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Dragon's Blood: The Pit Dragon Chronicles, Volume One Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"An original and engrossing fantasy."--The Horn Book

About the Author

JANE YOLEN has written more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the three volumes in the Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin. She has won several of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. Ms. Yolen lives in western Massachusetts and Scotland.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Pit Dragon Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152051260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152051266
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Emily J. Morris VINE VOICE on June 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I first looked at "Dragon's Blood", I wasn't so sure it would be a good book. I'm a fan of Jane Yolen, but, well, it just didn't look interesting.
I was wrong.
"Dragon's Blood" is an amazing work of fiction. Though I was, at first, strongly reminded of Anne McCaffrey's Pern, the society described in this book took on it's own identity. Yolen creates an amazing planet and culture that arises in the future. While the people do have technology, it is not spectacular. Instead, we are introduced to a charming, though struggling, society built by criminals, a world based on an economy where dragons are raises to fight one another.
The story revolves around Jakkin, a teenage boy, who is, unfortunalty, a bonder (basically a paid slave) He was born free, and his dream is to pay off his bondage and return to freedom. To do this, he steals a dragon hatchling. he plans to raise this dragon into a pit fighter, and thus earn his freedom.
I was impressed with Yolen's vivid desciption and emotion. The story kept an enjoyable balance between light-hearted entertainment and deep meaning. The characters were strongly devoloped and realistic, adding more to the tapestry of the novel.
Like many readers have said, this book may not be suitable for children, for there are subtle references to prostitution. Some may find this shocking, but it fits well with the book's society. Besides, the references are subtle, so a younger, naive child would probably read past these references without a second thought.
Overall, "Dragon's Blood" is a rich, vivid, imaginative novel, and a worthy tribute to Jane Yolen. I am looking forward to reading the book's two sequels.
P.S. My review title is a delightful little cussword used in the book. I'll probably be using it often.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Crookall on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Pit Dragons Trilogy is one of the most delightful series of books I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. It consists of the stories of a boy and girl, Jakkin and Akki, who live on the planet Austar, a former penal-colony with a master/bond-slave societal system, where telepathic dragons are bred and trained for fighting in the Pits.
One of the things that makes the whole trilogy so good is the ingenious way in which Yolen develops her world of Austar. The culture, politics, ecology, and dragon- physiology (complete with endearing anatomy diagrams) are brilliantly conceived and interwoven to create a wholly believable climate into which the reader is inextricably drawn.
I have often thought with interest about the similarities between the Austarian culture and the early Australian culture (remember, Australia was also a penal colony) not to mention the similarity betwen the two names.
The books are also about the perplexities of growing up, and the love which Jakkin and Akki have for each other, and for the dragons in the stories, are what make it so valuable from a human standpoint. And most of all, it is Jane's unique witty, humorous and poetic writing that keeps the whole saga going. The first of the books - Dragon's Blood - is the simplest of all three stories. Placed entirely in the setting of the dragon-breeding nursery of Master Sarkkhan, it tells of Jakkin's fight to free himself of the bond-system by securing a dragon hatchling, and rearing it in the wilderness to train as a fighter in the Pits - assisted by the resourceful Akki.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1996
Format: Paperback
In this classic, humans have long since colonized the planet Austar IV, where "dragons" are one of the native creatures. Dragons are raised here in nurseries because they had almost reached the brink of extinction in the wild. Young Jakkin was born into a life of labor under one such place, Sarkkhan's Nursery. Each laborer wears a pouch around their neck, and can only become free when that pouch is full. Jakkin's is hardly full, and at Sarkkhan's Nursery there is only one way to do that: steal a dragon's egg and raise it to be a fighter at the Pits.
This was more difficult a task than it may appear, for most of the dragon eggs would not hatch, and only an adept could tell the good eggs from the bad. Likewise, the eggs are not counted, but the hatchlings are. Jakkin is lucky and is able to snatch a small hatchling that was unaccounted for. He takes it to the desert and raises it as a fighter with the aid of Akki. And the dragon turned out to be more than it had first appeared ...
I loved this book. I read it a few years ago, but the story is still fresh in my mind. The story was great, and I was turning pages all the way through. The character's goal to win freedom -- and with a dragon at that -- enlightened my own spirit when I read it. A charming and wonderfully written book that deserves to be bought and placed on the shelf to be read again in the future.
_Dragon's Blood_ is the first book in the Pit Dragon trilogy. It is followed by _Heart's Blood_ and _A Sending of Dragons_, which are quite readable, though I felt they did not live up fully to the first book.
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