Harley Spark is just an ordinary thirteen-year-old kid who lives with his mum, Delia.
Rumour has it that his dad, Ray, is an international crime figure with a talent for nicking old, valuable things.
So when Harley finds an antique Chinese vase on the footpath, something compels him to stuff it under his school jumper and run for home. Little does he know he’s about to reignite a centuries-old war between two ancient, supernatural families…
- I love how the writing gives credit to the readers for being clever – while the langues and topic are all age appropriate it doesn’t feel like anything has be adjusted down for the audience, and nothing is over-explained. For instance, there are bits and pieces of other languages used without translation – it is either up to the reader to figure out what they mean based on the context, or an explanation is given in a way that fits with the narrative so the reader isn’t pulled out of the story.
- The trope of the invisible parents is really popular in both middle grade and young adult stories, so I really loved that both Harley’s mum and his dad were super present in these stories. Harley’s mum is involved in the action from the very start, and there is no question of him keeping his adventures a secret from them. I think this is really cool, and I love that it promotes trust between kids and their parents, which I think is so important especially in this age group.
- The books feature a diverse cast of characters, and are own voices. I felt like this really shows in the was that the story is rich in culture and history, and this is impeccably blended into the story – I felt like I learned a lot, but never got the sense that I was being lectured to. I also thought that although this is a fantasy book, the setting of today’s Melbourne (at least to start of with) felt really authentic.
Children of the Dragon series by Rebecca Lim
Out now from Allen and Unwin
Source: Free copy of book one sent to me by Allen and Unwin, I bought book two myself
Category: MG fantasy fiction (recommended age 9-12)
Australian RRP: $14.99
Children of the Dragon on Goodreads