No Such Thing As Dragons

( 2 )


A thrilling new adventure from award-winning master storyteller Philip Reeve!

Ansel is a mute boy whose master is a dragon-slayer. Brock has shining armor, and scars that prove his heroic stories. Ansel suspects there are no such things as dragons. So what is the man-eating monster that haunts the crags of Dragon Mountain?

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No Such Thing as Dragons

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A thrilling new adventure from award-winning master storyteller Philip Reeve!

Ansel is a mute boy whose master is a dragon-slayer. Brock has shining armor, and scars that prove his heroic stories. Ansel suspects there are no such things as dragons. So what is the man-eating monster that haunts the crags of Dragon Mountain?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this somber but rewarding tale, a mute boy named Ansel is sold as a servant to Brock, an itinerant dragon-slayer. It turns out, however, that Brock is a charlatan, who travels the countryside looking for superstitious folk who believe they have a dragon problem. He then pretends, for an appropriate reward, to kill their dragon, showing them a crocodile skull as proof of his heroism. Ansel is relieved that there are no dragons, but bothered by the moral ambiguity of his position. Then, of course, the duo unexpectedly must confront a real dragon, "its head... a short, brutal blade, freckled with hard black scales, the spiny ridges over its eyes as rough as pinecones." With their lives in jeopardy, as well as that of a girl the terrified villagers have left as a sacrifice, the two try to defeat the monster. There's no real magic in this beautifully written, understated story, and the dragon may be nothing more than a pterosaur (presumably the last of its kind), but it's still a dangerous beast, and Reeve (Fever Crumb) describes their confrontation with grim economy. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Ansel turned mute after his mother died. His father punished him, but still he would not talk. When Johaness Von Brock came to the tavern, he told the keeper he needed a boy to work for him. The innkeeper lined up his sons. Brock chooses Ansel because a mute can tell no secrets. He paid Ansel's father and Brock and Ansel leave for the North Country. Villagers are impressed with dragon slayers. Brock calls dragons "worms" to show his disdain. To placate the dragon, the villagers take a young girl to the mountain, tie her and leave her as a sacrifice. Brock and Ansel untie the girl. The dragon comes, takes Brock's sword, kills two of their horses and the dishonorable friar Brock brought along. Brock ties up Else again as he decides she is a good pretend sacrifice. Ansel releases Else, and they both escape Brock as they are afraid of him. Else and Ansel find their way almost home when Brock finds them and convinces them to help carry the dragon to the village where Brock will kill him. The dragon escapes, and the villagers are angry with Brock and Ansel. Ansel finds his voice and joins Else and her mother who plan to be tinkers. Brock has found them and is riding with them in their cart. The four leave the village together. Boys will especially enjoy this adventure story. A glossary is needed, however, to explain many words that young readers will not know. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Reeve explores a more "realistic" vision of classic dragon tales in his newest novel. Ansel is a mute boy who is callously sold by his father to be a servant to an itinerant dragon hunter who is happy to have someone who can keep his secrets safe. Brock truly has secrets, and before long he reveals to Ansel that dragons do not really exist, and that he is, in fact, a charlatan who preys on the fears of villagers. However, a book with this title surely has to contain a dragon, and inevitably, Ansel and Brock must face off against the real thing. There is some graphic description of horses and a human being devoured by the dragon. The creature itself is portrayed somewhat sympathetically, as Ansel realizes it is just an animal. The real story, however, is how in the course of this quest, the boy is able to find his voice, both literally and figuratively. This is certainly different from anything that Reeve has done previously, but is still shot through with his trademark imagination and feel for action. It will be eagerly devoured by young readers.—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Kirkus Reviews
Dragon-slaying is the perfect medieval con, until it turns out dragons aren't so imaginary after all. Ten-year-old Ansel, mute since his mother's death, has been sold off to Brock; Ansel's father wanted gold, and Brock wanted a servant who couldn't betray his scam (find a gullible village, ride into the hills, return with sheep guts draped over the crocodile head he secretly carries, collect reward, ride on, repeat). When they find an actual dragon in the snowy mountains, death seems certain; instead, new beginnings and hope (plus some new schemes) emerge. Reeve's humor may amuse the adults who might read this aloud more than the listeners (Brock's womanizing and an indulgence-selling defrocked priest whom the dragon eats are standouts), but the chills and Ansel's recognition of the dragon's piercing loneliness make for compelling, sometimes pulse-pounding action, and Ansel's growth provides a heart beneath the adventure. A gem, much like those rumored to rest in a dragon's hoard. (Fantasy. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545222242
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,566,782
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Reeve is the bestselling author of the Predator Cities quartet and the award-winning Fever Crumb series. His other books include the highly acclaimed HERE LIES ARTHUR and NO SUCH THING AS DRAGONS. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son. Visit him online at
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011


    This was a great book for my son- who isn't even into dragons- it was easy for him to relate to.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Theresa L. Stowell for TeensReadToo

    Ten-year-old Ansel's life has been difficult. His mother died when he was little, and he lost his voice soon after her death. In the years since, his father has remarried and had more children. When a stranger comes to town looking for a young boy to do servant's work, Ansel's father gladly takes the offered bag of money and sends his son on his way despite the potential danger. Johannes Brock is a dragon hunter. He likes the idea of a squire who cannot talk and will not be able to share his tricks of the trade. But Brock has a secret, and when he tells it to Ansel, the child is torn between faithfulness to his new master - who has been kinder than his own father - and a desire to tell the truth. When the two venture into the shadow of a mountain called Drachenberg, their lives and very belief system will be challenged. Readers will be pulled in by themes of loss, grief, friendship, and sacrifice as they struggle on the mountainside along with Ansel and his companions. Philip Reeve, the author of THE HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES and THE MORTAL ENGINES quartet, as well as many other young adult novels, has once again produced an exciting story that will dare readers to put it down before they have reached the last page!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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