Title: How to Break a Dragon’s Heart

Author: Cressida Cowell


ISBN: 9780316176187
Pages: 320
Description: Prophecies. Selfish dragons. Human sacrifice. Tree dungeons. Wooden noses. Dragons with half-broken hearts. Aspiring poets. Witches. Ghosts. Youthful optimism. Lobster pots.

After reading this book over the course of a few hours (a simple task, it being a children’s book), these are some of the memories that stand out. How to Break a Dragon’s Heart was a satisfying addition to the series, and fabulously redirects the entire trajectory of the plot.

It was the epilogue, however, that shattered me somehow. I was not expecting this type of book to make me cry. It is the conclusion to the story, of course, and is meant to be from the perspective of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, written when he is a very old man. Forgive me for writing the entire epilogue here, even the parts that won’t make sense to those of you who haven’t read the How to Train Your Dragon series (read: all of you), but I just couldn’t bring myself to cut anything out.

It’s a lament. It’s looking back and seeing the self of your youth with longing and sadness, because something in you has changed and you can never get it back. I’m not even a real adult yet, and it struck something in me. I hope any of you reading this review will consider checking out the series, because it truly is worth your while. I hope this epilogue proves me right in your eyes.

And here it is.

Was it really sixty-five years ago that I discovered my destiny in the darkness of Berserk?

It is another world, a vanished world, the dragons, the witches, the storms, the sword fights, and the shipwrecks of my childhood.

The boy I was is so far away to me now.

Sometimes I dream that same dream, though, the one that haunted me long ago, of the ghost lady, and the ship, and the boy on his dragon. The ghost, of course, is the ghost of Hiccup the Second’s mother, Chinhilda, and she haunts the Bay of the Broken Heart, calling out for the baby who was taken from her by her own husband.

That same dream still shakes my old body awake sixty-five years later in a fever of shivers and trembling in the dark watches of the night.

But the dream has slightly changed.

When I dream that dream now, I am the ghost lady, calling out to my lost child.

“Hiccup!” I cry longingly. “Hiccup! Come back to me, Hiccup…”

And I hold out my arms.

But the boy on the dragon is disappearing into the clouds, fading into the airy glory of the next world, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop that from happening.

The boy turns his head.

I cannot see his face at this distance, but he is heartbreakingly young.

I hear his voice, very, very faintly.

“Don’t worry!” he calls. “I will come back, I promise…”

And here he is.
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