Review Blog

May 09 2019

The race for the red dragon by Rebecca Lim

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Children of the Dragon book 2, Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760297374.
(Ages 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Dragons, Magic, Adventure. Rebecca Lim's Children of the Dragon series is an exciting continuation of Harley's quest, another fast-paced adventure, filled with dragons, magic and powerful sabotaging forces. In The race for the red dragon thirteen-year-old Harley travels by private jet with his father Ray Spark to Taipa Island Macau. On board, Qing the blue dragon accompanies them preparing herself by consuming tins of tuna for strength. Her special abilities to morph into a Chinese girl, a glowing ghost, a glowing pearl and her martial arts skills prove extremely advantageous in their quest to find the second mysterious vase and save her sister the red dragon.
Harley's dad works closely with some shady characters, the criminal underbelly of society, relying on these contacts to assist in their travel arrangements to move them to Hong Kong and into the Wudang Mountains in China. 'The entire criminal antiquities' world sees Ray and Harley as walking bags of money'; there's a twenty million dollar reward on offer.
Qing changes into a tiny glowing pearl to direct Harley's escape through the dense crowd of people in Taipa airport and hide on the Hong Kong ferry. Separated from his father and Schumacher their German bodyguard, Ray and Qing bravely face obstacles, fight the bad guys and seek direction. Harley's strength is equally tested as he struggles to uncover the hidden dragons. With the assistance of an old Chinese cook Ah Po and her getaway car, a beige 1970s hatchback, Qing and Harley continue their dangerous journey. After an interesting border crossing, they climb aboard the Jolly Bus and are reunited with some heavily disguised but familiar characters. Harley Sparks proves himself in the final struggle to unleash the dragon in the lake. He draws on his inner strength and reasoning, listening to his secret voice and works to ultimately save his dragon friend from the villain's evil schemes.
The Race for the red dragon is a wonderfully descriptive narrative, filled with a sensory feast of Asian food, colourful scenes, back alleys and buildings, volcanic landscapes and mysterious lakes. Her gorgeous dragons are richly written, colourful, energetic and magically powerful. Qing and Harley's character growth and their developing reliance on each other's abilities underpins this exciting story. Rebecca Lim's thrilling infusion of her Chinese heritage and understanding of Ancient Chinese history, culture and mythology adds to the excitement. What an incredible junior novel, perfect for readers who enjoy modern fantasy adventures! What's next for Harley and Qing?
Rhyllis Bignell

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