Book Review: To Shape a Dragon’s Breath, written by Moniquill Blackgoose

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath, written by Moniquill Blackgoose, was given to me by NetGalley for an honest review. This is the first book in the Nampeshiweisit series, and was first published in May 2023.

A Kobo e-reader being held in a hand over a wooden balcony floor. A hint of a black dress with small green flowers. On the e-reader is the cover of the book To Shape a Dragon's Breath.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

Anequs lives on the island Masquapaug, a remote island where the Anglish conquerors of her land seldom visits. One day she finds a dragon egg. The egg hatches, and the baby dragon bonds with Anequs, and she becomes a Nampeshiweisits (someone who has a special relationship with a dragon). Her people are delighted, as it has been a very long time since the had any dragons or Nampeshiweisits.

Unfortunately, the Anglish has a very different idea of how dragons should be kept and how dragoneers should be schooled, and Anequs is sent to the mainland to attend a school to learn how to shape a dragon’s breath and become a dragoneers.

It is not easy for Anequs to attend an Anglish school. She knows that if she doesn’t manage to meet the Anglish’s requirements, her dragon will be killed. She is determined to learn what she needs to be able to keep her dragon alive.

I absolutely loved this book. Anequs is a strong character, and I fell in love with her. The language was absolutely beautiful, and I adored how lyrical and poetic it was.

I think the book’s themes are important, like basic human rights. In the Anglish world we see things that can easily be taken for granted in a modern Nordic country, like the right to be LGBTQIAP+. Just to mention one thing. Also, it touches on how we as white Europeans have treated indigenous people. Not just in North America, but also here in Europe.

For me it was a bonus that I am familiar with Nordic myths and lore, as I recognised it in the book. That being said, it is absolutely not a requirement to know them.

It should be noted that To Shape a Dragon’s Breath comes with a few trigger warnings. If you need them, make sure to check them out.

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