Book Review

The Remedy – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★ ☆ ☆ (3 / 5 stars)

Some people go through life in pain, wandering in a haze wonder whether their own lives are worth it. This is the case for Derrick. When given the opportunity to cure himself, after years of false hope, he hops on it, brought into Dr. Lang’s strange new methods. As the weight on his heart begins to rise, Derrick believes an end is finally in sight…even if it is not the one he intended.

I had to think about this story for a bit. At first glance, I enjoyed it; it’s shock ending left me surprised, but strangely satisfied.

But as I thought more about the story, I realized just how terrible the ending really is for Derrick. This is a dark story; not necessarily one of horror, but one that hits close to home for many individuals in the world. And, that being said, I think a heavy content warning should be placed at the start of this story.

For the purpose of this review, I would also like to place a content warning for discussing suicide. 

There are two sides to this story: a story of a man finally coming to peace with taking his own life, and a story of assisted suicide. In some aspects, an individual should be given a chance to choose their fate. That is the case with Derrick; he sought out a remedy to his problems, and openly welcomed death at the end. 

But, the story also gives the wrong message: death is the remedy for all these problems. This is a dangerous message to deploy, especially without the proper content warnings.  Suicide is a taboo subject as it is, and to write a “horror/suspense” story about it needs to be done with care.

That being said, since the story did make me think, I am willing to give it 3 stars. While some elements were vague, and others made me uncomfortable, it still got my gears working. 

And as I said, at the start, I really enjoyed the story. It just didn’t handle the overall message properly. 

What’s it about?

He’s a man with a body under siege—and the willingness to proceed with a cure so miraculous all one can do is gasp—in this chilling story by New York Times bestselling author Adam Haslett.

After years of traditional treatments and therapies, Derrick still suffers from pain ineluctable enough that it has become his identity. Then he hears of an exclusive, very private New York clinic that promises relief. It comes highly recommended by a friend. The multisession remedy unfolds as a sensorial wonder that’s so illuminating it’s enough to bring tears to Derrick’s eyes. It’s all working so well. So unexpectedly well.

Adam Haslett’s The Remedy is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

Book Review

Gray Heart – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★ ☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)

 A year has passed since Kanna sealed her second irregular inside of her. Now a shell of her former self, Kanna is struggling to maintain her friendships and focus on the tasks at hand. But, when a competition for her hand in marriage suddenly sends her life into a spiral, Kanna is forced to keep her head high, while also searching for the last two irregulars… as well as the origins to her own past. 

In the conclusion to the Dark Irregular Trilogy, we finally are given a chance to see Kanna embrace her destiny. She parades this resilience with pride and courage, and despite every trial and tribulation, she comes out stronger for it. Kanna, as the cornerstone of the trilogy, is an admirable character, each of her decisions made on her own, after weighing all options. She is never the one being rescued; no, she is the one doing the rescuing, even if people don’t want it to be the case.

The overall conclusion of this trilogy is satisfying; it gives Kanna, Kenneth, and their friends the closure they need, with an ending that will leave fans smiling. In reality, the Dark Irregularity trilogy is a critique on light versus dark. Not everything light is good, and not everything dubbed “evil” is bad. Sometimes, there’s this gray area…just like Kanna’s heart. 

As I’ve said with Kaitlyn Legaspi’s writing before, there is room for improvement. There is so much potential worldbuilding in the Dark Irregular Trilogy, that there could be spinoffs just about some of the side characters! Some of the side characters fell flat, but those with personality shone through like diamonds (such as Bel, Ronan, Neel, and Cedric). I really wish we could have spent more time with them, expanding on the universe of the irregulars and the magic system.

What ultimately brings this story to 3.75 stars for me is the romance in this story. Spoiler warning ahead.

While I love both Kanna and Kenneth, starting with Dark Irregular, I saw them more as brother and sister, mentor and mentee, rather than “lovers”. While Legaspi does spare us the details of a relationship between a minor and an adult at this point, where ultimately the two of them don’t get together until many years pass, it couldn’t help but feel a little off to me. Perhaps this was due to my own preconceived notion on their relationship, which hindered my enjoyment of their slow-burn romance. 

Overall though, while there were some things I wanted to learn more about, Gray Heart provided a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy. I’ve already seen how Legaspi has improved since this trilogy in her Cardholders Series! I cannot wait to see what she introduces us to next!

What’s it about?

After a year of having two irregulars sealed inside of her, Kanna has shown no sign of ever regaining her lost voice or taken emotions. As a result, life has become more monotonous and repetitive than it was after the first transfer, and Kenneth and her close friends are starting to give up on the idea of her former self ever returning.

Thankfully, a new sport known as Soul Slicing has risen to newfound popularity and has given her a single reason to feel a semblance of a rush of excitement. Unfortunately, it is also the bringer of some unexpected news the queen declares on Kanna’s seventeenth birthday: her marriage to one of five champions of Sylenia as a condition of the merging of the two sides of the kingdom.

As the competition to gain the princess’s favor ensues, an even greater problem arises as she learns more about her origins, her powers, and the devastating fate that she will do her absolute best to change.


Book Review

Silverswift – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 / 5 stars, DNF @ 60%)

Eliza loves her Nana Mora, especially her stories about Silverswift, the legendary mermaid! One winter,  Eliza receives a letter from Mora asking her to spend time with her for the holidays on St. Simmons Island. After arguing with her mother about the story, eventually she is allowed to go. But when she arrives, she finds her grandmother more distraught than ever. Is it possible the story of Silverswift is true? And if so…can they make it to Siren’s Harbor before the solstice so Nana Mora can see Silverswift one last time? 

I suppose it has finally happened: I have DNF’d a book that I can actually rate. I never rate a book unless I hit 50% of the way through. For awhile, I kept trying to push through this story, but something just didn’t work for me.

The story itself is heartwarming: a grandmother and her granddaughter hunting for a mythical legend, while facing issues about family and friendships. The message is warm, and it’s well written, intermingled with a subtle hint of fantasy. I wanted to find Siren’s Harbor as much as Mora and Eliza! 

But, especially for a middle-grade novel, it dragged. It might have been the narration, which still seemed slow at 1.25x speed! I felt my mind wandering while listening to this book. Often times, when I am listening to an audiobook and I struggle the narrator, I’ll go and find the actual book or eBook. But, this story was only shared as an audiobook, so I had to make the choice as to whether or not I wanted to finish it, especially when I have many other stories in my Library. 

I chose to DNF it. While I am sure the story ultimately has a great message in it, now just wasn’t the time for me to listen to it. 

Also, personally, I was more interested in Eliza and Mora than in the detours into Silverswift’s tale, and that’s when my interest began to wane. I’m sure a lot of children will want to hear about Silverswift though…and possibly find Eliza and Mora less interesting (but I don’t speak for children). What I do think is that since the narration was so slow, it might not keep the interest of children. Though, it might help them get to sleep at night (for better or worse).

I definitely do not recommend using my review to determine if you’ll enjoy this book. Perhaps you can overlook the slow narration, or will find the tale to be the mermaid story of your dreams. Personally, this audiobook did not work for me.  

What’s it about?

The wind is always looking for a story to tell….   

On a dark, wintry day, Eliza Grey receives a mysterious letter from her ailing Nana Mora begging her to come for a visit. This is an easy “Yes”. Eliza has always preferred Nana Mora’s beach cottage on St. Simons Island to the apartment she and her mom call home in the city. The island is a magical place where stories and legends grow as thick as the Spanish moss dangling in the trees. Now, Nana Mora’s eyesight is fading, and there’s something she wants to show Eliza before it’s totally gone: a mythical place locals refer to as Sirens Harbor. Supposedly hidden somewhere on the island, it’s a place where all the mermaids in the world congregate once a year to sing their Winter Song. It’s all fairy-tale silliness, according to Eliza’s mom. But Nana Mora is convinced it’s real.   

With the help of an eccentric lighthouse keeper, Nana and Eliza pack up their gear and set out on their journey. As they travel, Eliza hears the real story of Sirens Harbor…along with the story of a fearsome mermaid named Silverswift, a warrior-princess rumored to have walked on the islands. Challenges abound for the adventurers: old maps are hard to read, and treacherous trails spiral through the woods. And there’s a strange storm spinning all around them. It’s almost as if some things are meant to stay secret. As if the harbor doesn’t want to be found. Or as if, maybe, someone doesn’t want them to find it….  

One thing is for sure: what Eliza and her grandmother actually discover on the night of the winter solstice will be better than any fairytale. As Nana Mora says: “Some stories aren’t fiction, my darling Eliza. Some stories are lifetimes.”  



Tuppence: A Fairy Tale Retelling – PREORDER NOW

A farmgirl. A goat. ⁠
And a song that will change her life.⁠

Her whole life, Tuppence has dreamt of leaving the hillside to make a life in the Kingdom. When the King hosts a Grand Ball, she finally sees a way out, only to have her dreams squashed by her bitter mother and two sisters, Uma and Tertia.⁠

With only a goat and her gift of song, Tuppence begins to develop her own plan to escape…only to discover the true nature of the Kingdom beneath the Hill. ⁠

Inspired by the Grimm Fairy Tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, with a touch of Cinderella, venture from the hillside with Tuppence and her sisters to discover where true magic lies. ⁠

Content Warning: Contains mentions of violence and animal cruelty.⁠⁠

Book Review

Hollows of the Nox – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)

 Eldritch has dreamed of a greater life for a long time. After immersing himself in books, he begins to hear voices demanding more. But, with the beautiful Sayeh captivating his heart, he has to choose between a life of adventure or settling down in Raikrune. After Sayeh begins to sucuumb to the darkness, Eldritch is forced to flee his home and immerse himself in an adventure he only dreamt about. Can he harness the magic as he always wanted? Or will he sucuumb to something far more powerful?

In a fast paced novel about the risks and rewards of magic, power, and love, we journey with Eldritch through both his good and bad choices. A constant reminder is in the air: do not give into temptation. But Eldritch is young and foolish; he yearns for more than his petty life as a farmer’s son. Given a chance, he jumps on the possibility to learn magic and go on adventure. 

Yet, like any young man, Eldritch is also naïve. He believes what he hears about evil and good, making him an easy target for the darkness lurking in the woods. It’s no wonder the Nox choose him as their vessel, and use his heart and love for Sayeh to their advantage. Matthew Nordin does a fantastic job in making this believable, and while I kept shouting “NO” as Eldritch made these poor decisions, I also couldn’t dare look away. 

Nordin plays on our familiarity with topics like the fae and elves to build his world….but leaves enough to the imaginatin to desire more! I will, without a doubt, be picking up the next Shadows of Eleanor book to learn more.

Yet, my one hang up (and possibly selfish desire) was how I wanted MORE. The characters, especially Sayeh, needed to be developed a bit more. While I understood Eldritch’s love for her, I would have liked to see more of her personality beside the “kind bookshop girl”, especially before the darkness comes. Overall though, this didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the narrative.

Hollows of the Nox bears a very deep message about consequences. Placed in a unique and fantastical world, I cannot wait to delve into more of Matthew Nordin’s writing. Definitely check it out! 

What’s it about?

In the quiet bookshop of Raikrune, a young scholar named Eldritch finds solace while reading stories about the elusive fae. The books speak to him, whispering of a power locked away for centuries. His destiny is rewritten when he discovers hidden texts of ancient magic and meets an odd stranger traveling to the border town of the fairy forest. After tragedy forces him to leave all he knows behind, his quest for the unknown will teach him that some magic should not be found.

Hollows of the Nox is a standalone novel that begins the Shadows of Eleanor series. These fantasy stories delve into a realm where magic can be possible, at a cost. Find more of Matthew’s books at


Book Review

Civil Blood – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)

Enter a not so distant future:  a new infection is sweeping the nation, effectively turning the individuals into vampires. When Infinity DeStard gets infected after working for a taskforce set out to destroy these “vipes”, her entire focus changes. She becomes fixated on teaming up with Morgan Lorenz to give vipes the same rights as humans. But, with Benjamin Rush Health Initiative on her case, she has to choose between abiding by the law, or surviving while the court cases come together.

Civil Blood is a unique take on the vampire mythos, focusing on a more scientific aspect (that seems even more valid today in our Covid-19 world). What defines a human? Or DNA or something more? And in a world where vampirism comes form a genetic-altering disease,  are those infected even human anymore? 

Rather than being placed in the arms of solely the “hunter” or the “vampire”, we see both sides of the argument. We see Infinity as she fights for survival, Roland as he tries to decide his place, Lorenz as he attempts to hold onto his humanity, and Kern as he tries to obliterate the virus. There is no true “hero” in this story; only different people trying to survive.

Hepler is clearly a talented writer with a knack for both science and legalese. We enter a world with this not too different from our own, and in fact it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a virus like this emerging in our world today. But, while his writing is wonderful, it’s the scientific aspects that held the book up. It starts slow, throwing a bunch of new terms at the reader, bogging us down with science before we even get to really know our main characters. I’d say I didn’t feel comfortable with all the terminology until about 30% into the book. In addition, for a book being advertised as  a “legal case”, the actual courtroom and legal filings only took place in the middle of the book, focusing more on the well-written and entertaining action scenes. While I have complaint about that, I was expecting a bit more focus on the legal side (which for me personally was a bit of let down). 

Another small thing that bothered me was the way the story was written. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of when a 1st Person POV is being used for every single character in the novel. While this can work with a small cast, Civil Blood consists of quite a few POV characters outside of Infinity and Roland. This got a bit confusing, especially with some of the less defined characters. But again, this was a very personal take on this.

Overall though, this concept is quite an original take on vampirism and the justice (or injustice) system, with a well thought out plot and scientific mind behind it. I’m curious to see where Chris Hepler will take us next, whether it’s back into this world of vampires, or somewhere else entirely. Definitely worth checking out! 

What’s it about?



In a future America still recognizable as our own, the outbreak of a vampire virus becomes front-page news. An infected trial lawyer named Morgan Lorenz sues the corporation that tried to conceal the existence of the virus, claiming medical negligence on a massive scale.

Facing potential bankruptcy, the Benjamin Rush Health Initiative files a unique motion. They say Lorenz cannot sue, because he’s no longer human. For him, and all vampires like him, the Constitution simply doesn’t apply.

Infinity DeStard and her “Forced Protection” team are assigned to kill Lorenz before the case reaches the Supreme Court. It’s hard to fake enthusiasm ever since her own infection, but she has no choice. If she breathes a word about her condition, her team will execute her.

In the face of injustice, how long can she lie to them… and herself


Book Review

Nightmare Train – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)

Jessica has settled down into a life in Apple Grove with her “hunky” husband, Beau, and son, Oliver. But Apple Grove haunts her nightmares, after years of repressing memories and a drinking habit. Little did she expect that one day, a train crash would bring her nightmares to life. Suddenly, a faceless man is haunting the street, a student at her school commits murder, and nightmares come out of the shadows. Can she escape Apple Grove with her family before it’s too late? Or is this nightmare her new life?

In a story reminiscent of any traditional horror film, venture into Jessica’s nightmares. The narrative is fast paced, but descriptive enough to pull you into the horrors overtaking Apple Grove. Each page turns with momentum, heart-wrenching fear, that speaks volumes about Karmellah Howlett’s ability as a horror writer. 

This story is not for the feint of heart thought. There are many dark aspects throughout the narrative, reflecting on abusive pasts and fears, that may not be for everyone. Like any horror story, it is not just about fictional demons, but those that have followed us as well.

One thing I must complement Howlett on is her ability to write the story as if it is a nightmare. The way the scenes switch, the way the characters move, I felt like I was a sleep, trying to navigate the confusion of my subconscious. I kept hoping that Jesscia would wake up by the end, choking down the tears over her losses, and begging with her that a happily ever after exists.

Perhaps it does, but with such a cliffhanger ending, it might not exist quite yet! 

While I had a few small hang ups, most of them had to do with personal preference: I would have liked a chance to breathe a bit longer, to really understand the source of the nightmares, and to understand the roots of Jessica’s emotions. This is more of a personal taste than anything though, and I think if you love fast paced novels…then this will definitely be for you! 

So if you’re looking for something to haunt your nightmares and keep you up at night, then I definitely recommend you check out Nightmare Train. I’m definitely adding Karmellah Howlett’s other books to my collection soon! 

What’s it about?

Jessica had escaped Apple Grove once, but fate – in the form of the hunky jock from her high school years – had brought her back. Now settled back into her childhood hometown, Jessica has learned to find comfort, if not happiness, in her daily life. She has a lot to be thankful for; Beau (her prince charming who she never quite feels like she deserves), their rambunctious son, Oliver; and her continued sobriety. Some days Jessica’s life feels like a dream. It isn’t until a fateful train crash on the outskirts of town that she realizes her dream may actually be a nightmare come to life.

Gabriel didn’t want much. He enjoyed his job at the garage, and the little apartment he shared with his cat. Fast girls and fast food were all the comfort he needed, never having fit in with the popular crowd. Then a train crashed, and somehow Gabriel found himself relying on a strange woman he met in the street for his survival.

The wreckage seems to have toppled the picturesque image of Apple Grove, unleashing terror and destruction in its wake. Giant spiders and zombies are the least of their worries as Jessica reunites with a supernatural entity from her past, who’s appearance unleashes a flood of memories long forgotten.

Can Jessica save them from the terrors of their dreams?
Can Jessica escape Apple Grove one last time?

**Deals with mature themes, consider this your trigger warning**


Book Review

Phoebe Douse: S3A2 – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 / 5 stars)

Phoebe Douse has always felt like she was a bit different. As a young girl, she embraced it, especially under Grandmother Naan’s guise. But as she gets older and enters high school, she can feel herself slipping away from the life she has in Crockett. But, at seemingly the most convenient time, she is accepted to the Murray School in Scotland for a  once in a lifetime opportunity. She takes the chance, but it turns out there is more to the Murray School than meets the eye: a strange chemistry and history class, students with odd abilities, and a secret society all exist right under the school’s otherwise normal exterior. Phoebe is skeptical at first, but as she begins to exhibit strange abilities, her entire world is thrown out of balance. Who can she trust? What secrets are worth sharing? And what did her Grandmother know about all this? And can she uncover the truth before one of her friends get hurt? 

Phoebe Douse: Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts (or S3A2) is a wonderful story reminiscent of the Harry Potter or Charlie Bone series. In fact, in a way, Phoebe Douse is everything we wish Harry Potter could have been. The cast is diverse and well thought out, with individuals from all backgrounds. It might not be the same “magical wizarding school” we grew up with, but there is something new and charming about Phoebe Douse that could bring about a new era. 

Phoebe is easy to connect with as a protagonist. Her constant hesitation and skepticism is something all teenagers could relate to, especially those escaping bullying and entering a new school. She slowly develops friendships with Zoe, Ingrid, Renaud, and the other, all of whom are unique in personality and characteristics. Just like Phoebe, I slowly grew more interested in “robotic Renaud”, and saw the character open up to her, and to the readers. And I was relieved that Phoebe seemed to have more of an interest in him than “Prince Charming” Colin. In fact, as Phoebe’s interest in Renaud grows, Colin’s presence in the story fades, which masterfully shows the way a teenage girl’s mind works: as friendships grow, others disappear…and that’s okay!

The reason why I can’t rate this more than 4.5 stars, despite being unable to put it down was for a couple very small reasons. The beginning was slow, taking until about 100 pages in to really get moving. Once Phoebe arrived in Scotland of course, the story took off. There are some little logistical things I wondered about of course: how Phoebe was able to get ready to go to Scotland in 2 weeks, why no one really gave her an orientation of the school, etc. This all may have been with purpose… after all, we are talking about “special abilities” here! I also hope, as I have this worry with a lot of YA books, that the author avoids creating a love triangle in the next book. All the pieces are there for one with Renaud and Colin…and I do hope it is avoided. (Perhaps this is because I am already in love with Renaud and Phoebe’s friendship…and like Ingrid and Zoe, I’m hoping to see it become something more!) 

Yet, overall, I really enjoyed this story! I want to find out more about the secrets of S3A2, the powers and abilities of Phoebe and her friends, and what dangers they will face next! In fact, I’ve already put book 2 on my TBR and intend to preorder it very soon.

So if you enjoy YA, special abilities, and want something to replace Harry Potter…I highly suggest checking out Phoebe Douse: S3A2. It’s definitely worth it!

What’s it about?

Grandmother Naan’s superstitious stories seem too peculiar and childish to Phoebe Douse. But when surprising and unfortunate circumstances in Texas lead her to accept a timely invitation to attend a remote boarding school, thousands of miles away in Scotland, Phoebe finds that everything is not what she made herself believe. Unwittingly, Phoebe is thrown onto the stage of power and danger as events unfold that reveal the extent of her abilities and Naan s connection to the school. There, Phoebe is introduced to the clandestine world of S3A2 and is forced to decide between her new friends and the promises of power and S3A2 status from the welcoming but strangely mysterious Headmaster Duff. In this first installment of a YA trilogy (for ages 12 and up), Phoebe Douse: S3A2 presents an adventure-filled, coming-of-age novel, with mystery and a touch of the paranormal. There are also themes on self-discovery, valuing culture and diversity, and building trust and friendship.

Book Review

Dreaming Your Dream – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)

 The war has passed, and humanity has lost the ability to feel. Operating in a state of emotionless dissonance, John navigates his life behind his gas mask, completing his usual routine. Sometimes, he gets a dangerous narcotic called “soap” to help him feel again. One day, when he is out obtaining “soap”, he happens upon a young woman named Kira being attacked by one of the dealers. What ensues unleashes a chain of events that leave John wondering: who is watching his emotions, is he at risk for being “removed” and if there is more going on that meets the eye? 

In a harrowing story that poses multiple questions about our reliance on AI (in this case, an artificial intelligence known as Celeste), the humanity of a machine, and the danger of emotions, we venture into a dystopian future that can easily be seen on our horizon. At what point will AI control our world, to the extent that it might just monitor and provide us with dreams? What about control our emotions? 

But is this AI also sentient? 

Starwing, coupled with illustrations by Melinda Maria, is a descriptive piece of work that will draw you into each dream, while also letting you see John’s world unfold. Every dream that John enters is coupled with symbolism, at times so subtle that even John doesn’t know it, while other times a blatant hint over what is to come. I feel like this is the type of book you could comb over multiple times and still miss some of the details! In these details, we can experience John’s emotions, and the idea of “feeling” is so central to the plot, that if we couldn’t feel with John, the story would be callous. 

These details also provide great foreshadowing: I was able to guess the “twist” behind  John’s romantic interest, long before John uncovered it. This is a huge kudos to the author – it takes skill to foreshadow with enough hints that the twist is still satisfying upon discovery, even if the reader uncovers it. 

Yet, Starwing’s amazing descriptors are also the story’s small flaw. It’s a slow paced book, meandering through John’s life as he slowly uncovers each secret. While each day has it reason, each dream has it’s purpose, I did find myself skimming in some parts to get to either the next revelation or bit of “action.” 

Overall though, Dreaming Your Dreams is a fascinating story, with beautiful illustrations and relatable characters. I’m always excited to read something that very well could occur in our world in the not-so-distant future. 

So celebrate your emotions…because who knows when you may have to tame them and put on a gas mask. 

What’s it about?

This illustrated novel tells the tale of a dystopian future where, following a war that nearly devastated humanity, the survivors partnered with Artificial Intelligence to create a brighter future. The people enjoy a virtual utopia every night by using interactive dream technology, but their computer-generated dreams are the only source of entertainment available. The AI determined that the root cause of all harmful human behaviours was uncontrolled emotions, but balanced, harmonious emotions are an integral aspect of wellness. It concluded that the only way to reliably achieve that was to eliminate emotion while a person was awake, then provide a safe way to experience the complete range of human emotions while engaged in dreaming. The story follows a man who struggles to hide the fact that he can still feel a low level of emotions during the day. He must keep his secret emotions and his mind strictly controlled-through the use of meditation-but he continues to make that harder and harder to accomplish when his life is on the line.

Book Review

How to Train Your Dragon – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆   (3.5 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★★ (5 / 5 Stars)

How do you train a dragon?

You yell at it, of course!

Or, well, that’s what Hiccup has been told by his tribe for years now. But, when it is finally time for his initiation, yelling at his small (and stubborn) dragon, Toothless, just doesn’t seem to work. Can he manage to get his dragon to obey and pass initiation? Or will he risk being banished from his tribe for good?

How to Train Your Dragon is the novel inspiration for the hit movie series, but it is quite different from the movie that many have come to know and love! While Hiccup is still a “weaker” and less “brave” Viking, compared to his comrades, the movie’s Toothless is a loveable beast that helps bring about acceptance to dragons again. But in the novel, there is quite a different tale. Toothless is stubborn and stuck up, more interested in himself than helping others, and quite miniscule in size. Even with Hiccup able to speak dragonese, Toothless doesn’t have any desire to respond. 

Yet, like in all great stories, Hiccup and Toothless do manage to come together in the end to defeat a great foe! 

I knew going into this book that it was quite different than the movie franchise. It’s more violent, with characters a bit less likeable, and a much different type of tribe. Dragons are loved by the Hooligans, and they are part of the initiation into adulthood. So if you decide to pick up this story, know you won’t necessarily meet the Hiccup and Toothless you met in the movies.

That being said, I do think the movie is a better overall story. Toothless isn’t necessarily as loveable (at least in David Tennant’s rendition), more of a nuisance than anything else. (Then again, who isn’t?) The story is also broken into two distinctive parts, less about how to actually train your dragon than the chaos that ensued. 

Will readers have fun though? Absolutely! It’s a great story and inspiration for a hit movie series, and it is definitely worth checking out…no matter how much your familiar with the tale. 

Plus, if you listen to the audio book, David Tennant is a wonderful narrator. 

What’s it about?

In the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you’d ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast; not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport and CERTAINLY not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet…