Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The dragon book -- no, not that dragon book!

I also finished The Last Dragon this weekend (and would have loved to have written these posts at home, but my extremely aged computer has been unable to load my logged-in Blogger account -- sigh, it looks like I'm going to have to call the ISP).

This book has all the proper dragon book elements: an elegant backstory -- in this case, two humans join to save a young elf and help him find his destiny -- the last dragon; the bonding of elf and dragon -- culminating in the learning to fly together scene; a damsel requiring rescue, but -- of course -- this damsel has plenty of self-rescuing qualities herself; several scenes of exciting battle and derring do; a prophecy that can be fulfilled one of two ways; and a bright future for our hero. The dragon and his elf are nicely realized characters -- full of personality -- and the supporting characters (damsel and rescuing adults most specifically) are also interesting and affectionately drawn.

As you might be able to tell, this is not Eragon! It's a book originally written in Italian (although our print copy doesn't give the original title, darn it!) translated and winner of a Batchelder Honor this year. The translation seems effortless to me, and I think that listening would bring out any awkwardness better than reading. Our hero elf, whose extremely long name is shortened to Yorsh, really undergoes a transformation and you are rooting for him all the time.

However, I can't like the audio version and I blame it on the narrator. I think earlier I mentioned that I disliked her babytalk interpretation of young Yorsh, and although that improves in the book's second part (when Yorsh is 17), she has chosen to narrate in a kind of lecturing tone that pretty much takes the fun out of the story.

She also has that overly British enunciation, which leads to saliva buildup -- most unpleasant to listen to.

So, read this book!

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