Book Review: “How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale” by Cressida Cowell

The villain in this installment of the How To Train Your Dragon series starts on page one, in a similar way to How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse.

“I am an Exterminator Imprisoned in my Egg I can see through the clear transparent walls of the shell I cannot break After fifteen years of scratching I look out upon the world That I am dying to IGNITE, and over the years, my fury has been simmering, stewing, boiling and now it is SMOKING HOT”

Or at least a villain. Since the series is several books in, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III has made his fair share of friends and enemies. Usually up to this point it’s a dragon or Alvin the Treacherous in worse shape then he’d been in the previous book.

In this book we meet a new character (which tends to be the case in every book) whose called Humongously Hotshot the Hero. (Very creative)

“It was the head of a blond, bearded, handsome man, no make that a very handsome man, slightly past the prime of middle age, and currently looking a bit cross.”

“Humungously Hotshot was one of the greatest Viking Heroes of recent times, who had completed such great Quests as ‘the Slaying of the Rude Rippers’ and ‘the Fetching of the Weird Stone’. He had completely disappeared without trace fifteen years before, and everybody had rather assumed he was dead, which was an occupational hazard of being a great Viking Hero.”

Humungously Hotshot is such a celebrity that he causes ripples of change in the village. The Hooligans start looking to him for fashion advice and Humungously Hotshot seems to be more realistically Viking like then the rest of the Hooligans have to this point. He bathes more regularly, he brushes his hair, he’s just generally better groomed and everyone likes him. Except Stoick the Vast (Hiccup’s father) and a skeptical Fishlegs.

We also have Snotlout once again trying to murder Hiccup.

“The boys practiced their Axe-fighting with wooden axes in order to try and reduce the mortality rate. But somehow Humungous, who was helping Gobber by handing out the weapons, made matters even worse by handing Snotlout a real axe instead of the wooden one.”

“A gleam of delight came into Snotlout’s shark-like little eyes.”

This is the second time someone’s removed the cover from the weapon Hiccup’s opponent is using in the training courses and not a single adult seems to ever notice and stop it, despite him being the chief’s son and next in line, and his opponent never seems to notice or care. Which seeing as they’re kids his age, I find disconcerting. I know it’s suppose to be the point, that everyone around Hiccup whose in charge seems to live with their heads in the clouds and are too stubborn to see reason, but after awhile of them never learning after books and books of Hiccup being right and having to once again save himself and the village when no one but his best friend and his dragon are reluctantly by his side.

In this book though, Hiccup is working against time and various forces to stop a nearby volcano from erupting that was only kept dormant by a fire stone his father stole from the volcano. The island the volcano is on is full of Exterminator dragons who can only hatch when the volcano explodes, so they’ve been sitting there angrily for years waiting to hatch. All of the local tribes have gathered together in Berk to try and come up with a solution and once again, don’t listen to Hiccup or his friends.

“Hiccup had made leaps such as these all his life. Leaps of faith, leaps of hope, leaps out into the unknown. Hiccup had always trusted in his luck, in his faith that the universe was ultimately kindly, a Good Egg, as Stoick would put it, rather than a Bad Egg, and would reach out and save him.
But this was more of a leap of despair.”

I liked this book better than some of the previous ones. There was more adventure and more of Hiccup’s families history. And people seemed actually to be remorseful and understanding of their consequences of their previous actions. We also got to finally meet Hiccup’s Mom and learn more about her. (Apparently she’s not around because she’s always off on various Quests.) I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m enjoying these more. Is it that they’re getting better or I’m just getting worn down. I don’t know.

Do you stick through things that you don’t like at first or do you set it aside never to return to it?


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