A Love for Dragon Lore
There are few supernatural characters that I cannot resist when I peruse new fantasy titles. One is vampires, and the other is dragons! I love stories with dragons and wish dragons were real, so it is incredibly hard to pick favorite stories. However, here are some particular favorites, some classic, some new, and one with tacos (because everyone loves tacos)!
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
When I was thirteen, my aunt gifted me classic science fiction and fantasy novels to introduce me to the genre, and I have not looked back since. One of the titles was Dragonflight, the first in the Dragonriders of Pern series. Our main character is Lessa, a headstrong woman who is the lone survivor of the massacre of her family, pretending to be a lowly servant in the ancestral home that was taken from her. While she bides her time, her path changes when dragonriders from the last weyr stronghold come to her home looking for gifted women to become the next weyrwoman for the soon-to-hatch queen egg. One of the riders, F’lar, recognizes Lessa’s strength and her affinity with the dragons, and she chooses to become a weyrwoman to the dragon Ramoth and to protect Pern from a danger that threatens to burn the world. Soon dangerous Threads will fall from the sky, and Lessa’s journey as weyrwoman may save not only the last weyr, but the whole world. What makes this book so strong is that that McCaffrey has built a very nuanced world with a lot of detail in a small package, and the affinity between dragons and humans is written so well you can feel every creature as a unique character.
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
This book, the first in a series of eight, is the wonderful adventure of Captain Will Laurence and Temeraire, his dragon. The tale begins when Laurence, a British navy captain during the Napoleonic Wars, captures a French ship containing a dragon egg. Upon discovery, it is clear that the egg is about to hatch. In this alternate history, dragons are used in the military, and so all the single men, including Laurence, await the hatching so that it may be harnessed by one of them before it becomes feral and flies away, forever to remain untamed. Temeraire attaches to Captain Laurence and he is obliged to leave the Royal Navy and join the Royal Aerial Corps. What follows is a moving and wonderful story of a bond between a man and a unique breed of dragon that could change the tide of the Napoleonic War. This tale perfectly blends history and the fantastic, and the series has just been completed by Novik with the last book, League of Dragons.
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
This tale, written as a memoir by the main character, Isabella, Lady Trent, is a lighter tale, wherein Isabella’s eccentricity, intelligence, stubbornness, and desire to learn about dragons often gets her into trouble. Set in an alternate world very much like Victorian England, Isabella studied dragons all her life, at least as much as a lady of proper breeding could be allowed to do. After a few accidentally dangerous adventures with dragons as a child, she is forced to settle down and act the proper lady until she marries Lord Trent, who like her father, encourages her need to learn more about dragons (within reason). They embark on an adventure to the far away Vystrana to study them on a expedition with Lord Hilford. What happens next is full of intrigue, danger, and adventure, as local superstition, politics, and angry dragons complicate the expedition and Isabella attempts to unwind it all. The dry humor and dialogue complement this tale, which is still an ongoing series from the point of view of the elderly Lady Trent, reminiscing on her interesting and pioneering past.
The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
Blue for the mind. Green for the body. Red for the fire. Black for the push. In this new series, Draconis Memoria, Ryan creates a world of incredible depth, where the blood of drakes give Blood Blessed men and women amazing powers. The blood of blue drakes, sea serpents, gives the power to communicate mind to mind with another Blood Blessed over long distances. The blood of green drakes, land dragons, gives the power of healing and strength. The blood of red drakes, flying and fire-breathing dragons, gives the power to create fire. The blood of black drakes, immense and powerful flying dragons, gives the power to manipulate physical objects and people. In this world, the blood of drakes is a commodity, and the empire or syndicate that controls the most is immensely powerful. However, the blood of drakes has been so over-harvested it is becoming scarce as the drakes become harder to find in the wild. The Ironship Trading Syndicate attempts to keep its power against the Corvantine Empire by searching for the mythical White Drake, whose blood is said to give Blood Blessed the power to see the future. As the search begins, war breaks out between the two powers, drawing in dozens of Blood Blessed, heroes, villains, and antiheroes. This book is an epic story in an immense world that will suck you in and has an ending that you might not see coming.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
This delightful picture book is super fun! It features: dragons, tacos, and dragons eating tacos! However, dragons do not like spicy salsa; in fact, they hate it! It makes their ears smoke and they snort sparks and they might breathe fire, which would put a damper on your taco party. So whatever you do, don’t serve spicy salsa at a dragon taco party, but make sure you have plenty of tacos. The illustrations by Daniel Salmieri are lovely, with many cute dragons partying and eating scrumptious tacos by the literal boatload. The details and the humor of this picture book are great for children and for adults who love a good illustrated story.