Dragonkeeper is the first in an enchanting book series created by Carole Wilkinson. The first novel follows Ping, a slave to a ruthless master who begins a strong friendship with a captive dragon. Together, the two of them are able to escape the master and journey to Ocean, a distant land far from the ancient Chinese monarchy that reigns over all life in the Han dynasty. Ping and the dragon Danzi also become the guardians of the dragon stone, and voyage to unknown territory in an attempt to conceal the stone and find freedom.
Readers who frequent this blog are sure to know that I adore dragons, and though I cannot bring myself to watch Game of Thrones–despite my parents’ love for it–I will seldom turn down an opportunity to see these fantasy creatures worked into a novel. Couple that with the traditions and colloquialisms of ancient China, and I am sold before even opening the book due to my strange–albeit unwavering–interest in ancient cultures around the world. Dragonkeeper is a spectacular novel and has everything that I look for in good storytelling: a solid plot, a mixture of dialogue and description, and also a considerable number of twists and turns that are sure to keep readers’ pangs of hunger sated. Ping displays the characteristics of a strong female character, and the friendship she shares with the dragon is very interesting.
I really don’t have many bad comments in response to this book, but I did find that the last 30-40 pages did lag a bit. There were a few parts of the novel that I feel could be omitted, just because they didn’t seem very necessary, but the villain in the novel is as ruthless as can be, and I hope that his character arc is explored more in novels to come. Honestly, though, I felt all the things a reader should feel when reading a novel–excitement, apprehension and an unshakable sense of wonder that lasts for hours after the book has been slipped back onto the bookshelf. Without giving too much away, the ending of Dragonkeeper is truly spectacular and certainly cements Wilkinson as a children’s author for the ages. This novel ticks all the boxes, and I can’t wait to explore more.