How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury
By Cressida Cowell
Published by Hachett Audio
Read by David Tennant
We have reached the conclusion of this long series. In a way I am sorry to have finally arrived as I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Now as I have said in past reviews of this series: forget nearly everything you know if you have only seen the two movies based on these books. “Based” is probably too strong a word. “Inspired” is more accurate because aside from some of the names (like Hiccup, Toothless, Stoic the Vast, Fishlegs and Snotlout) and the fact they are Vikings and that there are dragons involved, the similarities pretty much end there.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is still the main protagonist of the series and in the earlier books he is the runt character who must prove himself, but by this final book of the series, he pretty much has proven that he’s a darned good swordsman, having won the tournament that had been intended to choose a new king two (or was it three or four?) books ago before certain complications turned everything upside down handing the right to the crown to Hiccup’s nemesis, Alvin the Treacherous. Even so, under Alvin’s harsh p-re-reign many Vikings were already starting to turn toward Hiccup. But now we find Hiccup stranded on an island with the ancient sea dragon, Woden’s Fang and a particularly cheerful and friendly but horrifyingly stupid Hogfly type of dragon for company while various hunting dragons of the Dragon Rebellion seek to hunt him down and kill him on the orders of their leader, the Dragon Furious, formerly the dragon friend of Hiccup’s ancestor, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock II (son of Grimbeard the Ghastly, the last king of the Wilderwest).
Meanwhile it is the final day of the Viking Yule holiday season, Doomsday, on which the new king will be crowned on the Island of Tomorrow and Hiccup has no easy way of getting there in time. Will he make it in time? He is the protagonist, after all, but things have not been going his way over the course of the series so there’s no sure way to know in advance. Worse, Hiccup has amnesia and has forgotten who he is, why he is there or even who his friends, Fishlegs and Camikazi are when they try to rescue him.
Worse, whoever is crowned king will have to enter in one-on-one combat with the Dragon Furious. If it is Alvin, he will use the Dragon Jewel of Grimbeard to destroy all the dragons. If it is Hiccup, one gets the feeling he would never use the jewel that way, but if not, then how might he prevail against a dragon the size of a mountain?
Want to know? Read it for yourself!
This is a fitting conclusion to the series and a lot of fun no matter what your age.
David Tennant. Need I say more?
Yeah, okay, I will. Fans of Doctor Who will know him well. There are those who say he is the best Doctor ever. I won’t weigh in on that subject, but he is one of the best actors to play that part. He is fun to watch on the screen and immense fun to listen to in this book. He is one of the few readers who can use “Funny voices” in a reading and make it work without being annoying. (Interestingly, Tom Baker, another former Doctor Who, is another.) Having listened to Tennant’s reading for twelve books now, I think it is safe to say that he makes even the sometimes-heavy material of Hiccup’s travails fun to listen to and I suspect Tennant enjoyed the story as much as his listeners.
So, a great conclusion to a really good series. Are they children’s books? Who cares? A good story is a good story and I’m glad that only David Tennant read them all.