I decided to read the first book of the Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen instead of The Golden Compass. I simply don't have any desire to read that book, not because of it's so-called "anti-spiritual" tendencies, I'm actually an atheist myself, but simply because it's not something I'm interested in.

I actually remember reading these books once when I was in elementary school, I liked them because they had dragons in them (I still do....) So just a little background information because not everyone has read them, the books take place on a desert planet called Austar IV. There's a caste system on the planet made up of "bonders" who are servents/slaves, and the "owners." Humans have tamed dragons on this planet and train them to fight in "The Pit." I found it a bit odd, but there are a lot of human characters' name has a double "k" in it, for example, the main character's name is Jakkin. I believe that is because anyone who is a slave, or was one, has it. Anyway, he ends up stealing an egg from the hatchery and raises the his dragon on his own so that he can have her battle in the Pits so he can gain his freedom.

I'm not entirely sure how to fit this novel into a spiritual context, other than Jakkin "finds" himself during the course of the story. He is a strong character to begin with and ends up learning how pride is different than determination, which is a mistake that almost makes him lose his dragon, Heart's Blood.

I still like the book after all these years, although it is a bit of a lower-level read for me now. There are a couple parts of the book that I never really picked up on when I was little; for example, there are whore houses. There's a line in the book where Yolen describes how the men go there to "fill the women like bags." Of course, when I was reading it at 10-years-old I never got the reference and didn't think much of it. I read some reviews on the series and realized these books have been banned in some places because of this, and I think that's kind of ridiculous. I think some people are WAY too picky about monitoring what their children are reading.

Speaking of that, I had quite an experience with the Harry Potter novels and my crazy religious ex-aunt (yes she's an "ex" now since my uncle divorced her, thank god...) Well, I've always been a bit of a Harry Potter fanatic since my dad brought home the first book for me when I was little, which was the English edition called the "Philosopher's Stone" instead of the Sorcerer's Stone. My dad, for as long as I can remember, has always been bringing home books for me to read. I stood in line at Barnes & Noble for over three hours during every book release, whittled my own magic wands out of tree branches, and constantly make HP references. My girlfriends are also pretty much obsessed, and we would all get the books and then get together and quiz each other based on how far we were.

When the third book came out, which is still my favorite book AND movie of the series, my dad bought me a signed copy by J.K. Rowling. After I got it we went up to our cabin to spend the weekend with family. My crazy aunt Billy was there and saw me reading it when my parents were out and THREW THE BOOK IN THE FIREPLACE! To this day I can't even think about it without getting upset. She said I "shouldn't read that trash," and then she handed me her freaking Bible. My parents never forced religion on me and always gave me a choice to whether or not I wanted to attend church, even when I was just six-years-old. That weekend she also wouldn't let me watch The Road to El Dorado because the people in the movie believed in another God.