The best books that showcase different kinds of dragons

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I once kept an oval-shaped rock in a rag-padded shoebox under my bed and pretended it was a dragon egg for long enough to make my mother wonder whether I understood the difference between real and pretend. I did, of course. I just felt that reality could do with a good, stiff, shot of pretend to keep it from taking itself too seriously. Still, I put the rock back outside, so she wouldn’t worry.


I wrote...

Dragon Ascending

By Amy Beatty,

Book cover of Dragon Ascending

What is my book about?

Edrik has loved Princess Lissara for as long as he can remember, but his inability to take his dragon form makes it impossible for her to love him back. Now he has a chance to prove himself and win her heart by fulfilling the quest she’s set her suitors—find her missing father, the dragon king, and bring him home before his age-old enemy weds the queen and usurps the throne.

With time running out, Edrik’s search brings him to Shrike’s Keep in the human lands, with its inescapable iron-plagued dungeon. When he discovers the king there, his identity kept hidden from his captors, Edrik must rely on Mudge, the grubby young dungeon keeper, to aid in their escape without revealing their secret. But Mudge has a secret too. One that could change Edrik’s destiny forever.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Hobbit

Amy Beatty Why did I love this book?

I was first introduced to The Hobbit by my third-grade teacher, Mr. York, who read it aloud to my class. Being small for my age, and a bit of a shy homebody, I related to this inconsequential hobbit who missed his second breakfast and longed for a good pocket handkerchief as he became swept up in the terrifying events of the world outside the safety of his cozy hobbit hole. This book taught me that heroes come in many forms. That I, too, could brave the dragon’s den. That invisibility might actually be a magic power. It taught me that fairytales were for grown-ups, too, no matter what the grown-ups said. And it forever seared the great dragon, Smaug, into my mind as the quintessential dragon—huge, ferocious, clever, and insightful, a primordial force of nature worthy of respect, even from those who strove to defeat him.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

45 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…


Book cover of The Hero and the Crown

Amy Beatty Why did I love this book?

I read The Hero and the Crown as a socially awkward adolescent who, like Aerin, the protagonist, struggled to fit in. I loved how Aerin turned her back on social expectations and used her ingenuity to carve a place for herself, taking on a role no one else wanted—dragonslayer. The great dragons had long ago been hunted to extinction, leaving behind only their smaller cousins, mere vermin, that occasionally troubled the peasants, but were hardly worth the notice of the noble warriors. These were small battles, but they needed fighting. And through fighting the small battles, Aerin found herself prepared to be the hero her people needed when the great dragon Maur awoke. That, too, was a lesson, and a dragon, I carried with me into later life.

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hero and the Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Medal Winner

Although she is the daughter of Damar's king, Aerin has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of the royal court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman, who was said to have enspelled the king into marrying her to get an heir to rule Damar-then died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son. But none of them, not even Aerin herself, can predict her future-for she is to be the true hero who will wield the power of the Blue Sword...

“[The Hero…


Book cover of Dragonflight

Amy Beatty Why did I love this book?

When I began devouring Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, I was a teenager heading into young adulthood. My world was trying to convince me to grow up and leave behind the realms of elves and dwarves and fairytales and emerge into the enlightened lands of science and rationality. I was delighted to find dragons waiting for me there, too. McCaffrey’s dragons are genetically modified indigenous creatures of an alien planet, shaped by humans to be larger and more intelligent so they can carry riders and protect the human settlers from the dangerous Threads, an alien lifeform that periodically rains down from a rogue planet passing too close in its erratic orbit.

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Dragonflight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Volume I of The Dragonriders of Pern®, the groundbreaking series by master storyteller Anne McCaffrey

On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack from a myth that is all too real. Lessa is an outcast survivor—her parents murdered, her birthright stolen—a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat to Pern reemerges, Lessa will rise—upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly . . . and…


Book cover of His Majesty's Dragon

Amy Beatty Why did I love this book?

I first met the dragon Temeraire in audiobook form. I was a busy stay-at-home mother wrangling two non-neurotypical children with conflicting needs. It was not the world I had prepared for, and I had my hands too full to do much reading—but I could still listen. Temeraire was living in his own alternate-history world. While still in his egg, he had been sent as a gift from China to Emperor Napoleon, but his ship was captured en route. When he hatched, he found himself bonded to an Englishman and placed in service in the British Aerial Corps during the Napoleonic Wars. His new captain, having transferred from the Navy, didn’t know what he was doing in his dragon-rearing any more than I did in my child-rearing. But we both managed to get our crews organized and into the fray.

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked His Majesty's Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Naomi Novik's stunning series of novels follow the adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars.

As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies - a deadly shield for the cumbersome canon-firing vessels. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw... for these aviators ride…


Book cover of Dragon Keeper

Amy Beatty Why did I love this book?

The dragons of the Rain Wild Chronicles are a transformational lot, hatching from their eggs as sea serpents and living in the oceans until they are big enough to swim upriver, where they form cocoons and later emerge in their great, flying reptilian forms. But these dragons went extinct in a massive volcanic upheaval—until one cocoon, long-buried in the rubble of an ancient Elderling city, is at last exposed to sunlight. And as fate would have it, I met these dragons during a transitional time in my own life. My children were growing up, and I had more time for books. But now, I was joined by my husband, who read to me while I cooked supper. Assigned high-school reading had convinced him he didn’t like books, but I lured him in with ‘real’ books about ‘real’ things. Like dragons. Mwaha. And when I started writing them myself, he supported me wholeheartedly.

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dragon Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Return to the world of the Liveships Traders and journey along the Rain Wild River in this standalone adventure from the author of the internationally acclaimed Farseer trilogy.

Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey to the cocooning grounds in generations. Many have died along the way. With its acid waters and impenetrable forest, it is a hard place for any to survive.

People are changed by the Rain Wilds, subtly or otherwise. One such is…


You might also like...

The Forest Knights

By J. K. Swift,

Book cover of The Forest Knights

J. K. Swift Author Of Acre

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good fight scene! It doesn’t need to be long and gruesome, but it must be visceral and make me nervous for those involved. Don’t get me wrong, I also love a good first-kiss scene but unfortunately, my past has made me more adept at recognizing and writing one over the other. I started training in martial arts at the age of nine and continued for thirty years. I don’t train much these days but I took up bowmaking a few years back and now spend a lot of time carving English longbows and First Nations’ bows. I recently also took up Chinese archery.

J. K.'s book list on with realistic fight scenes

What is my book about?

The greatest underdog story of the medieval age.

A wild land too mountainous to be tamed by plows. A duke of the empire, his cunning overshadowed only by his ambitions. A young priestess of the Old Religion, together with a charismatic outlaw, sparking a rebellion from deep within the forests. And an ex-Hospitaller caught between them all.

The Forest Knights

By J. K. Swift,

What is this book about?

A druid priestess enlists the help of an ex-Hospitaller warrior and a charismatic outlaw to fight Austrian tyranny in medieval Switzerland. A subtle blend of fantasy and history, ALTDORF (Book 1) tells the events leading up to one of the greatest underdog stories of the medieval age, the Battle of MORGARTEN (Book 2).


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dragons, Chinese dragons, and Middle Earth?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dragons, Chinese dragons, and Middle Earth.

Dragons Explore 184 books about dragons
Chinese Dragons Explore 14 books about Chinese dragons
Middle Earth Explore 17 books about Middle Earth