In Cressida Cowell’s book How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III starts training with the other kids in Berk to be dragon masters. To do this, each of the boys must steal a dragon from the nest, and Hiccup gets a tiny, not-at-all-intimidating dragon who is very grumpy and stubborn. Yet this is the dragon Hiccup must somehow train in order to become officially part of the Hairy Hooligans tribe.
I love the film trilogy based on this series, and I’d heard the books are cute, if vastly different. Then, since I’ve been on a bit of a David Tennant kick lately, I decided to listen to this audiobook. And wow, it was adorable. Also, Tennant is—no surprise at all—the perfect narrator for this. He injects so much humor and personality into the characters (especially the Green Death, wow). And honestly, people, can’t we let him use his Scottish accent all the time? This was flawless! My only criticism is sometimes he spoke a little too quietly, but that is my fault for listening to this in a car, dealing with road noise.
This book is way different from the film, just as I’d heard, but it’s still very enjoyable! Hiccup is a sheepish, reluctant Viking, but he still wants to be a part of that world. Toothless is much more cantankerous than in the film, but he’s funny—and he talks! The other characters are quite different, but entertaining in their own ways. I especially liked Stoick, Gobber, and Fishlegs—though unsurprisingly, Hiccup and Toothless were my favorites.
The idea of Hiccup learning how to speak Dragonese when no one else bothers is a nice touch, and helps show that the best way to make connections isn’t through brute force, like the other Vikings believe. I liked that this book is ultimately about being creative and seeing things in a new or unconventional way, rather than using traditional methods out of habit. It’s a good lesson for kids, teaching them to think outside the box.
In the end, How to Train Your Dragon is a charming, amusing story. It’s got great world building, characters, and story. The humor can be a little childish at times, but the adventure is excellent. This is a story with a lot of heart, and it’s a great first book of the series. I’d definitely recommend it to kids!
Overall rating: 8.5/10 but David Tennant’s voice gets a 10/10 🙂