To Shape a Dragon’s Breath

Del Rey: Ballantine. (Nampeshiweisit, Bk. 1). May 2023. 528p. ISBN 9780593498286. pap. $18. SF
DEBUT The great dying had decimated the Indigenous population, and the island of Masquapaug, while considered part of New Anglesland, still kept much of its traditional life. Lost in the years were the dragons, the Nampeshiwe, but when young teen Anequs finds a dragon egg and the hatchling bonds with her, she is celebrated as Nampeshiweisit, one of her people linked to a dragon. Dragons used to live among the people and help dance away the autumn storms and bring bounty to the island. The Anglish that have conquered their lands have their own rigid ideas of raising dragons, along with their bonded. If Anequs doesn’t attend an Anglish dragon school, her dragon Kasaqua will be killed, so she agrees to go. In a strange land and school, surrounded by those who believe they are better than her, Anequs must not only prove that she and Kasaqua can learn what they need to control their power but also show they can do it as themselves.
VERDICT Blackgoose blends Indigenous history with fantastical beasts, taking themes of inequality and social agency in new directions. An excellent crossover novel for adults and young adults alike.
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