From treasure hoarders to city destroyers to companions, dragons have established themselves as the premier magical beings of literature. There are legends from almost every continent, such as Sigurd slaying Fafnir in Germanic poems and Tianlong protecting heavenly palaces in Chinese mythology. The most popular legends recount how dragons were evil beings who hoarded a kingdom’s worth of gold, a trope that made its way into The Hobbit, which featured Smaug claiming all the gold in the Lonely Mountain.
No one is sure why dragons appear in almost every culture, but one theory is that the ancients discovered the bones of dinosaurs and imagination took over. Yet another assumption is that the innate fear many humans have toward snakes manifested into our favorite fire-breathers. Either way, the stories have taken a life of their own.
With all of the rich source text and generations worth of stories, it is no surprise that the fiery drakes have made their way into the pages of fantasy novels, including YA fantasy novels that have inspired generations of young adults. Here are six YA series about dragons.
The Dragon King Chronicles by Ellen Oh
Number of Books Published: 3
Start With: Prophecy
In the Seven Kingdoms, the most powerful warrior is a girl with unsetting yellow eyes. As the only female in the army, Kira is an outcast who is despised by almost everyone in her home of Hansong, despite being a talented demon slayer.
Fortunately, her skills earn her the post as the bodyguard of the prince. Unfortunately, peace is fickle in the Seven Kingdoms, and Kira and the prince are thrown into an adventure when a series of violent events point toward a demon invasion. The duo set out to find a long-lost treasure spoken about in myths to ensure the prince, who is the savior recounted in the Dragon King Prophecy, can become a king.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Number of Books Published: 2
Start With: Seraphina
Seraphina is a talented court musician in the kingdom of Goredd, where dragons and humans live peacefully…at least on the surface. As a freshman member of the royal court, Seraphina has a deep secret she must protect at all costs.
However, when the body of Crown Prince Rufus is found, everyone suspects the dragons. Seraphina is sucked into the investigation and must aid the highly intuitive Prince Lucien, and the two discover a plot that threatens the fragile peace of Goredd.
The Talon Saga by Julie Kagawa
Number of Books Published: 5
Start With: Talon
The Dragons of Talon and the Order of St. George are sworn foes who are locked in a mortal combat, unbeknownst to humans. With the Dragons poised to take over the world, the dragon slayers of the Order of St. George will stop at nothing to destroy them.
Ember Hill, a young dragon, wants to rise up to her place in the Talon organization. But first, she must prove she can blend in with humans, so the organization sets her up to have a summer of “normal” teenaged life experiences. However, Ember meets a rogue dragon who challenges all her beliefs. While Ember is contending with her new outlook, St. George sends Garret Xavier Sebastian to track her down. But when he finds Ember, he discovers a humane, intelligent girl, making him also question his beliefs.
Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
Number of Books Published: 4
Start With: Dealing with Dragons
Princess Cimorene lives in the pleasant and exceedingly ordinary kingdom of Linderwall and has everything a young girl could possibly want. But there are two problems: she’s bored out her mind and refuses to be proper. Cimorene doesn’t fit in with her beautiful sisters and insists on learning inappropriate things, such as magic and fencing. But her parents abruptly stop the lessons, and she is sent off to visit the golden-haired, blue-eyed prince she has to marry. Any other girl would have been delighted to be betrothed to the handsome prince, but he’s boring.
With no other option, Cimorene takes the advice of a frog and seeks out Kazul, a powerful dragon. Kazul agrees to have her as his princess-in-residence, and Cimorene’s education enables her to catalogue his treasures. Despite her newly found happiness, Cimorene has to deal with a constant stream of irritating Knights and Princes who insist on saving her without actually asking what she wants.
Iskari by Kristen Ciccarelli
Number of Books Published: 3
Start With: The Last Namsara
The Namsara is the child of sky and spirit who brought light everywhere. But light always casts darkness, so there was the Iskari, the child of blood and moonlight who brought death.
Asha is the daughter of the king of Firgaard and grew up on a steady stream of the ancient tales. Being the next Iskari, Asha skillfully destroys every dragon she hunts, but despite her power she is still enslaved by her betrothal to an evil commandant.
Fortunately, she has a chance at freedom in exchange for the life of a powerful dragon, a task that forces her to contend with the truth of the ancient stories and the very fabric of her Iskari nature.
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Number of Books Published: 4
Start With: Eragon
It’s impossible to mention dragons in YA without giving a nod to Eragon. The story begins with the titular character Eragon, a poor farm boy who discovers a polished blue stone in the forest near his home. But the stone cracks, bringing a dragon hatchling into the world. The two have an immediate connection, making Eragon a Dragon Rider and changing his life forever.
But in the Empire, a Dragon and Dragon Rider are targets, and when tragedy strike, Eragon and the dragon ally with the village storyteller to navigate the perilous Empire.