By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Fans of the How to Train Your Dragon book or animated series will no doubt know that two worlds are always going to be at odds with each other. The trust between humans and dragons is difficult, and when these two cultures clash, to find methods to preserve the peace is difficult. This principal message is one that both creator/author Cressida Cowell and writer/director Dean DeBlois have expertly crafted into the this narrative, and that is what makes this Viking saga so enduring. To see how the conflict finally comes to an end in the final book is aptly named How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury.
This novel was released in the UK on Sept 8th. In North America, it will be released in Canada on Oct 20th and in the USA on Nov 3rd. Readers will finally see the finale that’s been built up two books ago. The last three books comprise The Dragon Rebellion story-arc and the rising action only gets better in this last release. Here, the hero Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third finally confronts the dragon Furious, who is upset at all the inhumanity done to him and his species.
This serpent leader wants humanity destroyed. Alvin the Treacherous is a shining example of that viciousness in reverse, wanting all the dragons eliminated. He has stolen all the Lost Things to get him crowned King of the Archipelago, and his plan is to eliminate every winged serpent. Readers can jump in to discover how everything will end with this last volume, but they are losing out. Every book details how Hiccup learns how to become a king and, at the same time, come across fantastic objects and people to aid him on his accidental quest to become a lord.
For those readers who have forgotten the events from the past books, the footnotes help remind folks of when those incidents transpired. After reading Dragon’s Fury, some fans may want to plan for time off of work or school so they can binge-read all twelve books! Only the best total recall will have readers remembering theose incidents of Hiccup’s past well.
In Dragon’s Fury, Hiccup finally sets foot on the Island of Tomorrow. Cowell very nicely paces the action so that the book is hard to put down. The twists keep on coming in gently surprising aways. This book is a quick read, and it can be done in a few days. Despite looking like a thick hardcover book, the illusion is because of the numerous illustrations to help visualize the exciting moments. Unlike past books, this one seems to carry more artwork. At the same time, these drawings wonderfully depict various emotional moments of the story and paint how relentless Alvin is along with his witchy mother, Excellinor. He’s kind of like Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. Both are soulless individuals who crave power over everything else. They will fight to the end.
It’s a shame that there will not be any more tales from Cowell about Hiccup, but who knows what the future may hold. Like J.K. Rowling, she may want to revisit this world from a different perspective. At least DreamWorks is continuing the story with their animated version, but it not always going to be the same. The work is not Cowell’s vision and she presented a richer world that readers love more. There’s little life lessons in this author’s work that readers can resonate with. Some of the added tales from the studio feel more Pokémon oriented and misses out what this author intended.
Although the animated series is vastly different, the love for this franchise will certainly not end. Even though the third film is widely believed to be the last, reports of Cowell meeting DeBlois hint at a similar finale that will acknowledge Cowell’s vision. As for whether or not that can be told in one more film or two, that’s still unconfirmed. For this book saga, readers will have to recall how the story began where, in Book One, Hiccup began with the words, “There were dragons when I was a boy.”
The dragons will have to leave the mortal world for some unknown reason. Just where they went and why they have disappeared, according to Cowell, is very lovingly told. In what she wrote (through Hiccup’s voice) is very heartwarming. Cowell belongs to a very special club where other writers and spiritualists believe in the fact that dragons are real. They are there and are always surrounding us. Quite simply, you just have to know just how to look.
5 Stars out of 5