Review copy provided by the publisher.
Sometimes you start reading a book and realize that it is the thing you most want to be doing at that moment. There’s just that sense of “oh yes, this, this is what I wanted.” And To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is absolutely one of those books for me.
Have you read some of the magical academy books published for adults in the last sixty years? Brilliant, so has Moniquill Blackgoose, and she knows where all the beats in them go. However, Blackgoose is an enrolled member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe, and she brings every bit of that perspective to this book. And it is delightful. There are so many places that Anequs, the heroine, has very little patience for colonizer bullshit. In our world where the “correct a character flaw” arc plot is some people’s idea of How You Tell A Story, Blackgoose has the vision and the courage of her convictions to give Anequs the courage of hers. She’s a teenage heroine who knows where she comes from and where she wants to go, and she doesn’t have to have that shaken to have a compelling narrative.
And compelling it is. I had so much trouble putting this book down to do silly things like eat and sleep. The narrative is flowing and assured, and the characters are compelling enough that a glance at the first line of the chapter was often enough to draw me in for “just one more.” Anequs makes friends, loves her family, has a great relationship with her dragon, messes with magical chemistry, fights stupid rules, does all sorts of things. It’s so much fun, it’s so fierce, I’m so very glad there is this book.