A few weeks ago, I was coming down with a cold and wanted something really undemanding to read. I’d vaguely heard that Mercedes Lackey’s dragon books (Joust, Alta, and Sanctuary) didn’t suck, so grabbed them from the library. I’ve decided that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Lackey’s books is that they completely, absolutely lack all subtlety: everything a character feels, learns, or thinks is spelled out in explicit detail. This is not generally a characteristic that I like, but it definitely fits the “undemanding” bill.
These also have good training neep, which means that I respect them slightly more. Lackey’s dragons don’t teleport or have language, but are instead intelligent animals that can be trained in the way horses, hawks, and so forth can be. Joust tells the story of Vetch, a serf boy, who comes to live at the Jousters’ compound in the country of Tia. There, he helps care for the one tame dragon in the compound (the others are trapped after birth and drugged into submission), and secretly raises his own tame dragon from the egg. At the end, he escapes back to his home country of Alta with his dragon. Alta and Sanctuary tell what Vetch (now known as Kiron) found in Alta, how he put together a wing of riders with tame dragons, and what part they play in the war between Tia and Alta.
There were too many characters in Kiron’s wing for me to keep track of, and like I said, these are not in the least subtle, but in my getting-sick state I thought they didn’t suck, enough to buy the first two in paperback. There is to be a fourth volume, which I will get out of the library when it’s released.