Title: How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword
Author: Cressida Cowell
Page Count/Review Word Count: 384
Hiccup is back, baby! It’s funny, for some reason the How to Train Your Dragon series is the only middle grade series that I’m actively interested in reading. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I’ve seen videos of Cowell speaking at events and she’s always seemed like a bit of a badass, and so I want to show my support by reading her work. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Secretly, I just like the books.
In this one, we start with Hiccup and the rest of the tribe basically stuck up the side of a mountain. Then the story takes a step back and we find out how they get stock up there, before a familiar face returns and predictable chaos ensues. In this one, though, the stakes are a little higher. It isn’t that it’s aged with its audience, like the Harry Potter books, because the tone of it all stays the same. It’s just that it feels as though our characters are in real danger here.
For me, that’s the sign of a good writer, and of a good children’s writer especially. In this case, we all know that Hiccup isn’t going to die, because the books are presented as his memoirs as an old man, and so even if he did die, he’d have to come back to life somehow. But despite this inherent invincibility, it’s easy to still worry for Hiccup and his friends, even as an adult reader.
My only gripe about this one is that it ended on a cliffhanger. Normally that wouldn’t bother me too much, but I’ve been reading these out of order as and when I’ve picked them up from charity shops, and so far they’ve worked pretty well as standalones. I doubt I’ll specifically seek out the next book and so that might make for a jarring reading experience, but that’s hardly the author’s fault.
All in all then, this is definitely worth picking up, especially if you’ve been working your way through the rest of the series. Even if not, you can read it as a one-off.