How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell


The first thing that surprised me about this book is just how different it is from the movie. It’s entire premise (minus Hiccup going from Zero to Hero Disney’s Hercules style) is completely different. Yes, Hiccup is the son of a great Viking leader and he’s nothing but a scrawny pipsqueak but from there most similarities end. The most remarkable thing about Hiccup in the movie was that he was the first person to ever train a dragon rather than kill it. Not so in this book where all Viking’s capture and train a dragon in order to become full0fledged members of the tribe. If you don’t pass the initiation test, you will be sent into exile. When Hiccup catches himself a puny dragon that is even more selfish and difficult than his tribemates’ bigger and more dangerous dragons, he fears he will never gain acceptance by the tribe. But when the village is threatened by the Sea Dragon, a bigger dragon than they can even imagine, Hiccup finds himself with a chance to show everyone what he’s really made of.

While the primary story was different (sadly, there’s no Astrid and Hiccup is not the only dweeb in the group), the heart of the story is still there. It’s funny and clever and you can’t help but feel for our not-so-hero as he tries desperately to fit in. The others don’t make it easy for him, especially Snotlout who intends to overthrow Hiccup and become the new Viking leader in the future.

When I read the book I couldn’t help but imagine Gobber the Belch’s movie voice as the narrator, but otherwise, this book stands on it’s own. It’s a great book that I really enjoyed. It didn’t have as much of a sad-happy ending but it was still touching enough that you wanted to cheer for all involved.

From the start of the book we know that one day Hiccup becomes a mighty hero and leader, but by the end of the book, we know that time has not yet come. There’s much more ineptitude and excitement to come before Hiccup becomes the Viking Hero. I do hope we get an Astrid-like character soon, I think it would add something to the story.

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