Vetch is an Altan serf labouring under a cruel and unjust master. Suddenly, Vetch finds himself swept up onto dragon-back and into the Tian dragon complex. Vetch is willing to work hard, but he is always consumed with anger against those who have killed his father and destroyed his rightful home.
Vetch is a fantastic character. Small and frightened, yet with a core of resiliency, he’s determined to make the most of any situation he finds himself in. He may just be a small boy when Ari brings him back, but in the course of the book he matures into a sensible young man who suddenly knows what he wanted.
This is a masterful book by Lackey. It’s not rushed like a number of her newer books, and it’s very enjoyable. Ok, so the plot progression in this is very slow. It’s more like a series of small plot highlights leading up to the eventual conclusion, rather than just a focus on a thrilling conclusion – although it has that too! Foreshadowing is used to great effect, so pay attention to every word you read.
I did have a problem with Vetch’s anger issues, which appeared to be very understated. I expected him to do more with them, and he just didn’t! It seems like he settles into captivity too well. Being downtrodden for long periods of time would do that to a person, but still, he is being fed well and cared for, and really, he should have more spice!
The print quality is ok, there are a couple of typos and spare punctuation marks throughout the text. I’m not entirely sure how the front cover of the book fits in, because Vetch certainly isn’t jousting or ever has a fancy hat like that. The dragon is almost certainly Avatre though.
I love rereading this book. I love it so much I have almost put a crease in its spine. This book is wonderful! If you liked Eragon, then you’re going to love Joust. I can’t say what exactly attracts me to it, perhaps the triumph of a low born character with added loving dragons does it for me.
Adults and teenagers will like this book if you like dragons and the underdog. I would almost recommend it for children, except the ending might be a little frightening and there certainly is an element of violence. I have also reviewed the second novel, Alta.