Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons - Part 3 of 3

Today marks the last day of the First-Ever Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. Time sure flies when you're celebrating dragons.

Confused? Check out the three bulleted links below, and they will bring you up to speed. Then come on back here to join us for the final festivities of Chez Wheedleton's 2013 celebration of Appreciate a Dragon Day:

All caught up? Alrighty then. Off we go:

Even More Dragon Book Revelry!
Since this is our last celebratory post, we've filled this list with four books that are completely full of dragons, dragons, dragons. Enjoy:

Written by Rachel Hartman
Ages 12 and up

In the kingdom of Goredd, distrust between dragonkind and humans runs high, despite a forty year peace. Tensions have been stretched as the anniversary of the treaty approaches. And upon discovery of the suspiciously dragon-like murder of the beloved Prince Rufus, relations are even more strained.

It is in this atmosphere that sixteen-year-old Seraphina Dombegh comes to live at court. Seraphina's new position highlights the unusual musical talents that her father has desperately tried all of her life to keep hidden, and that Seraphina has stubbornly pushed all of her life to be free to share. But despite her stubbornness where her musical talents are concerned, she does all she can to conceal another secret part of herself - a part that, if ever discovered, would mean her end.

Despite great risk of exposure, Seraphina helps Prince Lucian Kiggs - captain of the Queen's Guard, heir to the throne, and Glisselda's intended - to investigate Prince Rufus' murder. Glisselda becomes involved, as well, as the three of them uncover what they fear is a secret plot to destroy the peace. All the while, Seraphina struggles to keep her own personal secret. Yet the more she tries to protect herself, the more she stumbles upon new and confusing parts of herself - parts which may hold the key to foiling the plot and preserving the peace. Unless Seraphina can find a way to understand and control these new self-discoveries, she cannot hope to be able to use them. Should she fail, the tenuous peace between dragonkind and humans is doomed to shatter, and the awful fate her father has fought all of her life to prevent is doomed to come true.

Written by Christopher Paolini
Ages 12 and up

When fifteen-year-old Eragon comes upon a polished blue stone deep in the forest of a mystical mountain range known as The Spine, he is wary. It is not like any polished stone he has ever seen before. Was it meant for him, or had he found something he shouldn't have?

He eventually decides it would make a good trade for enough meat for the winter. When he is unable to make a trade, he takes it home. And then one day the "stone" cracks, and soon a beautiful, sapphire-blue creature emerges from within - a dragon he comes to name Saphira. Eragon is astonished - the race of dragons were believed to have become extinct long ago, at the hands of the evil King Galbatorix.

Eragon keeps Saphira hidden in the forest, where he cares for her in secret, and the two soon form an inseparable bond. With the help of an old storyteller named Brom, Eragon discovers the responsibility he now bears - he is the last Dragon Rider. Together with Saphira, they are the only hope of the Varden, dwarves, and elves, who have joined forces in the coming war against the evil King Galbatorix, to try and unseat the king and take back the Empire.

The Discovery of Dragons
Written and illustrated by Graeme Base (a.k.a. Rowland W. Greasebeam, B.Sc.)
Ages 8 and up

From the "notably undistinguished Victorian scientist," Rowland W. Greasebeam, B.Sc. (Serpentology) F.R.Aud., comes this beautifully fully illustrated collection of rare historical documents which the good scientist asserts prove not only the discovery of dragons, but also the existence of the dragons' discoverers themselves.

Said discoverers, who are three in number, include: Bjorn of Bromme - Viking pillager of 9th century Europe; Soong Mei Ying - youngest daughter of a Chinese silk trader, and traveler on the Silk Road in the 13th century; and mid-nineteenth-century Prussian cartographer Dr. E. F. Liebermann - whose letters were typed on the world's very first typewriter from within the confines of the African jungle.

These letters Mr. Greasebeam has collected - some hand-written, some typed, all presented alongside wonderfully detailed sketches, drawings and paintings - chronicle the writers' fabulous adventures and heart-pounding encounters with dragons they came upon in their respective travels. A must-read for any true dragon enthusiast! But, are these tales fact? Or fantasy? Ah, well, that we must leave up to the discretion of the reader, mustn't we?

Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons
Edited by Dugald A. Steer, B.A. (Brist), S.A.S.D.
Illustrated by Wayne Anderson, Douglas Carrel and Helen Ward
Ages 8 and up

Dugald A. Steer, B.A. (Brist), S.A.S.D., presents a collection of the long-lost dragon research of nineteenth century dragonologist Dr. Ernest Drake. But, are these presentations legend, or fact, or a mixture of both? Whatever the answer, there is an abundance of information for one to sift through in order to make one's own determination: drawings, sketches, paintings, maps, scale samples, scientific name designations, and page after page of written material.

Dr. Drake discusses differences between dragon species, examines dragon legends, and lists characteristics of various dragon types as well as possible related creatures. He details the life cycle of a dragon, dragon behavior, and how to track and find dragons. And once you've found them, Dr. Drake provides suggestions on how a dragon might be tamed. He even includes a set of three quite interesting appendices at the end, one of which contains "Useful Spells & Charms."

Entertaining? Undoubtedly.

Interesting? Most assuredly.

A fascinating tome that even the most discriminating of dragon enthusiasts will treasure? Incontrovertibly.

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We hope you enjoyed Chez Wheedleton's 2013 celebration of Appreciate a Dragon Day. Thank you for joining us!

If you have suggestions of dragon books to include for next year's Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons celebration, please send an email to the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below.

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