How to Train Your Dragon
by Cressida Cowell
narrated by David Tennant
(children’s fantasy, audiobook)
First of all, let me say that yes, I’ve seen the move. And yes, I saw the sequel. And yes, I saw both movies before I read (listened to) the book. And while there were definite changes between the book and the movie (which may or may not have annoyed me if I’d read the book before seeing the movies) I can understand why the changes were made and don’t have a problem with them. Now that that’s over with… on to the review.
I greatly enjoyed this audiobook. Yes, a lot of that was because of the narrator, but it was also the book itself. If you are going to read this one (in any form), however, there is one thing you must keep in mind: its target audience. I would say the target reader is a pre-teen boy. So if you are not okay with snot and potty humor, you may want to read a different book. Even so, though, it’s not overly gross, and there is a quite respectable plot. But it’s told through a young boy’s eyes, and it shows.
My favorite part of the story was the interaction between Hiccup and Toothless. But then, I have always loved human-dragon conversations. That’s probably my favorite part of the Pern books, too – the bits where the humans and their dragons communicate and play together. I do like this (book) version of Toothless, even if he’s not as awesome as the version of him I was introduced to first (movie). Not as awesome, I guess, because he’s bigger in the movie, mostly. (AKA Hiccup can ride on him, rather than Toothless riding on Hiccup’s shoulder as in the book. Back to Pern: it’s the difference between dragons and fire lizards. No matter how cool fire lizards are, dragons are more awesome.) Also, while I enjoy the conversations that Hiccup and Toothless have in the book, I LOVE the expressions that are on Toothless’ face in the movies.
The plot is fun, too. Different than either movie, and yet similar. You don’t have to look far to see the similarities even though they are technically nowhere near the same plot. I do like the way the book explains the different kinds of dragons, and the illustrations are quite amusing. (I listened to the audio book, but I also recently bought the paperback for my niece, and so I flipped through it before wrapping it for her.) I especially like the way the other book titled “How To Train Your Dragon” is duplicated within the pages of this book. Very fun.
And the narration. Ah, the narration. I love having David Tennant as the narrator for this. He seems to have so much fun with it. (Though as with the movie, I’m not sure that a Scots/Irish brogue is the right accent for the Vikings. I guess I can ignore that, since I have no real idea what a true Viking would sound like.) Tennant is quite good at the various voices for the different characters, to an extent that I’d never had proof of before. And his timing is good as well, as are his dragon voices. I knew I liked him as an actor, but this just makes me like him more.