Top 5 YA Fantasy Books With Dragons You Can’t Put Down

Awe-inspiring and deadly, dragons make their mark whenever they show up in fantasy novels. Are you searching for YA fantasy books featuring these winged creatures? If so, I’ve got you covered!

Here’s the top 5 YA fantasy books with dragons to read:

Here’s a comparison chart if you’d like a quick glance. And if you want even more dragon-filled fantasy novels, this list of dragon fantasy books and this second list are here to help you out.

Slayers by C.J. Hill


Sixteen-year-old Tori Hampton may be a socialite and a senator’s daughter, but she’s certainly more than just a pretty face. She’s smart and tough and surprisingly good at outdoor sports.

For as long as she can remember, Tori always had a secret obsession with dragons. And now that she’s attending Dragon Camp for the summer, she can’t wait to indulge her inner fascination.

But unbeknownst to Tori, this is no ordinary camp. This is a camp for Slayers — a handful of teens descended from the original knights. And with new dragon eggs about to hatch, the time for the Slayers to save the world is now.

Danger awaits, romance beckons, and their very survival is at stake.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of YA fantasy books with dragons is Slayers. This novel intrigued readers with its vibrant blend of knights, dragon-slaying and a ‘fish out of water’ modern protagonist.

Speaking of the protagonist, Tori often surprised readers by how likable she was. While the novel convincingly portrays her as the spoiled, privileged daughter of a senator it promises, Tori had more to her than just that. She was also tough, quick-thinking and able to grow out of her flaws.

Readers remarked that she came across as a well-fleshed out character who, despite being an especially gifted lead character, had weaknesses as well.

Others mentioned that while they liked Tori, the entire cast delighted them. These readers thought each one had something different and interesting to add to the story overall and played off of each other nicely.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Slayers, what did they say? Mostly, these readers thought that the book stayed too close to YA conventions even with its refreshing twists.

For instance, these readers mentioned that the gap between Tori’s power levels and the rest of the cast’s seemed excessive. Because of this, she came across to them as a standard over-powered YA protagonist.

Others pointed to the love triangle as what took away from the reading experience. Part of this was because love triangles have become a staple in YA, but another was that they thought the romance lacked authentic chemistry.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered — in suspiciously draconian fashion.

Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs.

While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Seraphina is next on our list of YA fantasy books with dragons. Filled with these scaled creatures, this novel captured readers with its multi-dimensional and relatable protagonist as well as its deep world-building.

Seraphina, they said, is a protagonist who acts life-like: she laughs and cries, but also acts foolish, struggles to summon courage and can stay steadfastly loyal. Because of this, readers frequently commented on how much they enjoyed reading about her.

Aside from that, fans often described this YA fantasy book as intelligent and thoughtful. This wasn’t just because of the characters’ realistic personalities, but also because the concept of dragons taking on human shape allowed the story to explore themes other books might not have.

For instance, two key themes revolved around what made someone ‘human’ or ‘not human’ (dragon, in this case) as well as the process of accepting others and one’s self.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t think this book was for them, though, what did they say? Generally, they had two comments. The first was that even though the characters were well-fleshed out and relatable, they weren’t characters that reads connect with emotionally. They were realistic, but not engaging.

These readers said that they felt indifferent as they read instead of eager to see either what the characters would do or what would happen to them.

The second part of the book that critics cited as a negative was the romance. These readers said that while they appreciated that it wasn’t a love-at-first-sight tale, it still seemed like Seraphina fell in love too suddenly.

Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde


Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn’t matter–the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon.

It’s late, it’s cold, and it’s raining, and Alys can think of only one thing–revenge. But first she’s got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone?

Then the dragon arrives – a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally. . . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What’s next on our list of YA fantasy books with dragons? It’s a book readers described as having fun and refreshing twists: Dragon’s Bait.

Taking the ‘innocent maiden sacrificed to a dragon’ trope, Dragon’s Bait has maiden and dragon as co-collaborators against the corrupt townspeople who sentenced her.

Readers were delighted by the unexpected reversals: supposed enemies become allies, prey becomes predator and predator becomes prey. They also reported that they connected to Alys, the protagonist, and felt her pain, anger and eventual healing throughout the novel.

Others mentioned that the liked the deeper thematic elements to the novel, which centered around revenge and forgiveness. Readers said that this had enough of a presence to stir their imaginations while not being so in-your-face that it jarred them out of the story.

Negative Comments:

If readers didn’t enjoy Dragon’s Bait, what did they say? Generally, they said that Alys and Selendrile, the main characters, weren’t that developed.

They remarked that, likely due to the book’s shorter length, Alys’ changing feelings happen too quickly. Others said that Selendrile comes comes across less as a mysterious, intriguing character and more as a vaguely characterized one.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini


One boy…
One dragon…
A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter.

But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power.

With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Eragona fantasy novel famous in its first release for taking beloved fantasy elements and turning them into a swashbuckling, dragon-filled adventure.

Readers appreciated that much of what they loved seeing in fantasy books featured in this epic: supernatural abilities, sword-fighting, dragon riders, prophecies, elves, hidden realms and of course, the hero pitted against a seemingly invincible empire.

Readers said that Eragon swept them away into the world of Alagaësia and its many interesting characters. They often commented that fans of The Lord of the Rings would find elements to this story that they’d enjoy.

Negative Comments

Unfortunately, the same reason that fans loved this fantasy book was the same reason that critics didn’t: the familiar tropes.

Its similarities to The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars frustrated critics. Whereas ‘The Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars with dragons’ delighted fans, these readers thought that Eragon was too predictable for their taste.

Because of this, several commented that the book might be better suited for first-time fantasy readers.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan


A hidden truth. 

Mortal enemies. 

Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life.

Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life.

Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away; if it dies she will be left as a human forever.

She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide, from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books with dragons is Firelight. Written by Sophie Jordan, who also writes romance books, this novel combines her specialty in romance with an intriguing dragon mythology. As such, readers noted that this book is primarily a romance – something they loved!

These readers said that the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love story between a dragon and dragon hunter immediately caught their interest. Jacinda and Will had every reason to despise and stay far away from each other. And yet, they found themselves drawn to each other regardless. Fans found themselves on their edge of their seats, feeling both Jacinda’s turmoil and her excitement over newfound love.

They also reported that Firelight flowed well, the pages flitting by thanks to a quick pace and dramatic story line.

Negative Comments

Fans found much to enjoy about Firelight and ultimately, the most common rating readers gave this novel was 5 stars. But what did critics say?

It seems like this is a YA fantasy novel that stirs up strong feelings in readers, whether positive or negative. Critics were as frustrated with Jacinda and the romance as the fans were delighted.

These readers’ criticisms had a common thread: Jacinda came across to them as self-pitying and selfish. Some of them said that her selfishness reached the point where she seemed outright foolish instead.

Critics often found themselves incredulous, especially since they couldn’t see a compelling reason why Will and Jacinda were in love. Eventually, they lost respect for her.

However, others said that Firelight disappointed them because it stayed so close to standard the YA fantasy format in general. These readers loved the promise of a story filled with dragon shape-shifters, unique draki mythology and a love story that succeeds despite impossible odds. However, they described these twists as tacked-on rather than a fundamental aspect of the novel.

The bulk of it instead consisted of common YA tropes and a story line closely following Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.

Top 5 YA Fantasy Books With Dragons You Can’t Put Down

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?

Top 5 YA Fantasy Books With Dragons You Can’t Put Down


N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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