Spirit animal companions, ghost dragons, magic and a kingdom in crisis make for a fun young adult action adventure read. Kai Zou was a street rat with his own gang of kids eking out a living in Long City before he began working as an apprentice at his mother’s tutoring shop. Now, missing the camaraderie of his old friends as each of them grows up, Kai longs for a bit of adventure. With news of the King of Long City ill with a mysterious malady that defies treatment, the entire city is wondering why Princess Lian has not returned home from her studies in the Phoenix Empire. After Kai’s mother disappears without a word, he is charged with bringing Lian back home. Kai and his friend Yun embark on a dangerous journey filled with foul weather, assassins and a cunning plot. If they fail to bring Lian safely home, Long City could lose not only their king but also the magic flux that keeps it running.
It is nice to see a fantasy without a vampire or shape shifter in sight. Although some of the descriptions of characters dress or expressions are a touch longwinded in comparison with city or magic use descriptions, this refreshing debut novel features a strong story line and a well rounded collection of characters.
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