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We were really looking forward to this instalment as book 9 ended on a bit of a cliff hanger. This book picks up and continues to take us on the roller coaster of emotions as we plummet head long to the final chapter in Hiccups memoirs. The book is well paced to keep younger readers hooked and the adventure comes thick and fast. The writer has built a really beautiful mix of characters through out the series and the situations that develop allow the reader to explore some complex themes. The redemption of a lost soul in this volume is both moving and exceptionally well written. In many ways the reader is left with a charming dilemma, the need to read on while realising that the end is neigh. My son and I can't for the next book, but it will be the last. For Thors sake, what will we do then?
The thing that is not made clear, and my son really dislikes, about the Kindle version of these books is that they omit the illustrations! This is a major part of these books, and a really huge item to omit! Frankly given they are mono illustrations (i.e. black and white) it makes zero sense to omit them. Really poor given they cost near as much as the paperback.
Readers beware! Hiccups journey continues to get darker, dealing with more mature issues such as betrayal, acceptance and redemption. The magic that we have come to expect from Cressida Cowell is still there though, and the pace never lets up throughout the entire book. She also tells us, in absolute terms, that the next book will be the last one. All of the characters that we have come to know and love (or hate) over the past 10 books are here. The plot pushes forward with the inevitable force of a steam train and the portents for the ending are not optimitic. Please Cressida, don't keep us waiting too long for the final book!