When I first looked at "Dragon's Blood", I wasn't so sure it would be a good book. I'm a fan of Jane Yolen, but, well, it just didn't look interesting.
I was wrong.
"Dragon's Blood" is an amazing work of fiction. Though I was, at first, strongly reminded of Anne McCaffrey's Pern, the society described in this book took on it's own identity. Yolen creates an amazing planet and culture that arises in the future. While the people do have technology, it is not spectacular. Instead, we are introduced to a charming, though struggling, society built by criminals, a world based on an economy where dragons are raises to fight one another.
The story revolves around Jakkin, a teenage boy, who is, unfortunalty, a bonder (basically a paid slave) He was born free, and his dream is to pay off his bondage and return to freedom. To do this, he steals a dragon hatchling. he plans to raise this dragon into a pit fighter, and thus earn his freedom.
I was impressed with Yolen's vivid desciption and emotion. The story kept an enjoyable balance between light-hearted entertainment and deep meaning. The characters were strongly devoloped and realistic, adding more to the tapestry of the novel.
Like many readers have said, this book may not be suitable for children, for there are subtle references to prostitution. Some may find this shocking, but it fits well with the book's society. Besides, the references are subtle, so a younger, naive child would probably read past these references without a second thought.
Overall, "Dragon's Blood" is a rich, vivid, imaginative novel, and a worthy tribute to Jane Yolen. I am looking forward to reading the book's two sequels.
P.S. My review title is a delightful little cussword used in the book. I'll probably be using it often.