Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review: The Dragon's Heart by Jane Yolen

Dragon's Heart
Author: Jane Yolen
Publication: Harcourt Children's Books (May 4, 2009)

Description: Austar IV isn't the planet it once was, and when Jakkin and Akki finally return to the dragon nursery, their homecoming arouses mixed emotions. Together they've survived the insurmountable, and now they can weather the brutal conditions of Dark After and communicate with the dragons they love. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. What they've learned about survival could transform the planet--or, if entrusted to the wrong hands, bring about its destruction. Akki's insistence that she return to the Rokk to finish her training and begin new experiments drives a chasm between her and Jakkin. Suddenly she finds herself in the midst of a political battle that could claim her life. Only Jakkin can save her. If only he could reach her. . . .

My Thoughts: It was good to get back to Austar IV after many years away. I think I read the previous book in this series in 1987. This one has been sitting on my stack since the beginning of 2010. Thankfully, the book included both an introduction and a preface which did a lot to get me back up to speed on what I missed.

This one begins with Jakkin and Akki escaping from their captivity at the hands of the trogs and returning to the dragon nursery that was their home. But after being gone a year and because of some things they did before they left, they are returning to a world that is very different than the one they left.

The bonders revolted, the senate freed all the bonders, and the Federation has embargoed the planet for not more than fifty years. And Akki and Jakkin have changed beyond measure too. They spent the night in the egg sack of Jakkin's dying dragon to escape the bitter cold of the Dark-After and when they left it they could tolerate the cold and speak mind to mind with each other and with dragons. 

Akki is determined to discover how they developed their powers. She wants to find some sort of vaccine that will let others survive the cold and speak mind to mind but without the necessity of killing the female dragons. Jakkin is even more determined to protect the dragons.

Both have harrowing adventures as Akki learns that all the rebels weren't shipped off the prison planets or rehabilitated and Jakkin is recaptured by the trogs who had held them captive. 

The story was engaging and entertaining. I was swept into the story even though I barely remembered the first three books. The writing was wonderful. But, what else could one expect from Jane Yolen? Fantasy fans middle grade and up will enjoy this adventure story and will be eagerly searching out the previous three books in the series. 

Favorite Quote:

From Akki:
Quickly, she sorted through the six nails, chose the sharpest, his the other five under the filthy mattress. Flopping down on a dry part of the mattress--as far away from the wet spot as possible, as close to the window for the light--she began picking at the rope around her wrists with the sixth nail.
From Jakkin:
When he came to, besides a splitting headache, besides the bumps and bruises, he felt fine. If you can be fine upside down and carried on a pole by four subhumans going up a hill. If you can forget that your mouth tastes like fewmets, that your stomach feels as if a dragon has rolled over it. Fine if you aren't scared that everything you love is about to be slaughtered.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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