Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dragonhaven, by Robin McKinley

A new Robin McKinley book is always a matter for celebration. This one was good, but Sunshine, closely followed by Beauty, remain as my favourites. Oh, and The Blue Sword.

In an alternate version of contemporary times, Smokehill National Park where Jake has lived all his fifteen years is the only place in the US where dragons live. Although with five million acres and a Serious fence, they don't leave and are rarely seen. On his first solo overnight hike, Jake finds a dragonlet - and it's a serious federal offence to give succour to one. But he does (of course). And so the story travels.

While the voice of this story is Jake's voice, it's not necessarily a teenage boy's voice, somehow. I wanted to like this book more than I did - at times the prose is so dense and rolling and the sentences so long that I found myself losing track, a little, and needing to find my bearings again, reread sections to reorient myself....

Just so.

Would I read it again?

Yes. And maybe the second time, knowing the story, I could navigate the prose style more effectively (admittedly I was reading it at a gallop). But it felt like a looser, and I hesitate to say it, less disciplined (edited?) style than her other books. A lot closer to the almost stream-of-consciousness of her blog.

There is an extract from Dragonhaven on her website.

From her blog, I read that her next book, Chalice, is due out later this year (it's listed on Will I read that? Of course.

But I still love Sunshine best of anything and best of all, of her works.

Only The Blue Sword's so good, too. And Beauty....

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