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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret. Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon--and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year. With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized. . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny?…

The Dragon Warrior

by Katie Zhao

Overall Book Review:

Flying horses with a craving for sweets!?  Can it get any better than that?  Complete with kid warriors, Greek gods, dragons, dungeons, and telepathy, this story promises to keep the reader entertained.  If you love mythology and folk lore, you might just love this too.  From the first page to the last, this book was easy to enjoy. 

Our guide is 12-year-old Faryn.  She and her brother, Alex, live with their grandfather.  He has taught them many things including respecting and praying to the gods, being honorable, taking care of family, and learning to fight in the old way.  Through a series of circumstances, Faryn and Alex become the warriors they often dreamed of–only to find things aren’t always what they seem at first glance and complications soon arise. 

The human characters are pretty true to life.  Although there are a few mean kids, they all learn some valuable life lessons along the way.  There is a bit of magic and fantasy violence.  Sometimes they’re fighting on behalf of the gods, and sometimes the gods are fighting them.  Through it all, the descriptions and action are kid-friendly. The majority of the book is happy in spite of the difficulties they face, but as the book draws to a close, things take a sudden turn for the worse.  The ending was definitely a set-up for a second book that hopefully will answer a few questions and seems worth looking forward to.  

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  The father of 2 preteens disappears several years earlier; a 12-year-old girl battles a demon, some blood, killing it, the head of the beast rolls toward 4 young kids; the mother of 2 preteens dies in childbirth several years before; a 12-year-old girl battles a demon; evil men gather around a family with intent to do harm & scare; an old man dies of sickness and old age; several men fight; several battles with demons that include young teens and preteens, some blood, never gory but descriptive of the battles; several times older preteens & teens are taken hostage and thrown in dungeons, some wounds and bruising, some are skinnier from their time in prison; a preteen boy kicks another boy his age because he was mean to his sister; several demons shot or stabbed and disappear; a preteen girl is killed in the midst of a battle when something large falls on her, not descriptive.

Sex/Nudity:  A slight moment of shyness passes between a preteen girl and boy, then they hold hands.

Mature Subject Matter:

A father disappears, a mother dies in child birth, economic class disputes, mean neighbors, death of a grandfather, bullies, name calling, racism, non-binary (transgender, 1 mention), dungeons, kidnapping, adoption kept secret, Chinese gods.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)