From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Buddhist monk Tensing and his disciple, Prince Dil Bahadur, are journeying through the Himalayan peaks in search of healing plants when they come face to face with a tribe of once-fierce Yetis. These legendary half-human, half-ape monsters inhabit a lush valley heated by thermal pools and hot springs and are unaware that it's the toxic minerals in the water that has weakened them and slowed their rate of reproduction. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Alexander Cold; his intrepid writer/explorer grandmother, Kate; and his soul mate, Nadia Santos, daughter of the guide who led Kate and Alex on their previous expedition into the South American rain forest, described in City of the Beasts
(HarperCollins, 2002),are off on a new International Geographic expedition. They are headed for the Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a small, isolated sovereignty in the Himalayas. Criminals are on the same flight; they intend to steal the Golden Dragon, the fabulous jewel-encrusted statue that is both a symbol and a guide for the country, and to abduct its king to interpret the statue's oracular predictions. All of these characters are about to come together in another breathtaking Indiana Jones-style adventure. When Nadia is one of a group of young girls kidnapped by mercenaries, Tensing, Dil Bahadur, and even the Yetis become involved in the rescue. Allende combines empathetic young characters; exciting adventures; and an intelligent, sympathetic look at cultures, customs, and creatures of a remote and fairly unknown area. This is a must-read for fans of the first book, but it stands completely on its own. The biggest question readers are left with at the end is simply, where will these three go next?-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
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Gr. 7-12. This sequel to City of the Beasts
(2002) is not as good as the first book. Here, contrived coincidence goes far beyond the magical realism. Sixteen-year-old Alexander accompanies his tough grandmother on another International Geographic expedition. This time they are in the Himalayas, and, somehow, Alexander's friend Nadia Santos from the Amazon is with them. High in the mountains are the Yetis, who behave like "crazed orangutans." They help Alexander and the good guys in their fight against American corporate villains, who employ bloodthirsty bandits to kidnap the king and steal a golden dragon from the Forbidden Kingdom. Alexander and Nadia join the young heir to the kingdom and his wise Buddhist mentor, and the evil is finally conquered using a mix of telepathy, technology, guns, and Tao-shu. There's an overload of travelogue detail, but the Himalayan setting is thrilling, and the second half of the novel speeds up with breathless action and some truly surprising revelations. The realistic scenes between Alexander and his acerbic, loving grandma are the best part of the book; it's a pity there isn't more of that. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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