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Kingdom of the Golden Dragon Paperback – May 10, 2005
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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 Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Isabel Allende weaves an exciting and challenging narrative. It is mystical in its setting and themes yet juxtaposed with the 21 century which adds an interesting contrast to ancient traditions.
Like in the first book, the main characters are Alexander, a youth from California, and Nadia, a young girl Alexander met on his first adventure in the Amazon. Together, with Alex's grandmother Kate, who writes for the International Geographic, they venture to the Forbidden Kingdom. Nestled in the himalayas, this kingdom is cut of from civilization as we know it, and is run by a wise buddhist ruler. Legend says that it is home of the Golden Dragon, a statue said to be able to tell the future.
Meanwhile, the second richest man of the US, a computer genius, hires "The Specialist" to steal exactly this dragon, hoping to become the richest man in the States. During a ceremony for the king, 6 girls, among them Nadia, are kidnapped. Alexander, who has a hunch that it may be connected with the Golden Dragon, ventures out to find the girls.
What unfolds is an adventurous battle between the two young heros with the king's son and master as well as an army of yetis, against the sect of the scorpion and "the Specialist."
The book is a beautiful introduction into buddhism as well a shamanism (the two heros are able to separate their spirit from their body and turn into their totemic animals). The only complaint I have is that the main villain was too easily to identify, especially after reading City of the Beasts. Instead of spinning a new plot of the mastermind, Allende basically re-used the villain of the first part.