Book Review: DRAGON CITY by Katie and Kevin Tsang (Middle Grade Monday)

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 3

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for DRAGON MOUNTAIN and DRAGON LEGEND*

Synopsis:

Book cover for DRAGON CITY: title in gold above green city with dragons flying above it

In an alternate reality, 5,000 years in the future, the evil Dragon of Death has become ruler of Dragon City. Humans now live to serve the dragon population and it’s no different for Billy Chan and his friends.

After losing contact with their own dragons, they’re determined to track them down in this new city, even if it means putting their own lives at risk. But one dragon has turned to the dark side and has no plans to return.

With the help of a new clan of dragon friends, can Billy, Dylan, Charlotte and Ling-Fei undo the Dragon of Death’s villainous work or will she triumph eternally?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

DRAGON CITY is the shortest instalment so far, but manages to pack the most in. There is a competition, new allies to make – and old foes to meet again – plus a whole new world to explore. And throughout, Billy has to cope with loss, hope, and suspicion. There’s also a lot to catch up on after the massive cliff-hanger ending of the previous book. It’s all included without fuss of confusion, sucking you into the world and all its danger.

The Tsangs flex their “be cruel to characters” muscles in this book, putting Billy and his friends through a nightmarish future where they have to face down the Dragon of Death without the help of their own dragons. Even worse, Spark (Billy’s dragon) betrayed them to create the future, and is working on the side of the Dragon of Death.

There is a set of chapters in particular that have the sort of character cruelty you’d expect in YA, but not in MG – it’s not violence against them, but deep emotional pain. It’s so well done, even making me doubt the “this is MG, surely it will be alright in the end” belief I have.

There’s a new magic system introduced towards the end, which should be a lot of fun to play with further in the coming books. It’s crucial to the final battle and one other major event (which allows the finale to happen), but there feels like so much more to come from the magic!

When these books were first acquired by publishers, only three books were sold, which explains why DRAGON LEGEND did not feel like the typical end of a second book in a series at least five long. Despite two more books to come, this book really does feel like a trilogy ender, with things well wrapped up. There is space for more adventures – and I can’t wait for them – but DRAGON CITY does have that sense of thematic closure after the world has been saved.


Read my reviews of other books by Katie and Kevin Tsang:

Dragon Realm (this series):

For Young Adult books by Katherine Webber (Katie Tsang), see W

3 thoughts on “Book Review: DRAGON CITY by Katie and Kevin Tsang (Middle Grade Monday)

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