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Dragon's Bait Paperback – April 1, 2003

94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alys, falsely accused of witchcraft, her father dead from the strain of her trial, is condemned to be sacrificed to a dragon. So she is only too eager when Selendrile, a wonderfully ambiguous LeGuinian dragon able to assume a human form unexpectedly offers to help her retaliate. Together they contrive the disgrace of her inquisitor. But matters get complicated, forcing Alys to decide what she really wants after all. Vande Velde's ( User Unfriendly ) gripping adventure probes the issues associated with revenge, and Alys's response at the conclusion leaves ample room for a sequel. Some characters--in particular, an actual witch--are left disappointingly undeveloped, but Alys herself is a worthy heroine, with a capacious gift for irony. A thoughtful mainstream fantasy with a gently feminist slant. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-- In one afternoon, Alys, 15, loses everything. A motherless tinsmith's daughter, she is falsely accused of witchcraft by her greedy neighbors, convicted by Inquisitor Atherton, and staked out as bait for a marauding dragon. Upon hearing her sentence, her ailing father drops dead. No wonder she is ready to die when the dragon appears. To her surprise, the creature does not devour her. Instead, he changes into an attractive young man who offers to help her take vengeance on her enemies. As they embark on an elaborate scheme to frame Atherton and discredit the neighbors, Alys struggles to fathom the dragon's character. Is he cruel and deceitful, or worthy of her trust? Almost too late, she discovers that he has a fatal weakness, and she is willing to sacrifice her hopes of revenge, and even her own life, to save him. While the writing is smooth and the story moves quickly, the girl's emotions are not convincingly portrayed. The story's tone wobbles, sometimes keeping a comic distance from tragic events. The abrupt ending may leave readers puzzled as to the heroine's motivations. Still, libraries with an audience for entertaining, romantic fantasies may find this good book bait. --Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152166637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152166632
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Bechaz on September 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was a great book: a nice, easy-to-read page turner that had me hooked from start to finish.

I had no problems in believing any of the characters or settings. In fact, while I read this story, I was totally there! It was so compelling. Vivian Vande Velde is obviously an intelligent, accomplished author, and I look forward to reading more of her books.

The recommended reading age for this book--12 and up--was spot on, but I'd recommend it not just to teens, but to any adults who like a good fantasy read too. I mean, I'm 33 and I thought it was brilliant!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "liaden" on March 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Okay, so the title of this review is corny. But the book is wonderful; another of Vande Velde's recent publishings which, in my opinion, ever topple the last one in excellence.
In this book, fifteen year old Alys is learning how to fend for herself; her frail father is barely recovering from the winter's sickness while she must learn his tin-making trade to keep them both alive.
All this comes crashing down upon her ears when she is accused of witchcraft (of which she is innocent) by her scheming neighbors, plotting to take her father's land from her. The clever inquistor from a neighboring village incriminates her before her friends can step in. Soon, Alys finds herself as "Dragon's Bait," left as food for a fearsome dragon that ravages the nearby countryside.
But Alys is in for a suprise. The dragon is capable of many transformations; including that of a human. Instead of adding her to his menu, he spares her life, and inevitably becomes her aly, if not her friend.
Alys is infuriated by the dragon (who speaks with her in his human form; that of a handsome seventeen year old youth) who seems to have no use for her--except that he is willing to help her get her revenge. And as she soon learns, revenge is something that the dragon, Selendrile, is very good at.
But is revenge what Alys really wants? A witty funny novel about revenge and its cost and spoils.
WAIT! DON'T STOP NOW! There is something very important that I would like to tell you about this book. I fear that I have doomed it into being serious; THIS BOOK IS FUNNY! Well, it has dark under-tones, but it is witty, clever, and fast-paced fantasy.
Vande Velde demonstrates her skilled capacity for fantasy in this novel. Her strong heroine and handsome dragon companion make an endearing cast for her novel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Most people doubt that it's possible to write a good book in less than 300 pages. And usually I would agree, but this book is an exception. Dragon's Bait is a well-written, fast paced, and unusual book. The characters, rather than being strictly good and bad, are shades of gray. It avoids most, if not all, of the fantasy cliches I can think of and throws some subjects for thought in as well. If that isn't good enough for you, it has a strong-minded and realistic heroine who, as far as I know, isn't blonde. The dragon is a very cool character, and you have to guess throughout the entire book just who's side he's on. So, to end the review, I will say that I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy books, dragons, or just a good read. i ,at least, wasn't disapointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow. I never would've thought. I took this book out of the library as an afterthought, one of those "might as well" kind of descisions. I am glad I did. What made me so reluctant at first to read the book was the fact that it was so thin. I thought it would be another one of those underdeveloped, waste-of-my-time (though is doesn't take that long to read them) I-can't- stand-the-cardboardness-of-the-characters kind of book. I'm glad I was wrong. Nothing is rushed. Nothing is crammed in too much. It has the perfect pace. It won't bore you with too many wordy descriptions and the main characters are so cool! I mean Alys is definately not another one of those "Cinderella" characters who can only wait to be rescued by some handsome prince, but then again she also not another of those completely rebellious bratty types that so many authors are trying out, wanting to be different but ending up instead just going with the latest fad. Senlendrile is calm, cool, and definately sardonic and sarcastic (like one of the main characters in another book i love, court duel). You NEVER know what he's thinking but are happy to watch Alys try to figure him out, but then practically rip her hair out when she can't. When they're together, it leads to witty conversation that, I think, is the best part of the book, because when the plot get's boring after numerous readings (it will take you awhile, I assure you) you still have the dialogue to look over and over again. Try it out. Even if you don't like it (i find it impossible) it's short enough that it won't leave you with the dread that you spent too much time reading something you shouldn't have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
It was supposed to be a normal day. Alys usually stayed in the shop while her horribly sick father rested but today was no ordinary day. Today she was stuck on a stake in the middle of nowhere awaiting her doom, which happened to be the man eating dragon. How this came to be is simple. Inquisitor Atherton, a very sneaky, evil man falsely accused poor Alys of being a witch. At her 15 minute trial, a man named Gower, who had probably arranged all of this nonsense, his wife Una, and daughter Etta told of fake times when they had seen Alys bewitch things. Una said she saw Alys make a goat go dry, and Gower says she saw her creating a thunders storm and people actually believed them, and so she was sent to the mountain. Alys does get away from the stake and there is only one thing stuck on her mind....REVENGE. But she can only do it with the help of the handsome Sederline, who happens to be a man, a dragon, and whatever animal you can think of. So Sederline and Alys are off seeking revenge, on the four people who ruined Alys's life.

Dragon's Bait is a book full of witty characters and sweet revenge. Similar to something like the Salem accusations, this book is about witches. The story is well written, and has just the right amount of description. Compared to the author's other books, this has got to be one of my favorites. At first you might think this book is boring, but by the third page, the suspense keeps you going. I hope once you read it, you will agree.
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