How to Break a Dragon’s Heart: How to Train Your Dragon #8 by Cressida Cowell

Soon coming to the end of the series, this has been such fun, I’ll be sad to reach the end.  Only 3 installments left – this series is perfect for kids and adults alike, best suited to middle grade readers with the heroic Hiccup and his troublesome dragon Toothless. Please read on for my review of

How to Break a Dragon’s Heart

The story of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, continues on, with this story carrying more plot and background information for Hiccup than in any of the earlier stories. Yes, there is an adventure and a chance for Hiccup to use his brain and a bit of luck to save his friends, but this story has a mixed result, foreshadowing the future in ways that earlier books didn’t.

Hiccup is presented with the story of the prophecy, and how he came to get his name. Sadly, the stories of the two previous Hiccups are tragic, with heartbreak and hurt feelings that rock Hiccup’s world.  Similar to the earlier Hiccups: small, optimistic, intelligent and resourceful, Hiccup the third realizes that the prophecy is almost true. His mother is Valhallarama, and to him, this makes all the difference.

He again must use his considerable brain to puzzle out a solution: fortunately Toothless is a bit like a magpie, and gathers all things shiny: a key to everything allows Hiccup to escape the tree-prison he is held in, to find Camicazi and rescue Fishlegs from the upcoming ceremony where he will be sacrificed to the beast.  While Hiccup has many skills, perhaps the most prodigious is his memory, a near encyclopedic recall for events and facts: this allows him to recognize the best as Furious, the Maximus dragon that once was tied as a brother to Hiccup the second.

Not entirely triumphant, while Hiccup does manage to save his friends and the day, mostly, there are dire warnings from the very resentful Furious, dire warnings that Hiccup prefers to believe he can overcome. All of the returning characters, Hiccup’s misjudgment of the power of a promise, the questions about his prophecy and the addition of adventures and last minute rescues into the story, moving the story into a slightly darker realm, perhaps signaling the end of our young hero’s childhood.

Narration again is provided by David Tennant with his facility for voices of both returning and new characters, the performance is a treat.  Tennant presents a sense of enjoyment and delight in the story, managing to add gravitas to the darker moments, but never losing the playfulness and personalities of the characters that he voices so well.  The epilogue in this story gives moments for pause, as the now older Hiccup is recalling the events of his youth, with the added perspective of knowing what has happened, and unlike the epilogues of the earlier books: there really isn’t a lesson here.  It feels like a hint and a touch of a warning, letting readers know that everything is changing and will be different soon: fitting as readers and our young heroes are growing up.  Another wonderful installment, these are stories sure to become favorites for many.

 Stars  Overall  5 Narration 5  Story 5

How to Break a Dragon’s Heart: How to Train Your Dragon #8 by Cressida Cowell

Title: How to Break a Dragon's Heart
Series: How to Train Your Dragon #8
Also in this series: How to Train Your Dragon, How to Be a Pirate, How to Speak Dragonese, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, How to Twist a Dragon's Tail, A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons
ISBN: 9781478955986
Pages: 320
Audio Length: 4 Hours: 38 minutes
Rated: five-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour IndieBound GoogleAudible
See this Title on Goodreads

Can Hiccup complete the Impossible Task, battle Berserks, save Fishlegs from being fed to the Beast and discover the secret of the Lost Throne?

A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since.

She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton.

Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring. Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit.

How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others.

Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.


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