Reviewer: Katherine Ray

Author: Robin McKinley

Published: 2007

Reviewed: 2008-02-28

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

"Dragonhaven" is Robin McKinley's newest book. In all honesty this
should be enough. Ta da! I'm already done with the review. It's by
Robin McKinley, go read it. The thing is, I didn't write this review
earlier, because I wanted to have actually read the book before
indiscriminately recommending it to people. I did manage to recommend
it to someone before having read it myself, and they said,
paraphrasing of course, "Thanks for pointing out who it's by. The
cover blurb didn't look all that interesting, but now that I'm reading
it it's quite good."

All right, maybe you're the kind of person who wants to know a little
bit more about the book before you read it or haven't read any of
Robin McKinley's other books and aren't yet convinced that she's
really a good author. (But really, she could make even a paranormal
romance *coughvampireporncough* novel look good. Absolutely no
disrespect to "Sunshine," I rather enjoyed reading it when it came

"Dragonhaven" is set in a National Park not too far from Cheyenne,
Wyoming, and not too far into the past or future from now. The place
is pretty recognizable. The only thing is, this National Park is a
dragon preserve. The story is told from the point of view of a boy
who grew up in the park, which means the writing style is extremely
informal. (Rather like this review is, I sometimes pick up writing
style from whichever book I'm currently reading). Plot tensions come
from a couple of sources. In this version of the U.S. it is illegal
to either kill or raise a dragon (guess what the main character is
doing). Furthermore, nobody really knows anything about dragon
communication, customs or nutrition.

The massive epilogue at the end to tie up loose threads because the
narrator was a bit self-absorbed at the time he did most of the
narration was a bit awkward, but worked. There's room to write a
sequel, but the book stands alone nicely (rather like "The Blue Sword"
and "Hero and the Crown" don't depend on each other too heavily).