Published 2007 by Putnam Juvenile
Baby dragons! And Robin McKinley! What’s not to love? Dragonhaven was probably my favorite of my Wicked Winter Read-A-Thon books.
I am a huge sucker for stories about raising baby animals that aren’t supposed to survive. And also dragons. So if there was ever a story that was tailor-made for my interests, this is it. (Okay, and also Joust, and The White Dragon, but still.)
Dragonhaven is the story of Jake the teenage boy and Lois the dragon, and a dragon national park. There’s not actually a whole lot of action; mostly it’s just Jake’s very entertainingly rambling thoughts, though if you don't like that sort of writing, this is probably not the book for you. Personally, I'm a huge fan – it's fun and tells you a lot about the world – but if you hated Sunshine you probably won't like Dragonhaven either.
I love how real this world is. Little details bring it to life: the sort of things that are just treated as facts everyone knows rather than imparted in large, unpalatable doses. The dragons are a lot like the mythological stories, but there are differences, and those differences make them seem more realistic. And Jake faces incredible difficulties in raising Lois – it's not just just outsmarting government bureaucrats and humorless investigators. The main story is about surmounting the overwhelming differences between species, and those difficulties add depth to what would otherwise be an unremarkable tale.
There aren't a whole lot of characters, but those there are were excellent. I particularly liked the extraordinarily reticent White Oak and the vivid kid busybody Eleanor. However, I couldn't decide if I liked the dash of romance or not. It seemed both inevitable and somehow less immediate than the rest of the book, though that might be because that part was explained in a slightly different manner.
Anyway, this book gave me warm fuzzies, and I'll definitely be buying it at some point. I definitely recommend it if you're a fan of dragons and/or Robin McKinley.
If you liked Dragonhaven, try:
Joust by Mercedes Lackey
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey