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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Joust by Mercedes Lackey. New York: Daw Books, 2003. ISBN: 0756401224

This is a straightforwardly entertaining fantasy novel, with the typical mistreated adolescent urchin as the hero who is suddenly transferred into a better life caring for dragons. Naturally he overcomes all odds and gets a dragon of his own. Echoes of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, although these dragons aren't quite as amazing as the Pern beasts--no telepathy or teleportation abilities, nor are they known to be sentient, although there are hints that they may be more intelligent than is generally believed.

The basic plotline strains our ability to suspend our disbelief at least a little. The hero's initial plight seems a bit over-drawn, and excessively harsh. And his subsequent success seems remarkably free of pitfalls, and overly filled with lucky breaks. There aren't any major obstacles that can't be overcome by many hours of hard work, it seems. Nevertheless, everyone loves the story of a downtrodden kid who makes good, and many sci-fi and fantasy novelists have taken advantage of this soft spot in their readers. If you're looking for light but well-written escapism, you won't go wrong here.

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