Tuesday, November 05, 2019

The Dragon Warrior

Zhao, Katie. The Dragon Warrior
October 15th 2019 by Bloomsbury USA Kids
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Falun (Faryn) Liun and her brother Alex are being raised by their grandfather, Ye Ye, after their father, Ba, a dragon warrior, went missing several years ago. They live in San Francisco's Chinatown, but are not appreciated by the more wealthy members of the Jade Society. The leader, Mao, is openly hostile, as are others, like Wang and Yuhao, who are Faryn's age. Moli. Faryn's former best friend, also ignores her. During Lunar new year, Faryn goes out to get medicine for her grandfather, and on the way home, is attacked by a demon. She defeats it with the help of a god, and is secretly pleased that a god showed up at the festival for a change. She keeps this a secret, however, and goes to the festival with her family. There, the young dragon warriors try to lift a sword that can only be lifted by the Heaven Breaker, but none can. That is, none but Faryn. She is able to lift Fenghuang, and the goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, who helps her keep her father's maps, which she hopes will help her find him. Unfortunately, Ye Ye passes away in the midst of all of the activity, but gives Faryn notes that she can send to him for help. Faryn, Alex, and Moli take off on a quest to find Ba in accordance to the prophecy. This takes them first to Phoenix, where they meet Ren, who can shape shift into a dragon. They then go to Chicago, where they meet Chuangmu, a goddess who runs a hotel. She fools them into staying and then won't let them go. They eventually escape and head to D.C. , where they find that the demons have been wreaking havoc all over the US. They also run into the Red Prince, another formidable adversary who keeps them prisoner until Ren can harness the power of the dragons. Finally, they set off for Peng Lai island to find the Jade Emperor and hopefully their father. Things are still difficult, and when they finally meet the emperor, it turns out that he wants the Heaven Breaker to help overthrow the human world! There has been some discussion that Alex and Faryn are not related by blood, but Alex, suffering from a feeling of inferiority and egged on by the gods, takes Fenghuang and claims that HE is the Heaven Breaker. Guanyin appears to Faryn and offers to help her try to save the human world from the Jade Emperor... and from Alex.
Strengths: This was action packed, and had very likable characters. It followed the Rick Riordanesque quest protocol, where characters have to travel to different locations and are bothered by various characters from mythology/religion along the way. The friend drama with Moli is a nice touch, and Alex's betrayal sets up the next book nicely.
Weaknesses: I should have taken notes; I had a lot of bookmarks on my Nook, but it's not as easy to retrieve information that way. This is not overly complicated, but it was a bit of a challenge for me, so will be perfect for my readers who get really into fantasy stories.
What I really think: I'm definitely purchasing, but would like a little more information in the next book in the series. This has a glossary at the end, but it wasn't part of the E ARC. That would probably help, and I would like more information about the role of the gods and goddesses mentioned in modern Chinese culture. Western readers might not realize when or if the gods and goddesses in the book are actually worshipped; to me, all religion is mythological, but I don't know that we will ever see an adventure book with Jesus as a character.

Ford, Michael. Lost Horizon (#2)
October 8th 2019 by HarperCollins
Public library copy

The Forgotten City has done well in my library, and there aren't a lot of new dystopian books coming out. Definitely purchasing.

From Goodreads:
"Everything Kobi once believed was a lie. Not only are there other survivors of the Waste that devastated the world thirteen years ago, but beyond the wasteland of Old Seattle lies a gleaming new city where thousands are desperate for a cure.

To put an end to the Waste—and bring justice to those responsible–Kobi and his new friends will have to return to the heart of Old Seattle, where the outbreak began. It’s a dangerous journey. But Kobi knows what lies ahead. And he’s ready to fight."

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