Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel, the 10th installment in the How to Train Your Dragon series, is a memoir of a dark age. The Vikings and dragons war while protagonist Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third becomes a lonely outcast. Accompanied by his dragons, Hiccup must find the Dragon’s Jewel, the only item capable of ending the war and, hopefully, destroying the Dragons. But with evil trailing him, he has no idea where to begin his mission. At just 14-years-old, Hiccup has only hope and dragons left to guide him.
Written by Cressida Cowell, How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel was published on April 22, 2014 by Little, Brown and Co. The novel continues to tell a coming-of-age story as it develops into a fantastical tale of Vikings and dragons.
This installment proves that the series no longer caters only to children. As readers follow young Hiccup, they learn that he’s spent a year as an outcast while his family and tribal men have been sentenced to lives as slaves. His emotions run the gamut as he travels beside his dragons, lonely and sad. His situation is unfortunate, but intriguing to read. Hiccup is a strong protagonist who truly takes in the world around him and considers the consequences of his actions.
The story’s narration is very interactive. Hiccup, now an old man, recounts the story to the reader, helping to showcase the similarities between his personality now and as a teenager. It’s a fun aspect for young readers to be able to see this happening, to really believe that this is some sort of fantastical memoir. The illumination and reflection, in addition to the wonderful characterization, are what make this novel so captivating.
What makes How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel a fun read for older people is its fluctuation between light and dark: it’s funny but not without its harrowing moments. There will be points when the reader thinks: how can this get any worse? until Cowell lightens the mood once again.
How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel is the perfect novel for parents to read to their children, or even alone, and it’s an easy read for young ones. The story is fast-paced, action-packed, and full of wonderful, fun, and quirky characters that jump off the pages. But with any adventure, there come obstacles. This novel shows that while life can get dark, there is always a silver lining—a great message for any reader, no matter the age.