Review of PAPERBACK How To Steal a Dragon’s Sword – Book 9 of the How To Train A Dragon series by Cressida Cowell #Brainfluffbookreview #HowToStealaDragon’sSword


I’ve had a bit of a gap since I treated myself to the next in the series – partly because my young grandson is busy reading books all about footballers instead of dragons these days. But those of you who have visited before, know of my love for these fabulous books – see my review of How To Twist a Dragon’s Tale here.

Viking Berk heir, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and his dragon, Toothless are target of dragon rebellion — filled with the meanest Razor-wings, Tonguetwisters, and Vampire Ghouldeaths. Only a King can save them, a champion with all of the King’s Lost Things. Hiccup will have to outwit a witch, fight his arch-enemy, and beat back an army of bloodthirsty dragons with just one sword.

There is still a madcap quality about some of the adventures besetting Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, but also a certain melancholy, given that the tales of derring-do are being told by a much older and sadder Hiccup rather than the skinny, desperate boy struggling to stay alive against mountainous odds. That doesn’t stop the characters from pinging off the page and this story – like all the others – take off in all sorts of unexpected directions. Though there is a dreadful inevitability about the terrible war between humans and dragons that seems to be on the brink of breaking out.

It was still fun to read about the crafty witch Excellinor and her wicked plans to overthrow the Vikings and have her son crowned as King of the Wilderwest – and Hiccup’s attempts to prevent her from doing so. As well as satisfyingly wicked antagonists, Hiccup is also hampered by a lantern-jawed hero in the shape of Flashburn, the greatest swordsman of his time. And while Fishlegs, his asthmatic friend, is mostly loyal, he isn’t all that much use in a fight, while his other staunch companion, Camicazi, is an adrenaline junkie incapable of keeping a secret.

Cowell’s plotting is brilliant at keeping the pace up, so that restless small boys who would rather be kicking a football around instead of sitting still and listening to a story, nonetheless pay attention, because said story is THAT good. So if you have any small boys or girls in your life who are in need of a gripping series, then this is the one for you. If they’ve wandered off to play football, then this is still the one for you – because once you’ve started reading this one, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve discovered what happens to the likes of Toothless, Hiccup, Fishlegs and Excellinor.

22 responses »

    • Yes, there are 12 books in this series overall with a distinct narrative arc. There’s nothing wrong with the movie, except it is a vanilla version of the vivid personalities portrayed in the books. I love Hiccup and naughty, naughty little Toothless:)

  1. I love seeing that 10/10 from you as this is a series that I love reading with my son. We’re several books behind you but have loved all of the ones we’ve read. Toothless is my favorite, lol.

    • Oh yes! Lovely to hear from a fellow fan – I absolutely love this series. It’s funny, clever and with such a strong narrative… Oscar zoomed ahead and finished reading the series on his own, which I’m pleased about. Though I would have loved to have gone on sharing them with him – turning him into an independent reader is, after all, what it’s all about.

  2. OMG, this sounds TOTALLY delightful!! I might pick it up, even though I don’t usually read Middle Grade books. But that cover! And the plot! And you’ve mentioned listening to a story, so this must be an audiobook. Sounds FUN!! I usually prefer to read a book first, then, if I LOVE it, I will get the audiobook. In this case, though, I think it would be better to get the audiobook first!

    I’m glad you and your grandson both enjoyed this book!! 🙂

    Thanks for the lovely review!! CHEERS!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you, Maria:)). Yes – I have read it, but there is an excellent audiobook version narrated by David Tennant of Dr Who fame. The actual books aren’t all that expensive as they are for children – and I really, really hope you end up falling as hard for Toothless as I have…

  3. YES! I keep asking Blondie about this series, but she’s just too influenced by the cartoon and films, dangit. Have you seen anything by Erin Hunter? She’s got quite a few animal-centric adventure serieseseseseses out there. That seems to be the one thing Blondie will read these days, which, yeah, I’ll take it, but still–why not a little Hiccup, too?

  4. I have never been much for dragons. If I encountered one I would not, like you, engage it in conversation, but I’d probably faint dead away! My Better Half read a whole series about Dragon Riders or Dragon Masters or something. I believe it was a classic series written back in the 70’s or 80’s. Was the author’s first name Ann and was there a Mc or Mac?

    • Ah, I’m guessing that’s the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne Maccaffrey. Yes… I’ve read them, too. And loved them. I used to have a pretend friend, Mr Dragon, when a small child, who was going to come and rescue me and take me home, back to my parents in Africa. There was method in my obsession – I don’t think my fairy godmother would have managed the journey between England and Zambia:))

  5. I might not be the target of those books, but I do enjoy your continuous reviews of this series (I do have a soft spot for the movies and Netflix’s series… 😉 ).

    • Oh the films are so banal in comparison to the vivid characters and the hard moral choices Hiccup is often confronted with! I finally completed the series this year – I haven’t yet posted the finale, but I wept as I listened…

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