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Publisher's Summary

Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world's remaining creatures. Until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has given birth - and one of the babies is still alive.

©2007 Robin McKinley (P)2013 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Dragonhaven

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best audio performance I’ve ever heard

I’ll start by saying that I am a huge fan of Robin McKinley and have read everything that she’s written so I already knew I loved the story. However, while I love reading her style, sometimes her almost stream of consciousness writing does not translate well into an audible performance. However, the narrator for this book absolutely nailed it - he sounds exactly like the 14-year-old boy that the book is supposedly written by, and manages to have every tone of voice and inflection that matches with that. One of the few times that listening to an audiobook gave me a better appreciation for the text itself.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A master author at the top of her powers.

Robin McKinley's protagonists are usually young women. In this book the main character is a teenage boy. That boy is telling his story in the first person, and it is a story which he finds hard to tell. So in the beginning the story seems rough, clumsily written. This is not a sign that Robin McKinley is a poor writer. It's an indicator that she is a masterful writer, and she is telling the story not in her own voice, but in the voice of that inexperienced young man.

And it is a wonderful story.

In much science fiction and fantasy, the aliens or talking creatures simply seem like humans in funny looking costumes. But the dragons in this story truly seem alien in their being. Their thoughts and attitudes are not human. Their point of view is not human. And they don't find it any easier to understand humans than humans can understand them.

If you have read her most popular books (The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword, Beauty, etc.), please don't go into this one expecting more of the same or you may be disappointed. This book is fairly different from most of her books. It needs to be taken on its own. But if you can leave all your preconceptions at the door, I think you will find this a story well worth reading.

A word about the narrator. I think his voice fits the main character admirably. He did a good job.

40 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A tremendous fantasy!!

Would you consider the audio edition of Dragonhaven to be better than the print version?

I loved both...I think the audio edition has a slight edge because Robin McKinley's channeling of a teenage boy when writing this has been fleshed out by a narrator that seemingly is channeling the very same (slightly crazed) teenager!

What did you like best about this story?

I love the little differences from our world and Robin's Dragonhaven world that are just sort of slipped in with no fanfare and cause you to suddenly, go, "um, wait...what just changed from MY world's 'normal' there??!).

What about Noah Galvin’s performance did you like?

I felt as though my best friend's 20-something slightly ADHD son was telling me the story (he, by the way, is very interesting to listen to, as is this story), When I started listening to this, I immediately flashed back and thought, this is just the way I heard it in my head when I was reading the paper version!

I would guess that some people would prefer a more mainstream narration, but I thoroughly enjoyed story and narration as a seamless mixture, without trying to "read" the story to me as if I were a 2-year-old, which is how some narrators approach the task.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both.

Any additional comments?

This is one of my favorite book to re-read when on a trip. I always seem to catch some little something I missed on the other reads that makes the story even better.

14 people found this helpful

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Angsty Teenager, Meet Baby Dragon

Noah Galvin's reading is excellent. His voice is perfect to portray Jake, the teenage boy who is the first-person narrator of DRAGONHAVEN.

DRAGONHAVEN has all of the characteristically strong world-building of any McKinley novel. The (fictional) national park in which the story is set is brought into clear detail through Jake's story-telling. The rambunctious dragonlet, Lois, whom Jake rescues is utterly engaging and believable. McKinley's animal characters are always well-drawn, and Lois is no exception.

DRAGONHAVEN is perhaps not McKinley's strongest novel, but even a "pretty good" McKinley book is a darn good read, and Noah Galvin's reading brings the story to life.

13 people found this helpful

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still my favorite book of all time

I had read this book about 10 years ago. listening to it now it still floors me the way it did back then. the writing is phenomenal and the voice actor did a wonderful job. he brought the characters and story alive in a new way.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Dragonhaven

Very informative and even funny. Enjoy this author for her style and knowledge. She creates wonderful characters.

3 people found this helpful

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Delightful

This book was a treat. The reader captures the tone and voice of this character perfectly. The narrative is very first person and it works well at keeping me interested and in no way annoyed. Read it!!

3 people found this helpful

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There’s no story here

This is one of the worst slogs I’ve ever sat through. There are a lot of problems with this book but the worst is that it’s a long series of events where nothing really goes wrong and not much happens. Because of that, the book is full of long digressions about the history of this world or about side characters that don’t have any real role in what happens.

The narrator is fine for a fourteen year old boy but his voice fits less and less as the books goes on and the main character ages. What’s sad is the words he’s actually saying never stop sounding like a middle aged lady doing an impression of a teenage boy.

The main character who’s thoughts were reading is an unpleasant, defensive, know it all. That would be fine as a starting point for a character but he never grows past it and never does anything particularly admirable to make us like him. He essentially just exists in the novel while interesting things occasional happen around him through no action or fault of his own but most of the time he’ll be philosophizing on dragon evolution or why humans are so awful or anything else to distract you from the fact that nothing is happening.

In short, skip this book. McKinley has written much better ones that you’d be better off spending your time on.

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn't finish it.

Would you be willing to try another one of Noah Galvin’s performances?

No.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Mostly, I was just annoyed by this book. I tried to give it a chance (5 hours) because I usually love Robin McKinley books, but this one was so whiney and adolescent I just couldn't listen to it anymore. If you like being trapped in the mind of a whiney 14 year old this is the book for you.

7 people found this helpful

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Wish I had enjoyed this more

I liked the story well enough. However, I found it to be too drawn out for the amount of plot there actually was, and the "teenager-isms" were grating on my nerves the majority of the time. In all honesty, while I feel the author did a good job of portraying a teenage boy, she portrayed a whiny, defensive, annoying teenage boy and that's not something I care to read or listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rosie
  • 04-06-22

Innovative Approach to Dragons

I am a sucker for a dragon story anyway, but especially when the approach to dragons is unusual. This one was particularly imaginative, making dragons fit seamlessly into a modern world very similar to our own. Loved the dragons. Loved the setting. The narrator's voice fitted the first person narration of the book perfectly.