The best books that showcase different kinds of dragons

Who am I?

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.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why 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.

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

25 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…


The Hero and the Crown

By Robin McKinley,

Book cover of The Hero and the Crown

Why 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.

The Hero and the Crown

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.


Dragonflight

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of Dragonflight

Why 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.

Dragonflight

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

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


His Majesty's Dragon

By Naomi Novik,

Book cover of His Majesty's Dragon

Why 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.

His Majesty's Dragon

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

7 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…


Dragon Keeper

By Robin Hobb,

Book cover of Dragon Keeper

Why 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.

Dragon Keeper

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dragons, Middle Earth, and magic-supernatural?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dragons, Middle Earth, and magic-supernatural.

Dragons Explore 118 books about dragons
Middle Earth Explore 8 books about Middle Earth
Magic-Supernatural Explore 392 books about magic-supernatural

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Big Magic, The Lord of the Rings, and The Clan of the Cave Bear if you like this list.