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Dragonhaven (2007)

– tekijä: Robin McKinley

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,1805212,635 (3.54)112
When Jake Mendoza, who lives in the Smokehill National Park where his father runs the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies, goes on his first solo overnight in the park, he finds an infant dragon whose mother has been killed by a poacher.
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 52) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
{Stand-alone. Urban fantasy} (2007)

I'm still hoping that we'll see more books in McKinley's Damar series and although I've picked up some of her other books for my shelves, I admit I've been a bit tentative about reading them. But it's been a while since I've re-read a Damar book so I thought I'd give Dragonhaven a go.

This is set on an alternative Earth in a similar timeline to ours so, while dragons (and griffins and Loch Ness monsters and so on) exist, so do computers and the internet. The premise is that dragons were discovered in Australia about two hundred and fifty years ago (Cook landed in Botany Bay in 1770, for reference) and some were taken over to zoos in America and eventually Smokehill National Park was established for them to live in, about ninety years before the story starts, where they then kept very much to themselves. They are an endangered species and many groups want the land for development or mining or want the dragons destroyed or to poach them for the 'medicinal' value of their organs or are worried that dragons might fly out and so there is a protective fence around the park which has the side effect of nullifying a lot of modern technology inside its boundaries. The story is narrated by eighteen year old Jake Mendoza who is writing a book about events that started five years previously (and the epilogue is written five years after that although the narrative style doesn’t change).

Fourteen year old Jake was the son of the Director of the Institute at Smokehill which studied dragons (he's very insistent that Draco australiensis is the only true dragon) and had recently lost his mother. While on his first solo hiking trip in the park, he discovered a mother dragon who had been killed with only one just-born baby dragon surviving. Being used to animals at the small zoo and orphanage at the Institute, Jake rescued the baby and took her home to raise. But, of course, no one knew anything about dragons, much less baby dragons; Lois (as he named her) had imprinted on him and wouldn't let anyone else carry her; and because of the laws surrounding dragons, nobody else could know about her so she had to be raised in secret from the rest of the world; and she could start breathing fire at any moment.

I was sure Lois would be brokenhearted if she woke up one morning and discovered she'd fried me in her sleep ... but what if she did?

This is the story of Jake raising Lois; the overwhelming responsibility for a fourteen year old subsumed in rescuing a wild creature that no one knew much about and then the adventure that followed when she grew older and he needed to find dragons to reintroduce her to her species.

The writing style takes a while to get used to; it's very chatty (hah - imagine my seventeen year old son being chatty; but then again, you can't stop my twelve year old son talking) to the extent it's like my sister and I talking to each other, with lots of asides (in fact, we sometimes have to ask the other person to get to the point) and it took the first fifty or so pages (a chapter and a half out of eleven) before anything happened (Jake discovering the mother and baby dragons) and the story finally took off. It took me a bit longer than that to really get used to the chatty style, though (please see preceding sentence).

You don't go near a dying dragon. They can fry you after they're dead. The reflex that makes chickens run around after their heads are cut off makes dragons cough fire. Quite a few people have died this way, including one zoo-keeper. I suppose I wasn't thinking about that. I was thinking about the fact that she was dying, and that her babies were going to die because they had no mother, and that she'd know that. I boomeranged into thinking about my own mother again. They wanted to tell us, when they found her, that she must have died instantly. Seems to me, if she really did fall down that cliff, she'd've had time to think about it that Dad and I were going to be really miserable without her.

How do I know what a mother dragon thinks or doesn't think? But it was just so sad. I couldn't bear it. I went up to her. Went up to her head, which was likely nearly as big as a Ranger's cabin. She watched me coming. She watched me. I had to walk up most of the length of her body, so I had to walk past her babies, these little blobs that were baby dragons. They were born and everything. But they were already dead. So she was dying knowing her babies were already dead. I started to cry and I didn't even know it.


The story is information dense along the way (although it’s possible - and occasionally obvious - that some information is exaggerated by the ‘teenaged’ narrator); though my book came to 338 pages I feel that the print was smaller than usual so it took longer than I had anticipated to finish this book but I did like the story. For [[Lewis Carrol]] fans, there are a few Alice in Wonderland and Jabberwock references scattered about and are the origin of Lois's name.

The premise and the putative science behind it (a lot of which is worked out as the story develops, since this is the first baby dragon to be raised - or even seen - by humans) work. It's similar to learning to raise pandas: I recently caught part of a documentary observing baby pandas in the wild demonstrating behaviours that people hadn't realised are normal - like climbing high into a tree and staying there for a week while mama panda went foraging. They discovered that the black and white colouring is surprisingly effective against the light sky when the baby is sitting high in the branches of a tree bare of leaves. So now they're going to incorporate that into the way they raise captive pandas.

Well worth sticking with this book.

April 2021
4 stars ( )
  humouress | May 8, 2021 |
I am surprised this book worked for me, what with the narration being somewhat disjointed and repetitive. Repetition is one of the things that can turn me off a book pretty quickly. But somehow these elements just seemed to make the main character's attempts to describe both the traumatic and the almost inexplicable more real. There were things I didn't like--some of the language, and a thing or two that were not necessary to the plot that I felt the author threw in just to be able to say she had, but beyond that I enjoyed the story very much and feel she found the voice to tell it in. ( )
  vikinga | Jul 31, 2019 |
Lots of echoes of Diana Wynne Jones' 'Dragon Reserve, Home Eight' - or at least, what I remember of it. Now I need to go look that one up and see if they really relate at all. Dragonhaven is a lot richer and more filled-in, anyway - McKinley took Dragon Reserve and ran with it. Very interesting voice in the story - the fact that he's writing it afterward and reluctantly...I'd like to come back to that world in about 100 years and see what's happened.
Reread - but I didn't remember ever reading it before. It's a great story of culture clash - two human cultures (inside and outside the park) and the dragons. Lots of neat questions raised, very few answers - I'd (still) love to read a story set about a hundred years later. It is a somewhat odd voice - not only that he's writing it well after the fact, but that during the events he was pretty well out of it one way or another the whole time. Scientist parents do help with instinctive note-taking, though. Lots of very interesting people, human and otherwise. Darn, I thought I'd found a new McKinley...ah well, it was almost as good as new. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jul 18, 2019 |
The story in this book is fantastic, but I feel I should warn you: this is not written in Robin McKinley's usual style. It is written in the style of a teenage boy who would really rather be doing something other than writing. I think it's brilliant because one of the major themes of the book is the struggle to communicate, but you might not like it as much as I did. The plot entirely makes up for it, in my opinion! ( )
  R.E.Stearns | Aug 15, 2017 |
I respect what McKinley was trying to do here—I'm sure every author wants to try something completely new every now and again—but my goodness, this book was a slog. I kept expecting the writing style to get less painful and less difficult to read, either as the protagonist (described as an avid reader, though that never showed in his "writing"...) aged, or as I kept reading and just got used to it. But it never did. ( )
  bibliovermis | Sep 5, 2016 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 52) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (2 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Robin McKinleyensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Hovnatanian, PamelinaKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
White, CraigKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Henkilöt/hahmot
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Tärkeät paikat
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Tärkeät tapahtumat
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To Holly, Hazel, and Rowan
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
I keep having these conversations with Dad. I'm at my computer. He says, "What are you doing?" I mutter something, because the screen has a lot of squiggles on it, so he already knows what I'm doing.
Sitaatit
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The usual sorts of field surveys just don't work with dragons. Uh-huh, you say, thirty to eighty feet long (plus tail), flies, breathes fire, and you can't find them to count? Yup. That's right. You can't. After Old Pete opened the cages, they didn't just wander off, they disappeared. That's one of the reasons that a few people - Old Pete included - started wondering if dragons were, you know, intelligent.

Well, the mainstream scientists weren't having any of that, of course, humans are humans and animals are animals and anyone who says it's not that simple is a sentimental fool and a Bad Scientist. There is nothing you can say to a scientist that's worse than accusing them of being a Bad Scientist. They'd rather be arrested for bank robbery than for sentimentality.
Viimeiset sanat
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

When Jake Mendoza, who lives in the Smokehill National Park where his father runs the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies, goes on his first solo overnight in the park, he finds an infant dragon whose mother has been killed by a poacher.

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Keskiarvo: (3.54)
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