Set in the mountains in China, the story starts with the mysterious line, ‘Mountains always have secrets’. This sets the scene for 12-year-old Billy Chan’s entry to Camp Dragon. Billy would rather be back home in California, surfing, but instead he is on a summer camp, learning about his Chinese heritage and improving his limited Mandarin.
Once settled, Billy is paired with three campmates Dylan, Charlotte and Ling-Fei. He soon learns that Dylan is funny and pessimistic, Charlotte likes to win and has fierce determination and Ling-Fei loves nature and is kind.
After the first activity, the four children stumble upon a secret entrance into a mountain. There they find magnificent dragons who have been trapped in the mountain for over a hundred years. And what’s more, the dragons have been waiting for them … Billy and friends are then thrust on a nail-biting quest to save both the dragon and human realms from destruction.
Dragon Mountain is the first book in the Dragon Realm middle grade series and is written by Katie and Kevin Tsang, a wife-husband team. The Tsang pair have written a thrillingquest tale and have cleverly used humour to cut through the high tension. The characters hurtle through the action and must keep growing, being flexible and adapting to what’s happening to them, to ensure that they have a chance of succeeding. It is through this growth that the authors have highlighted important themes of friendship, loyalty and individual strengths.
The story leans more towards action than complexity, suiting younger readers, but there is room to develop the characters further in the rest of the series. I, for one, am looking forward to the next instalments of this suspenseful story.
Readers who like fast-paced action will enjoy this book. I read it aloud to my ten-year-old daughter and my eight-year-old son is eagerly awaiting a reserved copy of the audiobook on Borrowbox. Further, in the classroom, the moral dilemmas embedded in the story will raise interesting debate.
Dragon Mountain was shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book of the Year (British Book Awards) and longlisted for the Diverse Book Awards.
I highly recommend this story. It’s heart-pumping stuff, making you feel alive. It certainly left me feeling wired for more.
Title: Dragon Mountain
Author: Katie and Kevin Tsang
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK, $14.99
Publication Date: 7 October 2020
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction
January 1, 2022 at 12:36AM DimbutNice