Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.First impression: funny (the type of funny that makes you laugh out loud and then feel awkward when your family looks at you with that "Why are you laughing, weirdo?" look.) My suggestion? Read when alone to avoid said awkwardness.
Second impression: The book reads considerably better when snacking on pretzels and orange juice.
Third impression: perfect for boys. Now don't get me wrong. Girls can read it, too (I did, obviously, and loved it). But it has boy things in it--muscles, belching, snot, and the likes. Not to mention names like Snotlout, Dogbreath, Baggy-bum, etc.
How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell is a wonderfully witty and sarcastic book. I love humor. I love books that impress me with jokes that I couldn't have though of myself. As the reader follows Hiccup (main character) through the trials of Dragon Training, he/she joins Hiccup in overcoming frustrations of being awkward, puny, and the son of the Viking leader. His relationship with his father is strained and pressured, but through strength and will of character, he overcomes it and proves his worth, both to himself and the town.
The book is 96% different than the movie (except for the title and some character names). But I enjoyed both on a completely different wonderful level. I highly recommend reading the book after the movie, only because the movie is nothing like the book. I, however, love the movie and so does the author, Cressida Cowell.
From a Christian point of view, there is an issue in the movie that concerns many Christians--the frequent mention of Germanic/Viking gods (Thor, Odin, etc). These gods are also mentioned in the book as well as references to soothsaying, the will of the gods, and "Fate"...but in a cultural sense, these beliefs are accurate for the Viking culture. The book is not written in an attempt to convince the reader that the Viking gods are real or that the world revolves around fate; Cowell instead tries to convey what she believes life for Vikings (or at least crazy Hooligan dragon-fighting Vikings) is like.
The book is not from a Christian point of view, but it's clean, enjoyable, creative, and amusing. I believe it's a decent read for any age-group and, if I had my own dragon, I would read this as a reference book to train it. You should, too (even if you don't have a dragon...it's always good to be prepared).
Violence Level: **
Romance Level: *
Christian Focus: *
Readability Level: ***
Story Depth Level: ***
Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, releases 2014 from Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com.