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Dragonhaven
Dragonhaven
Author: Robin McKinley
Jake lives with his scientist father at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park -- home to about two hundred of the remaining Daco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild. But dragon consevation is controversial. Detractors say dragons are much too dangerous and should be destroyed. Supporters say ther...  more »
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PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780441016433
ISBN-10: 044101643X
Publication Date: 9/30/2008
Pages: 338
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 22

3.6 stars, based on 22 ratings
Publisher: Ace Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review
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ruthy avatar reviewed Dragonhaven on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I enjoyed reading this book since it was a change from the usual "history" type recount and more of a contemporary setting. It's set in Modern Day USA and written from the point of view and experiences of a teen-aged boy who really doesn't want to write it but has to because of his job and the help it will give to the preservation of the species of dragons that few people ever see from a long distance and rarer still from a close-up and personal situation. In fact most people up to the time the incidents in the book happen deny there are dragons. The main character has the usual teen-age complaints especially since he is the son of a conservator or "Park Ranger" type Forest Service administrator who is bound to his calling no matter the problems of beaureaucratic aspect of the requirements of his job (and those requirements are onerous to say the least)out in the middle of nowhere. I felt in some ways that the author was a little clumsy in representing and expressing the feelings of a "teen-ager", but she puts him in some really gut-wrenching life situations - so that may account for it. Ultimately, it is a very refreshing look at the possibility of "if there were dragons - what would they be like?" and "what we do to save the rapidly dwindling numbers of them".
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GeniusJen avatar reviewed Dragonhaven on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

For his entire life, Jacob Mendoza has lived in Smokehill National Park, one of the last and largest wildlife preserves for Draco australiensis in the world. His father, who heads the Institute dedicated to the study of the endangered dragons, has kept a tight leash on him since Jacob's mother died while on sabbatical a few years ago. Finally, though, Jacob's father has agreed to let him finally go on his first solo overnight stay deep in the park.

Although not as excited as he probably would have been about it before his mother's death, Jacob hikes out on his own, determined to cover some good ground before he has to meet up with the head Ranger the following morning. However, his plans for doing so are cut short when he comes across a horrific site.

A wounded mother dragon who has just given birth lies next to the remains of the poacher who presumably attacked her. Jacob creeps up to the massive creature and finds himself drowning in her eyes before she dies, leaving him with strange sensations of anger, despair, and hope swirling inside him. Stunned and crying, he begins to stumble away, passing by her babies who are now scattered on the ground...and he notices that one is still alive.

Instinct takes over, and Jacob now finds himself a surrogate mother for a creature that nobody knows how to raise. What's worse is that, now that a dragon has killed a human, all of Smokehill may be gravely in danger, for, not only is it against the law to kill a dragon, but it is also against the law to save one's life.

Although I enjoyed watching the bonding of Jacob and his foundling, and the descriptions of some of these otherworldly sensations impressed me, I found this book very difficult to read. Jacob as narrator tends to ramble a lot, and he "speaks" in an extremely informal manner. However, some readers may find this style more appealing and easier to understand than traditional narration. The idea of a dragon preserve is nevertheless an appealing one, and I think that any fans of dragons may find this story fascinating if for that reason only.
bonnien5 avatar reviewed Dragonhaven on
I am a huge fan of Robin McKinley. This isn't one of my favorite of her books, but I still really liked it. It was very imaginative in it's description of what it would be like to have dragons, to spend ones whole life protecting even the memory of them.


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