Monday, December 6, 2021

Dragon Mountain (Dragon Realm, #1) by Katie Tsang, Kevin Tsang

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Beast Quest meets Percy Jackson in this epic new middle-grade fantasy series!

Deep within the mountain, a great creature stirred in its sleep. Its eyes rolled back in its head, and its wings jerked wide open...

When 12-year-old Billy Chan finds out his parents are sending him to a summer camp in middle-of-nowhere China, he doesn't know what to expect. There he meets fellow campers Dylan, Charlotte, and Ling-Fei, and together they stumble upon an age-old secret: there are four powerful warrior dragons hidden deep within the mountain behind the camp! They need the children's help to set them free before terrible evil in the guise of the Dragon of Death is unleashed upon the earth.

Billy and his friends must set off on a dangerous adventure that will take them to the heart of the Dragon Realm. But can they save the dragon and human worlds from destruction?

I would have stopped reading Dragon Mountain after the first few chapters, if it wasn't for my son. He's seven and it's about dragons, so obviously he liked it. However, the storytelling was awful. It's like the authors were trying too hard to convince readers that their characters were believably afraid of the dangers they faced. Billy constantly questioned his choices and bounced between excitement and trepidation so often it made me want to scream. Just go on your flarking adventure! We already know this book is fiction, you don't have to constantly berate me with a character's inner turmoil over one decision. There are DRAGONS for the love of God. I wish they had just accepted their situation and went with it.

Comparing this book to Percy Jackson is an insult to Rick Riordan.

The story itself didn't always make sense, and I could tell my son was getting frustrated with me for stopping so I could notate my issues with the book. The dragons have been trapped in a mountain for what? A hundred years or something? Yet they don't have names? What have they been calling each other all this time??? "When our humans die, so does the name. It is wiped from my memory and all who have ever spoken it." Okay, so why do other dragons have names? They've been referring to other dragons like Dimitrius, yet they themselves haven't had one for more than a century? Pfft. Additionally, the names they are given by children were predictably lame and unoriginal. Tank? Spark? Buttons? (If I were an ancient and powerful dragon, I would have been insulted by their lack of imagination.)

The dialogue between the characters is also obnoxious af. The kids talking amongst themselves is one thing, but the ANCIENT DRAGONS sounded just as inexperienced and came across as childish themselves. Don't even get me started on Billy's acceptance of death. In the midst of him constantly questioning what they're doing he somehow comes to terms with his own death. "This might be the last thing that he ever did. He thought about his life at home, his life before dragons. And he realized that even if this was the end, it would be worth it. To get a chance to experience magic in the world. To be a part of something epic." What is he? 12? And he's known about dragons and magic for less than 24 hours. How did he go from speculative to full on I WILL DIE FOR THIS SHIT? 

There were also several inconsistencies that I'm not even going to bother to list, but they made me roll my eyes and wish for the book's seemingly inevitable conclusion. I just wanted the story to end so I could get rid of the book and never think about it again. Dragon Mountain had the potential to be a fun middle grade book for kids, but the redundancy and dialogue were too off-putting. I liked how the book started, but it went from okay to terrible as soon as the kids discovered dragons. If you're going to write something fantastical, it has to be believable (this was not). The world-building needs to make sense (it didn't), and the characters have to be somewhat likable or at least people you want to root for (not even a little bit). (★★☆☆☆)


  1. Replies
    1. We have the second book in the series, so I'm just going to make my husband read it with him. ;)


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless