole\’s Book Corner
Experiments in Reading

6 Responses

  1. I\’d be able to figure it out easily if I had one of those old paperbacks in my hand, but all the copies I find at libraries are newer ones… I think you\’d like this series! The second and third books get more complex about the planet\’s society (not as focused on the dragons) and I just found out there\’s a fourth one coming out in May!

  2. I read this trilogy a few years ago. I remember finding the last book totally trippy. I can\’t help in terms of the cover, seeing as my editions are super new and shiny, but you\’ve given me the urge to reread this series. I suddenly remember nothing from it…

  3. Oh, wow, I haven\’t thought about these books for ages. My sister gave me Dragon\’s Blood for my thirteenth birthday, so I\’m sure I still have it somewhere. I remember being enthralled by them at the time.

  4. Marg- I liked Briar Rose, too.Anonymous Child- well, perhaps my little reviews will remind you a bit! The third book really took me by surprise, too. I was not expecting it to go in that direction.Jenny- Enthralled is just the right word. I must have read the series half a dozen times when I was a teen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER:

All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it

SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL:

Subscribe to my blog:

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

VIEW MY PERSONAL COLLECTION:

TRADE BOOKS WITH ME ON:

ARCHIVES: 

2021
January 2021 (14)February 2021 (13)March 2021 (14)April 2021 (7)May 2021 (10)June 2021 (5)July 2021 (10)August 2021 (27)September 2021 (11)
2020
January 2020 (14)February 2020 (6)March 2020 (10)April 2020 (1)May 2020 (10)June 2020 (15)July 2020 (13)August 2020 (26)September 2020 (10)October 2020 (9)November 2020 (16)December 2020 (22)
2019
January 2019 (12)February 2019 (9)March 2019 (5)April 2019 (10)May 2019 (9)June 2019 (6)July 2019 (18)August 2019 (13)September 2019 (13)October 2019 (7)November 2019 (5)December 2019 (18)
2018
January 2018 (17)February 2018 (18)March 2018 (9)April 2018 (9)May 2018 (6)June 2018 (21)July 2018 (12)August 2018 (7)September 2018 (13)October 2018 (15)November 2018 (10)December 2018 (13)
2017
January 2017 (19)February 2017 (12)March 2017 (7)April 2017 (4)May 2017 (5)June 2017 (8)July 2017 (13)August 2017 (17)September 2017 (12)October 2017 (15)November 2017 (14)December 2017 (11)
2016
January 2016 (5)February 2016 (14)March 2016 (5)April 2016 (6)May 2016 (14)June 2016 (12)July 2016 (11)August 2016 (11)September 2016 (11)October 2016 (9)November 2016 (1)December 2016 (3)
2015
January 2015 (9)February 2015 (9)March 2015 (11)April 2015 (10)May 2015 (10)June 2015 (2)July 2015 (12)August 2015 (13)September 2015 (16)October 2015 (13)November 2015 (10)December 2015 (14)
2014
January 2014 (14)February 2014 (11)March 2014 (5)April 2014 (15)May 2014 (12)June 2014 (17)July 2014 (22)August 2014 (19)September 2014 (10)October 2014 (19)November 2014 (14)December 2014 (14)
2013
January 2013 (25)February 2013 (28)March 2013 (18)April 2013 (21)May 2013 (12)June 2013 (7)July 2013 (13)August 2013 (25)September 2013 (24)October 2013 (17)November 2013 (18)December 2013 (20)
2012
January 2012 (21)February 2012 (19)March 2012 (9)April 2012 (23)May 2012 (31)June 2012 (21)July 2012 (19)August 2012 (16)September 2012 (4)October 2012 (2)November 2012 (7)December 2012 (19)
2011
January 2011 (26)February 2011 (22)March 2011 (18)April 2011 (11)May 2011 (6)June 2011 (7)July 2011 (10)August 2011 (9)September 2011 (14)October 2011 (13)November 2011 (15)December 2011 (22)
2010
January 2010 (27)February 2010 (19)March 2010 (20)April 2010 (24)May 2010 (22)June 2010 (24)July 2010 (31)August 2010 (17)September 2010 (18)October 2010 (11)November 2010 (13)December 2010 (19)
2009
January 2009 (23)February 2009 (26)March 2009 (32)April 2009 (22)May 2009 (18)June 2009 (26)July 2009 (34)August 2009 (31)September 2009 (30)October 2009 (23)November 2009 (26)December 2009 (18)
2008
January 2008 (35)February 2008 (26)March 2008 (33)April 2008 (15)May 2008 (29)June 2008 (29)July 2008 (29)August 2008 (34)September 2008 (29)October 2008 (27)November 2008 (27)December 2008 (24)
2007
August 2007 (12)September 2007 (28)October 2007 (27)November 2007 (28)December 2007 (14)
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950