Dragon Mountain

Sterling. (Dragon Realm: Bk. 1). Oct. 2020. 240p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781454935964.
Gr 4-6–Katie and Kevin Tsang’s (the team behind the “Sam Wu” series) first in a new middle grade fantasy trilogy offers readers a fast-paced plot and dragons, but without much substance. When 12-year-old California surfer Billy Chan gets sent to a language and culture summer camp in rural China, he has no idea he’s in for the adventure of his life. Billy and three of his campmates discover four dragons who’ve been trapped in nearby Dragon Mountain, unable to defeat the dark magic that is destroying both the dragon and human realms. Billy and his friends must decide if they are willing to risk everything to help save both worlds. Readers will enjoy new dragon lore, such as each dragon having a heart that matches a human’s. And most won’t be able to resist the predictable cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. However, they may also find the characters one-dimensional and the plot full of unexplained conveniences. Most alarming is the abrupt end of the book just as the action starts to build. Readers will have to wait for the rest of the story in the second installment.
VERDICT A sure pick for Tui T. Sutherland’s “Wings of Fire” readers, and those who just need to get their hands on every dragon book out there.

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