I am continually impressed by the How to Train Your Dragon series, in large part because Cowell manages to weave in an amusing, fun tone that I have never been able to master in my own writing. She’s just clever without trying too hard.
In this adventure of Hiccup’s (not sure why the format of the title changed but this is the only one that doesn’t begin with “how to…”) it is Hiccup’s birthday but nothing goes the way he wants it to. All he wants is a quiet day, but things quickly devolve as the Hooligans compete with the Bog Burglars to prove who is the better thief. True to their name, the Bog Burglars seem to be winning this one when Hiccup’s dad challenges Big Boobied Bertha to a winner takes all competition. The result: Hiccup must sneak into the not-at-all Public Library to steal a copy of How to Train Your Dragon because Toothless destroyed the copy that the Hooligans had.
We get another adventure with Camicazi, the pint-sized Bog Burglar who Hiccup befriended earlier in the series, and Fishlegs (his less able comrade) as well as new dragons, new villains, and new tribes. Although the characters aren’t the most well-developed (only Hiccup has real motivations, fears, and weaknesses that he actually works on), there are other things to hold onto. The world itself is much more fleshed out than the people though can’t help but wonder why everyone things Hiccup is so incompetent after all that he has managed so far.
Perhaps the best part of this particular book in the series is what we learn about Hiccup’s ancestors. Maybe Hiccup isn’t as unusual and out of place as he first appears.