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To Shape a Dragon's Breath

af Moniquill Blackgoose

Serier: Nampeshiweisit (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2671299,282 (4.15)20
A young Indigenous woman enters a colonizer-run dragon academy--and quickly finds herself at odds with the "approved" way of doing things--in the first book of this brilliant new fantasy series.The remote island of Masquapaug has not seen a dragon in many generations--until fifteen-year-old Anequs finds a dragon's egg and bonds with its hatchling. Her people are delighted, for all remember the tales of the days when dragons lived among them and danced away the storms of autumn, enabling the people to thrive. To them, Anequs is revered as Nampeshiweisit--a person in a unique relationship with a dragon. Unfortunately for Anequs, the Anglish conquerors of her land have different opinions. They have a very specific idea of how a dragon should be raised, and who should be doing the raising--and Anequs does not meet any of their requirements. Only with great reluctance do they allow Anequs to enroll in a proper Anglish dragon school on the mainland. If she cannot succeed there, her dragon will be killed. For a girl with no formal schooling, a non-Anglish upbringing, and a very different understanding of the history of her land, challenges abound--both socially and academically. But Anequs is smart, determined, and resolved to learn what she needs to help her dragon, even if it means teaching herself. The one thing she refuses to do, however, is become the meek Anglish miss that everyone expects. Anequs and her dragon may be coming of age, but they're also coming to power, and that brings an important realization: the world needs changing--and they might just be the ones to do it.… (mere)
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Anequs is fifteen and lives with her family on Masquapaug Island. Because the island is remote and doesn't have resources like coal to attract notice, the Anglish conquerors have left them pretty much alone. But when Anequs finds a dragon egg, and the dragon chooses her - and while being Nampeshiweisit to a dragon is revered by her people, no one has seen one in 200 years - she determines that the best way to learn what she needs to help her people is to go to the Anglish school to learn dragoneering and how to shape the breath of a dragon.

This steampunk-y fantasy by enrolled Seaconke Wampanoag member Moniquill Blackgoose should have wide appeal. Anequs is a great character, I loved her narration and no-nonsense approach to life even as she struggles to understand the often nonsensical rules of Anglish life and "civility". There is depth in the history of the world, which is not quite like our own but has certain parallels. You can tell the author knows the tropes of fantasy and also what she wants to do with them - going to a school is common but subversively going to the conquerors' school, not so much. I also loved the clear importance of story in multiple cultures and how it's used to create both what we would call mythology and history in Anequs's world. There's also a satisfying, cliff-hanger free ending, but you can bet I'll be looking up the next book as soon as it comes out. ( )
  bell7 | Feb 2, 2024 |
This is an engaging, highly original steampunk-tinged young adult book. After fifteen-year-old Anequs finds and is bonded with a dragon hatchling, the first dragon her people have encountered in some two hundred years, she is forced to attend a school run by white colonialist rulers that trains up other young people bonded with dragons. In this alt history setting, the rulers are both English and Nordic, and Christianity is not the dominant religion. Language is quiet different as well, but there are often hints to help readers identity place names parallel to our world or to give context to vastly different traditions; sometimes, though, I felt a bit adrift, even as I admired the incredible research that must have gone into the world-building.

This book doesn't follow the usual plot progression of the boarding school trope. The focus isn't on the usual bullies and classroom anxieties. I welcome this fresh take. Without delving into spoilers, this book addresses vast political consequences. Anequs is a stone vast into an ocean, causing incredible ripples. ( )
  ladycato | Jan 28, 2024 |
A decently-written but derivative stew of ideas: an alternative Earth in the late 1800s, with dragons, noble native Americans living in a utopian society under siege from the invaders, a Masterpiece Theater view of English upper class society, LGBTQ+ relationships, steampunk gadgets, and a boarding school for magicians, I mean dragoneers. I'm sure there's a large notebook full of hidden history to explain why English manners are basically the same, but France and Spain all seem to have been replaced wholesale by Norwegians. Only the east coast of the United States is settled by European surrogates -- the north by the English, the south by the Norwegians, with some small areas still inhabited primarily by the indigenous population. The rest of the US is yet to be invaded -- and I'm sure that the west, along with the cause of the great die-off that led to the loss of native knowledge of dragon handling, will figure in later volumes. This is a slow book, mostly discussions between the characters on the obvious differences in cultures, with just enough plot to keep things moving, nothing major until the final chapters.

Derivative and over-stuffed but I was OK with it. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jan 27, 2024 |
"To Shape a Dragons Breath" is basically a mix of Harry Potter and the history of indigenous Americans and the colonists. But an alternate reality where Norse were doing the colonizing vs the British. The story fills the voids the the HP series leaves as well as the currently popular Fourth Wing story. This may be my favorite young adult fantasy. Highly recommend. ( )
  HauntedTaco13 | Dec 29, 2023 |
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A young Indigenous woman enters a colonizer-run dragon academy--and quickly finds herself at odds with the "approved" way of doing things--in the first book of this brilliant new fantasy series.The remote island of Masquapaug has not seen a dragon in many generations--until fifteen-year-old Anequs finds a dragon's egg and bonds with its hatchling. Her people are delighted, for all remember the tales of the days when dragons lived among them and danced away the storms of autumn, enabling the people to thrive. To them, Anequs is revered as Nampeshiweisit--a person in a unique relationship with a dragon. Unfortunately for Anequs, the Anglish conquerors of her land have different opinions. They have a very specific idea of how a dragon should be raised, and who should be doing the raising--and Anequs does not meet any of their requirements. Only with great reluctance do they allow Anequs to enroll in a proper Anglish dragon school on the mainland. If she cannot succeed there, her dragon will be killed. For a girl with no formal schooling, a non-Anglish upbringing, and a very different understanding of the history of her land, challenges abound--both socially and academically. But Anequs is smart, determined, and resolved to learn what she needs to help her dragon, even if it means teaching herself. The one thing she refuses to do, however, is become the meek Anglish miss that everyone expects. Anequs and her dragon may be coming of age, but they're also coming to power, and that brings an important realization: the world needs changing--and they might just be the ones to do it.

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