I recently discovered a copy of Dragon's Bait, a novella by author Vivian Vande Velde; while perusing a street fair I noticed a stand selling used books which I then set upon. The title of the book and its cover art is what initially caught my attention, as is part of their purpose. After reading the back, and then flipping through the little 131-page novella, I chose to give it a read. After a swift $0.50 purchase, it was mine. This is a tad outside my normal read I must admit; however, it appeared I had an interesting read in my hands. Once home I sat outside under my cedar tree in the backyard with a glass of white wine and set to reading this new story.
Falsely accused of witchcraft, her father died from the distress of it all, 15-year-old Alys is condemned to be staked on a hillside and left as a sacrifice for the local menacing dragon. Hours bound to the uncomfortable stake. Cold. Dark. Raining. Breaking free from her bindings and even then realizing she has nowhere to go. Then, seeing the shadow of the dragon receiving across the moonlit sky. Throwing a rock and screaming at the dragon, ready to die, it swooped down and still before her. Alys closed her eyes welcoming death only to be then touched by a boy. Selendrile. The dragon. He offers to help her retaliate. To get back at the people of St. Toby who so wrongfully condemned her to be dragon bait. As things begin to spill out of control Alys is forced to decide what she really wants.
Dragon's Bait by Vande Vande Velde is a captivating adventure tale traversing the issues of coming into adulthood. While presenting contemplative issues associated with revenge and discovering one's purpose. The story is short and very straight to the point as it moves quickly along, an easy read. You could even complete it in just a few hours with a glass of wine as I did. The issues presented in Dragon's Bait along with the authors use of language and plot gear it towards a young adult audience. Though, it is a very interesting story and could easily be a fun read for the avid adult reader just looking for something a bit different. Some of the character development is left more or less undeveloped, and leave you wondering what the purpose of presenting them into the story was.
Amazon.com gives the story a 4 out of 5 stars; while Goodreads.com gives it a 4 out of 5 stars as well. I too would give this lovely crafted novella a 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it.
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