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Tucked away in the Smokehill Mountains is the last remaining refuge of draco australiensis, the largest of the dragon species. Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley is an alternate-Earth novel set in contemporary times. The only main difference is the existence of dragons, although they are endangered.
Dragonhaven is a first person narrative by Jake Mendoza, a native of Smokehill. His story begins shortly after the unfortunate death of his mother when a hike through Smokehill changes his life and the lives of those around him forever. Jake saves the life of a newly born dragon whom he names Lois.
It takes until the discovery of Lois for Jake's narrative to become focused enough to be interesting. The first sixty or so pages are way too chatty. Jake is a rambling narrator. I suppose these early pages are a way to do world building but they can easily be skipped. Likewise, Jake's narrative doesn't seem to end either. The novel has as long a coda as it does an opening.
Despite the rambling start and finish, the work in creating this alternate Earth and in working out the biology of all these different species of dragons made for a fascinating read. I just wish the first and last chapters had been more tightly edited.