CM Magazine Review - Year of the Golden Dragon
Reviewed by: Laura Dunford
A two thousand-year-old Chinese prophesy is about to come to fruition, bringing together the heirs of a Chinese emperor and his advisor. The three adolescents have been separated by time and distance, but each holds a piece of the Black Dragon's jade that has been passed down through their families. Hong Mei is a teenage girl moving from town to town in China as she helps her mother use her magical healing abilities. Hong Mei's own powers, her visions of the past and future, have grown increasingly violent as the Year of the Dragon approaches. On the other side of the world, Ryan and Alex, Hong Mei's Canadian cousins, witnessed violence first-hand when their parents died in a mysterious fire at their home in Vancouver. The others are wrestling with the trauma and with each other. Ryan and Alex are in China to visit family during the New Year, and they soon discover their parents were murdered by the devious Madam Ching who wants to steal their jade to hold power over Black Dragon. All three heirs must overcome language and cultural barriers to defeat Madam Ching and return the jade to Black Dragon. Taking place in China during a prominent cultural event and switching between the perspective of a Chinese citizen and Chinese-Canadian visitors, Year of the Golden Dragon/ is a useful book for highlighting a few interesting similarities and differences between Chinese and Canadian customs and for creating a bridge between the two cultures. Sauder is able to keep the story exciting with brief eventful chapters which move between the perspectives of all three protagonists. The author's use of both male and female perspectives opens the book to a wider audience, although Hong Mei stands out as the pinnacle figure in the novel. The mystical tone of this story, set in a modern environment that is filled with computers, cars, and airports, hinges on Hong Mei's interactions with Black Dragon. Adolescent readers interested in fantasy fiction will love this story of ancient myths and present-day magic. Highly Recommended. Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia.