Today’s gym book was How to Train Your Dragon 03: How to Speak Dragonese (Young Adult 223 pages) by Cressida Cowell.
“A Viking lesson in pirating takes a strange turn when Hiccup and his best friend, Fishlegs, accidentally raid the wrong ship while trying to escape Sharkworms. The two lads rescue a tiny yet arrogant nanodragon named Ziggerastica, but then they are kidnapped as part of a vicious plot to steal every dragon on the Isle of Berk! Hiccup must rely on his tiny new friend, and his ability to speak Dragonese, to save the day … again!”
There might be a fair number of spoilers for this book so if you haven’t read it yet and you want to be at least partially surprised by some of the things that happen, I suggest you stop reading.
Hiccup continues to find non-violent ways to address issues and concerns and this is remarkably admirable. I think it shows younger humans how you’ll often get better results out of being polite rather than a rude brute who screams at everyone. The series is working to show that you don’t have to fit into other people’s boxes in order to save the day and be a hero. Sometimes, just saving one, tiny, creature from being eaten alive is enough to change the way fate works.
I’m still not keen on how selfish the dragons in this series are and I truly hope that through the progression of this series that eventually the dragons will learn how to be selfless, because that would be a really great message about what it means to work for something and someone other than your own greed and power.
This book finally introduces the female Vikings in the form of Camicazi, who is the Heir to the Bog-Burglars, a tribe of all-female Vikings. Camicazi is fantastic with a sword and even beats Hiccup, who is currently a very good swordsman. She’s also remarkably creative, in that she refuses to remain locked up in any of the variety of prisons that the Romans continue to force her into. Some of her ideas for escape are rather ludicrous, but she gets the job done. Now that I’ve seen the whole other tribe of female Vikings, I feel a lot better about this series. The Bog-Burglars are every bit as stubborn and thick-headed as their male counterparts and I was constantly amused at how interchangeable the separate Viking tribes were. The entire time Hiccup and Fishlegs are locked up with Camicazi, she keeps making excuses for them like how Hiccup is pretty good with a sword for a boy. This amused me greatly as not once as Hiccup ever said anything deeming about how certain people should be good at certain skills and how they’re just not, or that they’re good at something, despite their gender or role in society or whatever. Hiccup just does his best to treat everyone with dignity and respect, which saves all of their lives in this book.
Overall, I’d say this book is a low three on my rating scale. The books are definitely getting more interesting and I’m enjoying them more as they move forward. While there are certain aspects that make me concerned about the future generations reading these books, there’s by far more good points than bad.
Works cited: Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon: How to Speak Dragonese. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2010. Original print 2005.