Tough Travels #6: Dragons

My plan was to post this earlier in September, but since I was busy and hardly around in that month, this post is late and popping up in October. I love fantasy but haven’t read many fantasy novels to always have unique recommendations for the topics in this meme, so I usually wait until the end of the month to do my post so I can read everyone else’s and get recommendations from them. Doing this has caused me to add loads of books to my TBR. Well, maybe not loads, but definitely many.

I was excited for this topic because dragons are one of my favorite fantastical creatures. They come in many shapes and sizes with various abilities. Sometimes they contain knowledge and wisdom vaster than any human or other creature; sometimes they are simply animals, large and powerful or small and quick but cunning; other times they are spiritual beings or creatures able to take on human form.

September’s theme (late again): Dragons

The Tough Guide advises that Dragons are ‘very large scaly beings with wings and long spiky tails, capable of breathing fire through their mouths. They can be almost any colour or combination of colours, though green, red and black are preferred. They are always very old. Most of them seem to have flown to Fantasyland aeons ago across the void. This migration was almost certainly to get away from our world, where people would insist that they were dangerous monsters that had to be exterminated. Dragons, as all Fantasyland knows, are no such thing.’ Or are they?

My picks:

Elderlings series by Robin Hobb, which begins with Assassin’s Apprentice

Of all the dragons I’ve read about in stories, my favorite is probably Tintaglia from Robin Hobb’s Elderlings series. (The Elderlings series is made up of several trilogies. To avoid spoilers, I’ll refer to the Elderlings series at large rather than the specific trilogy in which Tintaglia first appears.)

I prefer dragons that are powerful, cunning, a bit arrogant, and wiser than everyone else, or pretends to be. Also, I love it when they are able to communicate with humans and other creatures. With Tintaglia, I like that she considers herself a queen and a supreme being that all lesser creatures, including humans, must submit to. When Tintaglia first appears, she is the last of her kind and must humble herself to work with lesser creatures, i.e. humans, to ensure soon-to-be dragons mature into full-fledged ones.

Eon by Alison Goodman

In Eon, the first in a YA fantasy duology, dragons are spiritual beings that can be seen in the physical world if it works through a human conduit. These spiritual dragons are powerful and can affect things in the physical world. This is my second favorite type of dragon and I think Eon is the only story in which I’ve encountered dragons as spiritual beings. It would be great to read a story where this concept is developed further. In other stories, dragons are always physical but can affect the spirit. In Eon, the dragon seems to be a spirit that can affect the physical. Pretty cool.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Another favorite type of dragon are the ones that can take on human form. I had a weird dream about this once and almost the next day learned of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina, a YA fantasy duology in which dragons can take on human shape. I love this concept and loved this story.

Many humans in this story are repulsed by dragon changelings and avoid interacting with them causing much contention between humans and dragons, who, of course, don’t often like to interact with humans, who they believe are lesser beings. Of course, there are half-dragons (born from human and dragon coupling), which are considered abominations by both sides. I like how the story tackles the complex relationship between humans and dragons and half-dragons — discrimination, segregation, hiding one’s identity, reverence for one’s identity, etc. Religion is a major fact in the stories (which makes me love it more) and it’s interesting to see how the human–dragon social dynamics affect it and vice versa.

In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M (illus.)

Sometimes dragons are presented as creatures that are probably elevated above usual animals but not exactly of the same intelligence as humans (I’m pretty sure there’s a word for all this, but I can’t think of it). In Search of Lost Dragons is a fantasy graphic novel presented as the travel journal of a reporter who searches for and documents evidence of dragons in the wild.

This isn’t my favorite type of dragon, but I appreciate this portrayal. In Search of Lost Dragons is filled with beautiful illustrations of many kinds of dragons in various settings. It’s a pricey book, but as a dragon lover, I’m glad I got it. 🙂

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, which begins with Eragon

Saphira from the Inheritance Cycle series, a YA fantasy series about dragon riders, used to be a favorite until I decided to reread the books. As a dragon, Saphira is similar to Tintaglia, meaning she’s intelligent and can communicate with humans. But the more I reread this series and read the Elderlings books, the more I compare Saphira to Tintaglia and find Saphira lacking because most times she’s relegated to being a pack animal shuttling her dragon rider, Eragon, and his supplies to wherever they need to go and only providing advice when needed. She also strikes me as more human-like than dragon-like.

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

This is one of my favorite YA fantasy novels. It’s part of a duology and is about a princess who becomes a dragon fighter and must later save her kingdom. I like the dragon in it because though it is a physical threat, it later develops into a mental, kind of metaphorical, one that deeply affects the protagonist.

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin, illus. by Luis Royo

I could use the dragons from GRRM’s Song of Ice & Fire series because of how vicious they are, but I chose instead to go with the ice dragon from his illustrated children’s book, which tells the story of a girl who befriends the fabled ice dragon. There are many dragons in this story, most similar to those from the Song of Ice & Fire books, but the ice dragon was unique to me simply because it’s made entirely of ice. I couldn’t help wondering if the story was set in Westeros beyond the wall. I think the majority of dragons in this are mostly very animalistic but the ice dragon has heightened intelligence.

Well, this is the first topic for this meme where I actually have a decent amount of recommendations. I probably don’t need to mention the other books that caught my eye, but I can’t help myself so here they are! 😛

From Fantasy Faction:

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

I’ve always been interested in reading this, especially after reading In Search of Lost Dragons. I get the impression that they are similar because the protagonist in both observe dragons in their natural habitat, except that Brennan’s book has a definite plot.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

I did not know there were dragons in it and I like dragons that can assume human form.

The Dragon’s Blade by Michael R. Miller

Another with dragons among humans. I assume that they can take on human form. Plus, I have the book.

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

I like the concept of sea dragons and love the little excerpt because it seems that the tables have turned and the dragons will hunt people instead…that’s interesting!

From Beauty in Ruins:

I always learn about books I’ve never heard of before when I visit this blog.

The Obsidian Mountain Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, which begins with The Outstretched Shadow

It just sounds interesting, plus I like that there are so many fantastical creatures in it.

Dragon Apocalypse series by James Maxey, which begins with Greatshadow

Might be my sort of thing because the synopsis mentions a form of organized religion called “The Church of the Book,” which seems similar to Christianity and there might be some conflict within it. I’m intrigued.

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

“mean, vicious, bad ass dragons … threatening to burn the world to the ground” – HELL YEA!! I wanna read about that! 😀

From Thoughts on Fantasy:

Dragonflight by Ann McCaffrey

It’s one I’ve always wanted to read for reasons similar to Nicola’s: the many recommendations of it and the awards it has won.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Another I’ve always wanted to read and I actually own a copy.

From Lynn’s Books:

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

The title caught my attention and made me look it up. I liked the synopsis, which is really mysterious, so on my TBR it goes.

From Perspective of a Writer:

The Last Nasara by Kristen Ciccarelli

I just like the concept of dragons connected to storytelling. I’d like to see how the author pulls that off.

Dragon Jousters series by Mercedes Lackey, which starts with Joust

Okay, this is the second time a Lackey book has appeared on this list. I take that as a sign to get and read a Lackey book soon. I like the concept here of kids raising and bonding with a dragon. It reminds me of Robin Hobb’s Elderlings series and how people can bond with animals, a concept I love.

From the Bibliosanctum:

The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood

I’ve wanted to read this ever since reading Lashaan’s review over on Bookidote.

Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

The whole gods thing caught my interest.

And that’s it for the Dragons! 😀

I went overboard there. I was too excited for all the book recommendations.

This month’s theme is Minions. I’ll post my recs, if I have any, at the end of the month.


29 thoughts on “Tough Travels #6: Dragons

  1. Wow what an extensive list!! You obviously really are a fan of dragons. I’ve only read a few of the ones you mentioned here, but I’d like to read more. I’ve seen the cover of Eon a few times but never took a closer look, now I am curious – spiritual dragons are not something I’ve encountered before either. Also I’d never heard of ‘The Hero and the Crown’ but it sounds interesting. Many picks at the end of your list are on my TBR too – great selection! And thanks for the mention – I hope you enjoy those two when you read them 🙂


    1. The dragons in Eon are really cool and I enjoyed the story, which is a bit about realizing that women are powerful. The plot has some slow spots though, just so you know.
      But The Hero and the Crown is AWESOME!!! 😀 One of my favorite books. It’s very descriptive and the plot is slow because of it, but I love McKinley’s writing style. Hopefully it’s good to you if you try it.
      Thanks! Me too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah okay, well I’ll put both on my list then! Especially The Hero and the Crown – I’ve been meaning to read something by McKinley for a long time but have never gotten around to it – now I am extra keen if it is a favourite of yours! I notice on Goodreads it says is the second in a series… should I read the first book first? (‘The Blue Sword’)


        1. Awesome! The Blue Sword is another favorite of mine. (Really good too) You don’t need to read them in order. I actually thought Hero and the Crown was the first book until I did this post and looked it up on Goodreads. I have it listed in my books reviewed list as the first.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Actually Hero and the Crown is a prequel.
          I just reread my reviews n saw that. I guess Goodreads n other places mark it as book 2 because it was published second.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. A big thanks from a fellow lover of dragons. Have not read many of these, will add them in my mile long TBR list. Btw, am reading the first book in which Tintaglia appears nowadays. Cheers


    1. Haha! You’re welcome.
      Cool! I love that trilogy. I just included Assassin’s Apprentice in my post just to show where the Elderlings series starts.


  3. Fantastic post, Zezee. I’ve read a couple of the books you listed, like Seraphina (which I also enjoyed) and Eon (which reminds me that I still need to read its sequel Eona). Another series I’ve read that features dragons is Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea cycle. The dragons don’t appear until the third book, The Farthest Shore, but they’re a lot like the dragons of the Elderlings world. They’re ancient, highly intelligent creatures that communicate in a language very few humans know how to speak. There are also (from what I remember) two characters in the history of the world are dragons in human form as children, and as adults they change into dragons permanently.


    1. Thanks! I need to read Eona too, lol. I keep procrastinating on it and I totally forgot about the Earthsea dragons. I remember them being in Farthest Shore, but forgot the details about them. Thanks for the refresher.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Eragon i first read it at 15 and i still love it, but the film just makes me so upset, they could have one such a wonderful film and it was absolutely nothing like the book. Thanks for the recommendations though Seraphina sounds like a really good book, i’ll be sure to look out for when i next go shopping.


    1. Totally agree about the Eragon movie. It was horrible, horrible. They need to redo it.
      And yes! Seraphina is a good read and the books are as detailed as the Inheritance Cycle series ones. You might really like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. YAY! Love the 2 dragon books of mine you picked! You know I swear I read Assassin’s Apprentice but I don’t remember a dragon… I feel like I should remember that?! I need to maybe re-read this! It’s before I reviewed books so of course I can’t remember anything clearly, hahhhhaha. Tintaglia sounds so epic though! Serephina was good if rather religious! And Eon sounds super cool, I agree I don’t see many (if any) spiritual dragons! SUCH A GOOD LIST ZEZEE! I just love dragons! ♥️


    1. Thanks. And you’re right, no dragons in Assassin’s Apprentice. You didn’t miss anything there 🙂
      I just placed Assassin’s Apprentice there because it’s the first in the overall Elderlings series. I didn’t want to give away which trilogy the dragons pop up in.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dragons are definitely awesome! So many authors out there have so many different ways to bring them to life too. That’s one mythical creature I’d love seeing around and having as a pet. I personally do really want to try Hobb’s and GRRM’s books… So far I haven’t tried any of their works; shame… shame… I know! Thanks for the shoutout by the way! The Summer Dragon was an interesting book, although I got the unexpected twist that it read like a YA novel. But.. that cover though. ❤ Hope you enjoy it more than I did if you ever pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how you led with Robin Hobb. The dragon Tintaglia is wonderful and I really enjoyed the books of the Rain Wild Chronicles because of that. Next week’s theme for Friday Face-Off is supposed to be dragons and I actually have plans on featuring Hobb’s The Dragon Keeper.


    1. Aye aye cap’n! Thank ye! 😀
      Ye might be interested in Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner since there are sea dragons in it, i.e. let’s you know where to look out for them 😉


  8. I love your list! Lots of those are new to me and I always love me some dragon recs 😀
    Tintaglia is definitely one of my favourite dragons as well, so sassy, clever & arrogant! On the other hand, Temeraire is adorable as well, but he is the opposite haha!


  9. Hi Zezee.
    Hooray for dragons!
    What a wonderful concept.
    I have a book series of whimsical, themed adventures. My fantasy novel features dragons and has one on the cover.
    Happy Reading!
    ~Icky. 🙂
    I beg your pardon for being crass, but here is a link to the dragon book.

    Liked by 1 person

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