Wednesday, March 4, 2015

All The Dragons

Dragons, dragons, I love dragons!  I think sometimes that dragons are my favorite thing to read about.  I love the variety and imaginative scope that they provide.  They are part of every culture, every time period, they can be wise, wild, animal, ancient, pets, new, old, funny, scary, the possibilities for dragons are endless.  Which is why I picked up Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan and Marianne S. Jablon.  The book promised varied stories of any number of types of dragons, and it delivered.  Here are just a few of my favorites.
The Rule of Names by Ursula K. Le Guin - This story fits the authors style perfectly, and is one of the reasons I started reading her full length books.  We have a dragon, a wizard, a quiet island, a treasure and an outsider.  All is not as it appears and this lyrical and readable story instantly became one of my favorites.

The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath by Patricia A. McKillip- Another story that beautifully showcases the authors writing style.  Here our dragon is ancient and giant and the source of an entire culture.  I like this one for the imagery and for the sheer vastness of the dragon.  I like how the author was effective at isolating the dragon and the people affected by it and the outsider who used to be one of them to upset the balance they didn't even know they had.

The Dragon's Boy by Jane Yolen - Here we have a dragon who is no dragon at all, yet the "dragon" in question is smart enough to use the lore of dragons to achieve his ends.  We also see a potential origin story for the boy who pulls the sword from the stone.  This story has just the right amount of humor and puzzle in it, a great little read.

Orm the Beautiful by Elizabeth Bear - One of my favorites because it combines music, dragons, Washington DC and the continuation of a species through love and sacrifice.  This story gives us the flavor of traditional dragons with a wholly original take.  I have read this story multiple times and gets me every time I turn its pages.  The last ancient dragon goes to extreme means to protect the living bones of his family, that they may stay together in eternity.

Dragon's Gate by Pat Murphy - This story is one I would have LOVED as a teenager, I still love it know, but enjoy imagining my younger self discovering it.  There is a girl disguised as a boy, a dragon with a very peculiar curse and an adventure to make any girl (or boy) running off to fetch their traveling cloak.  This is a pretty straight forward adventure tale of awesomeness with just enough of a twist to make it original as well as a really great story.

In Autumn, A White Dragon Looks Over the Wide River by Naomi Novik - Various cultures come into play in this tale set in an alternate Earth history.  Here we see dragons from various countries and their different assumptions, interests and expectations.  We also see humans and their assumptions about our reptilian friends and how all of this combined leads to a very compelling and thoughtful story.  This is one of those stories that makes you think about how you view the world, it's various peoples and beliefs and how ones ones assumptions colors all of it.

The Silver Dragon by Elizabeth A. Lynn - This is definitely my kind of story.  To me it comes across as almost an epic tale, told across the years.  We have our Silver Dragon, a dragon who is usually seen in the form of a man and follow his and his neighboring kingdoms struggles against a not so nice guy, his subsequent marriage and all that follows.  The best part of this story is that while this particular tale is complete, I am dying to read more about this world and the family of Dragons!

The George Business by Roger Zelazny- One of the more humorous stories in this collection we see a simple young man and a dragon enter into a bargain to help the young man obtain the affections of a lady.  While the plan is sound, alas the lady has already been married.   As the plan itself was actually a good one, the young man and the dragon take their act on the road to make their fortune.  Quick, fun, a great read.

Weyr Search by Anne McCaffrey - Like the editors of this collection, I hesitated on whether to add this story or not.  On the one hand, this story that became the basis for the authors wildly popular (and one of my absolute favorite) Pern series has been read so many times, and been put into so many collections that it seemed redundant.  On the other hand, what is a dragon collection without the DragonLady herself.  I and the editors apparently both feel the same way and such I put it in my list of favorite stories.
Whew I had better stop before I put the whole book in this post!  There are a ton more amazing stories to discover in this big book of dragons so quit reading this post and go get the book!  Seriously though if you like dragons in any way shape or form, this collection needs to be on your shelf.  I give it 8 out of 10 dragon wings and will probably read most of these stories again.

What is your favorite dragon story?  What is your favorite type of dragon?  Do you get sick of my love of dragons?

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