Dragons, the legendary fire-breathing creatures that are so prevalent in myths, have fascinated humanity for ages. Whether it is the reptilian dragons from European stories or the serpentine creatures found in Asian tales, there is no denying their popularity. While everything from whale skeletons to crocodiles and dinosaurs has been credited as the inspiration for dragons, there is still an air of mystery that surround them. This is also why it is no surprise that many fantasy authors have embraced dragons as integral parts of their books. They are not found in all fantasy books, but here are a few where they can be found either wreaking havoc or fighting on the side of good.
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Instead of mighty heroes setting off to slay the vicious dragon, Dragonsbane features an altogether more ragtag group for the job. It is not just the heroes who aren’t what readers typically expect, but the black dragon, Morkeleb, also makes for a more compelling villain.
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Author Marie Brennan offers a different take on dragons with her series that features the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist, Lady Trent. The book tells the story of Lady Trent in the style of a Victorian memoir, which makes for a fascinating fusion of genres. The book also delivers on its promise of featuring plenty of dragons, with a good mystery thrown in for added measure.
Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
Everyone tired of reading about the accustomed historic fantasy setting in which dragons are frequently featured will appreciate Dragonhaven by author Robin McKinley. His book is set in an alternate contemporary world where dragons have been hunted almost to extinction and can now only be found in a couple of wilderness havens. The book also deals with the challenges that comes with finding and rescuing an orphaned baby dragon and then having to care for it.
Chronicles of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
It is impossible to mention dragons without acknowledging the Chronicles of Pern books by author Anne McCaffrey. In Dragonflight, readers are introduced to dragon riders of Pern who use these majestic beasts to defend their planet. What makes the books so unique is not only the telepathic bond that the riders have with their dragons, but also the science fiction setting of the series.
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
His Majesty’s Dragon by author Naomi Novik is another book that rips dragons from their traditional fantasy setting and re-imagines them in a new one. In this case, it is the Napoleonic Wars where they are used for the defense of Britain. The protagonist of this book, Will Laurence, finds himself part of the Aerial Corps after capturing a frigate with an unhatched dragon’s egg on-board and subsequently bonding with the creature.
Dragon Champion by E. E. Knight
Author E. E. Knight shakes things up in his Age of Fire books by telling the story from the perspective of a dragon. The author makes good use of dragon lore along with his own unique ideas to retain some familiarity while also keeping the story gripping. It is certainly not for the faint of heart, but Dragon Champion makes for a nice change of pace compared to traditional dragon tales.