Monday, November 3, 2014

Joust (The Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey | Epic Fantasy | Book Review

Mulluane | 3:30 PM | 7 Comments so far

For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowledge of animals-and her professional background as an avian expert-to create something truly special...

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis-and the science of animal behavior and biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bond.

The first book in this thrilling new series introduces readers to a young slave who dreams of becoming a Jouster-one of the few warriors who can actually ride a flying dragon. And so, in secret, he begins to raise his own dragon.

ALA Notable Book

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Joust (The Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey

| Author: Mercedes Lackey
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Dragons, Coming of Age, Magic, War
| ISBN-10: 0756401534
| ISBN-13: 9780756401535
| Publisher: DAW (March 2, 2004)
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Cover Artist: Jody A. Lee
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Joust (Dragon Jousters, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
Dragon Jousters is a must read for every dragon fan. It has everything. Dragons, dragonriders, coming of age, sympathetic characters, interesting worldbuilding, friendship and hope. This is the type of fantasy that, as a teen, made me fall head over heels in love with the genre.

Epic Fantasy Review by Mulluane

♦ The Story. Vetch is a serf. The lowest of the low. A hapless victim of war between Tia and Alta, Vetch has watched his father killed, his farm sold and his family divided. Serfs, unlike slaves, are tied to the land. The very land that was seized by their enslavers. Because they are tied to the land they must be kept alive, but that is their only right. Best most serfs can expect is minimal shelter, scraps of food and endless hard labor.

But Vetch has a dream. One that has kept him going from day to miserable day. He has formulated a curse. A curse which will make his owner rue the day he bought a piece of Vetch's family farm and inherited Vetch in the process. A curse which will manifest in a way that Vetch never imagined.

♦ What I Liked. It only took me 2-3 pages to fall under this story's spell. Immediately we are introduced to a harsh desert environment, a young, abused serf and his cruel master. All the ingredients needed to bond with the main character are described in living color. Told in first person, you identify easily with Vetch, a child who has lost everything to war. His home, his family and his freedom, all gone. His situation is tragic, his living conditions abysmal and yet, he maintains a spark of defiance and exhibits a determined will to survive. What is not to love! This is the type of read that I've been looking for. Characters I can cheer for. Dragons to love. Triumph over adversity. And even though I do not believe this was young adult marketed, young adults will love this tale too. It has a strong coming of age element, a strong protagonist and a easy to follow storyline.

The worldbuilding is interesting. On the one hand, you may find some similarities with ancient cultures. There is an unmistakable Egyptian feel to this world. But Mercedes Lackey has added an element that Egypt never had. She added dragons and dragon riders. The resulting combination was priceless. Not since I read the Pern series have I encountered such wonderful, glorious dragons. I'm loving every minute of this tale. Granted there are a lot of not so nice dragons too but they just add a needed balance to the plot.

♦ My Thoughts. You might have noticed that I skipped the "What I Didn't Like" section altogether. There is a reason for that. I can't think of anything.

The pace was perfect, which is surprising because 99% of the story takes place in a single location. There will be changes of scenery later in the series but for now, we watch and experience everything through Vetch's eyes and Vetch is not free to go anywhere.

Now you might think this would be boring. It takes a certain talent to pull off first person while keeping the reader engaged. Let me reassure you on this point. This is first person done extremely well. At no time did I feel the need of multiple POV's. Everything you need to know is handled by engaging dialog and astute observations. Engagement won't be your problem. Your problem will be putting the book down.

♦ Conclusion. If you are a fan of dragons, like coming of age stories, in the mood for a lighter summer type read and enjoy a character you can really get behind, you'll love this book. I've seen this series recommended to lovers of McCaffrey's Pern series and so far I have to agree. I love a book that makes me feel good after I've read the last page and this one fit that bill. This book also reminds me strongly of why I started following Mercedes Lackey to begin with. I loved her Valdemar series immensely and this tale is following in the same footsteps. Great read and great fun.

♦ Additional Reviews ♦

Series Summary ~ Alta #2 ~ Sanctuary #3 ~ Aerie #4

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything 3.86/5

Amazon: 4.2/5
(90 customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Joust: Joust #1 (Dragon Jousters)

Audible: No

Buy Book: Books-A-Million ~ AbeBooks

Book Depository

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Already read the book? Please share your own opinion!

Joust (The Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey | Epic Fantasy | Book Review
Reviewed by Mulluane on September 08 2014
Rating: 5 of 5

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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Old Bat's Belfry - Witty Wacky and Wise Quotes


  1. This sounds like a great find. I'm glad you enjoyed it. {SMILE}

    I'll have to check it out sometime. I just need to find a time when I'm not reading too much already. {Smile, wink}


    1. LOL! I know exactly what you mean! And I think you'll like the group dynamics involved. I know families mean alot to you but there is more than one type of family. A close bond with something like an adoring dragon may not fully compensate for loss of family but it can go a long way towards soothing the pain.

  2. Merceds Lackey has been on my radar for some time, and this sounds like the perfect place to start!
    There's nothing like a good pinch of planned revenge to rouse my interest... **wicked grin**

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. My pleasure! Some of her stuff I love. Some of her collaborations I can't get into. I'm afraid my inner high fantasy obsession is responsible for that. Her Valdemar Series is likely too dated for alot of folks. That was another love affair of mine that started in the 80s. This series however has a bit more maturity so likely is the best place to start :>)

    2. I've heard of the Valdemar Series more than once, but the fact that it's somewhat dated worries me a bit: as we discussed when talking about the Pern series, some books don't age well.. But I've added this one to my list for future explorations!

  3. My fiance and I read this entire series together and loved it. Such good books!

    1. Agreed! Her background as a raptor caretaker really shines through. These are the best dragons I've ever encountered in terms of meticulous and believable detail. I like Hobb's because of the telepathy but these I think are more "real."


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