Joust (Dragon Jousters Series #1)

Joust (Dragon Jousters Series #1)

by Mercedes Lackey

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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National best-selling fantasy author Mercedes Lackey creates a vivid, dynamic fusion of the cultures of ancient Egypt and legendary Atlantis with the most exciting and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.  The first book in this thrilling new series introduces us to a young slave who dreams of becoming a jouster-one of the few warriors who can actually ride a flying dragon.  And so, in secret, he begins to raise his own dragon...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756401535
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 03/02/2004
Series: Dragon Jousters Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 369,503
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 4.12(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Elegant, compelling...A must-read for dragon lovers in particular and for fantasy fans in general." -Publishers Weekly

"It's fun to see a different spin on as usual, Lackey makes it all compelling." -Locus

Customer Reviews

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Joust (Dragon Jousters Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an awesome book. it didnt take me long at all to finish because i was reading all the time.YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!lol
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ve waited a long time to find a book as good as this. Ever since I read Terry Goodkind's sword of Truth novels I have been unable to find un equal to its superior novels. Joust is definatly an equal. its very discriptive and on ocasions made me burst with laughter for the situation vetch and others got themselves in were similar to every day life even though this book was based in fantasy. At times it had me on the edge of my seat when i rejected even the idea of putting the book down. it is a warm story with a bond between man and animal
harstan More than 1 year ago
The kingdoms of Tia and Alta are at war while at the present time the Tians are winning because they have better Jousters who know how to use their dragons as a tool of war. Much of Altan has become part of the Tian empire and Vetch, who was once a farmer¿s son, is now a serf, lower than a slave, belonging to a master who treats him very badly. When the Jouster Ari sees Vetch¿s owner whip him, he takes him away to the Jouster compound and makes him his dragon boy. Vetch now cares for Ari¿s dragon Kashet who he comes to love. He has plenty of food and a fair workload but he never forgets for one moment that he is a serf with no rights. Although he comes to care Ari and a few other people in the compound, he can¿t stomach what the Tians are doing to his people. He wants his freedom and embarks on a course of action that will achieve that goal if he doesn¿t get caught. Mercedes Lackey always writes a terrific story and this first installment in her new series is absolutely mesmerizing. Readers will feel for the protagonist who is only a ten-year-old child yet wise beyond his years. Once he sets a goal for himself, he sees it through no matter the risks. JOUST is a fantasy tale that will appeal to Anne McCaffrey¿s Pern fans as well as anyone who loves an adorable dragon. Harriet Klausner
EffingEden on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantasy following the fortunes of a serf called Vetch, Joust is the first book of a four book series, all of which are available. In the first novel, Vetch is a land-bound free-born slave who is being worked to death by his owner, until he is stolen away by a Jouster ¿ a dragon-riding elite warrior called Ari. So begins Vetch¿s new life as a dragon-boy. Mercedes Lackey is far from a favourite of mine. Something about her style grinds at me. I have read several of her earlier works, but it is Joust (and its sequel) that I find bearable. I have only read the first half of the series and it is unlikely I will read the second half due to my dislike of Ms Lackey¿s works. It took me a month to get through this book, which is not a good sign by any standards. Oh, she¿s very imaginative and valiantly dives into world-building with fervour, but there is a self-constructed problem that hinders the reader¿s engagement from the off. The main character, Vetch, is more-or-less confined to one place for the whole novel, and is quite antisocial when it comes to characters that can talk back. There can be pages and pages of info-dumping or internal thought or interactions with dragons (which isn¿t as tedious as the rest) ¿ with very little dialogue to be had at all.I think the series as a whole is a coming-of-age, but for this novel Vetch is in his early teens. I struggled to connect with him, due to his solitude and his quite flat personality. He likes dragons ¿ great, so do I. But he never does anything else, think of much else, talk of anything but¿ it gets old. The book drags on with very little really happening. The characters are not deep of varied ¿ three love dragons, the rest are pompous. The aspect that seems most concentrated upon is the dragons themselves, and I found myself becoming rather fond of Kashet, the only undrugged dragon of the compound, and I was intrigued by Ari, his rider. I wish I could have liked it more, it seemed to be just my thing with slavery and dragons, but the age of the protagonist and the lack-lustre characters made it dull.Characters: 2/10Setting: 5/10Plot: 3/10Dialogue: 4/10Overall: 3/10
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How can such well covered themes, dragons and freeing the enslaved, be covered so well? How did I go so long without reading this author? Mercedes Lackey is extremely prolific. If Joust is representative of her style, her loyal following is well deserved.As the first installment in a series, Joust spends a lot of time introducing the reader to this new world and the main character. While some people may find the pacing slow because of this, I found the extended setup well done. We are introduced to two cultures, loosely based on terrestrial Egypt, engaged in an extended war. Dragons are considered beasts of war and the riders apparently, no real battles are detailed in this volume, engage in jousting style aerial battles.Our sympathies are drawn to a young boy, Vetch, who has been made a serf by the conquering army. On this world, a serf is special class of slave, bound to the land they previously occupied, with no hope of ever attaining freedom from whoever holds their land. Dragon riders, Jousters, are something of an elite class, much like Anne McCaffery¿s Dragonriders on her world of Pern. Through the character of Ari, a Jouster of the conquering army, we learn a great deal of the cultures of this world and dragon lore.We also learn that Ari is an exception to his own culture. A subplot, concerning war in general and the breaking of traditions, is introduced. The relationship between Ari and Vetch, and subsequent plot developments, are nothing new and not unexpected, but Mercedes Lackey makes the journey through the story very entertaining. The ending makes this installment complete enough you may stop here and have a full story, but you are also left caring enough for Vetch that you will probably be wondering what happens to him next.Despite having such a young lead character, I would not classify this as a Young Adult novel. There is a lot more character development and philosophical rumination than normally found YA literature. While there are some oblique references to sex, nothing is actually described. I found this a very refreshing change for adult literature.If you grew up with McCaffery¿s Pern based stories and still enjoy Dragons, this will make a great addition to your library. While adventure readers may find this a little slow paced, bear in mind this a one installment of a series. Personally, I intend to pursue the entire series to whatever end Mercedes Lackey has in mind for Vetch. I also enjoyed the author¿s style enough I want to acquire more of her works.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm generally a fan of Lackey's Valdemar books, but felt she was suffering from tired blood around the time Joust came out, so I didn't pick it up when it was first published. Recently I went on a nostalgic binge of rereading her books, and finding a lot of my old favorites like Magic's Pawn and Oathbreakers still stood up. So then I went back and tried Joust. I was pleasantly surprised--this book (and the three that follow in the series, Atla, Sanctuary and Aerie) are just as good as Lackey's best--they might even be my favorites. Joust, however, comes to a satisfying conclusion and can stand on its own.The story begins in a vein very familiar to Lackey readers, with a seemingly orphaned boy, Vetch, in intolerable circumstances who only in leaving home finds his destiny. What separates Vetch from most Lackey heroes though is his anger and bitterness, and it makes it all the more interesting to see him grow and change in this book. Besides that, instead of the usual pseudo-medieval European setting you get in most fantasy, including Lackey, these books are set in a land reminiscent of Ancient Egypt. And with dragons! Dragons just as winning in their way (but very different) than those of McCaffrey's Pern. I enjoyed how Lackey developed her dragon lore, the magical touches, the societies akin to Egypt and legends of Atlantis and the characters are appealing. This book and series is just as enchanting and full of heart as Lackey's best.
contraversion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure I want to finish this one. The main character Vetch has little interaction with other people, so the first 200 pages or so is the unsubtle interior monologue/observations of a 10-year-old boy. The descriptions of the alternative Egyptian world and dragons are wonderful, but I'm half-way through and I don't feel empathy for Vetch or his people or their future welfare, so I don't have a lot compelling me further.
Kassilem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books I happened on while working and glanced through the summary on the front flap. I decided pretty quickly that it sounded like something I would enjoy and took it home with me. That was a few days ago. I knew it would be an easy read and entertaining which is just what I needed right now, so I started reading it sooner than expected. Lackey's writing has never been phenomenal but it's well enough that I'm not too distracted from the story. And nothing overly terrible ever happens to the main character. Quite the opposite, the character is usually going from bad to better conditions. I kept expecting something horrible to happen. Vetch was going to be caught sooner or later and then Avatre would be taken away, or when he finally escaped he'd be caught. Something was going to happen, I was sure of it. I had to keep reminding myself that 'no, this is Lackey.' It showed me that this was the perfect time to read this book. I needed something that was semi-predictable and entertaining. Joust is that. It's easy to get through and fast-paced. I started it this morning and finished it just now with a day of work somewhere in there. It doesn't necessarily suck you in but I was very curious as to the interaction between Vetch and baby Avatre when she hatched and that kept me going through the last few hours all the way through the end of the book. And I know enough of Egyptian history to see the blatant parallels; it gave the story further color and gave me some mind exercise trying to remember what I saw and felt when I was there in Egypt¿s burning sun. It made the story more relatable, at least for me. Overall this is one of Lackey's better books, although Vanyel still beats Vetch any day. :) I am eagerly looking for the next book in this series.
Lman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Joust, the first book in the Dragon Jousters series, is a classic example of the writing of Mercedes Lackey, and accordingly might be categorised as frivolous or trifling by some. But her books, to me, are always a fast, enjoyable and absorbing read; and while aimed, unapologetically, straight at the heart strings, that is indeed what you get: a warm-hearted, feel-good flavour, such that I always wish to read more.Vetch is a very young Altan serf - a spoil of war for his Tian captors and the property of their king ¿ whose only value is his link to the land usurped from his family, thus allowing his `owner¿ to hold this land. Badly treated, malnourished and abused by this latest master, his world is shifted, literally, when he is purloined by the Jouster, Ari, on the back of his dragon, Kashet, and into new service as their dragon boy. Jousters, comparable to nobility, are the riders of trained dragons and the main force, and means of success, for the Tians in the incessant war waged between Tia and Alta. Hence Vetch is conflicted in his new role in the dragon compound, for although well-treated and with a much improved existence, he can never forget he is a serf with no chance of freedom; and he is availing the very people warring against his own. But he loves the dragon he tends - for Kashet is no ordinary dragon. Instead of being captured as a nearly mature dragonet and drugged into submission, Kashet was hand-reared by Ari from a hatchling, and thus is a sweet-tempered, intelligent and strongly-bonded flying-partner. Which begs the question: can Vetch do the same and ultimately escape to his homeland?As with other Mercedes Lackey books I have read, the premise of Joust is heavily dependent upon several archetypical beliefs: a young, ill-fated main protagonist, strong-minded and strong-willed, who fights against their oppression and injustice, aided immeasurably by magical, intelligent, empathic creatures, and ably assisted by right-minded, moral and honourable adult-characters. Hence a recurring motif of decency, tolerance, perseverance in adversity, and always, the proper care and attitude towards animals, swirls happily through this tale too. And the world the author creates is full of attractive detail and fascinating concepts ¿ this book analogous to ancient Egypt but with Ms Lackey¿s usual innovative constructs.Easy to classify as lightweight, yet this story holds a compelling belief, and an emotionally-uplifting conviction, of a basic faith in humankind. The dragon lore is enthralling, the emotional pull inescapable; and an entertaining read the happy result. While Joust concludes satisfactorily, and holds as a stand-alone book I, for one, am pleased there is more to tell in the adventures of Vetch and the dragons of this tale. Much, much more it seems!
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun, very rich story. I like Vetch - he makes sense as he develops. Odd how Kashet's size seems to differ through the story, though - if he were as big as he's painted later, I would have expected Vetch to notice the size along with the color and claws when he first sees him.
nimoloth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very lightweight fantasy. It borrows heavily from Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels in many ways, and is set in what is blatantly pre-dynastic Egypt, but all the names are very slightly changed - Osiris become Siris, and Isis becomes Iris, and so on. She might as well have not bothered and set it in actual pre-dynastic Egypt and made in an alternate history. I like Egyptian history though, so it mostly pleases me.There are also interesting grammatical and small continuity errors throughout, and typos. Either it's not been proof-read, or they had the worst proof-reader. I'm very surprised to see so many errors in publication.Aside from that, though, the story is very addictive, about a serf who becomes a "dragon-boy" (one who tends a Jouster's dragon) and dreams of one day having his own dragon.Even more pleasing is that I have the second in the series (Alta) and I just discovered yesterday that there are two more after that I knew nothing about! I picked my two up in pristine condition, hardbacks, from a charity shop for next to nothing - I don't think they'd even been read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
ReadingOverTheShoulder More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. I love every aspect of it! The dragons are refreshingly different, the characters interesting and the plot simple yet powerful. I highly recommend this book and the next two of it's sequels. (Ignore book #4.) For the full review check us out at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.
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This is one of my favorite series of books!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book series of all time, plain and simple. I've read my current copies so often that i actually need to order new hardcover ones due to how much i have worn my poor paperbacks out. I am so glad to have picked up this series of books so many years ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read. I've read this series several times and love it each time. Anything by Mercedes Lackey is worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading this first book had to get second. Having read the second I'm off to get the third.
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