Title: Garden of the Purple Dragon
Author: Carole Wilkinson
Classification: Fiction with historical elements
Themes: China, history, dragons, friendship
What’s it about?
Garden of the Purple Dragon is the second book in the Dragonkeeper series. This novel picks up where Dragonkeeper left off. Danzi has not been heard from since he left and Ping is left to care and raise his son, Kai, by herself. They struggle to get by until one day a chance encounter sees Ping and Kai at the Imperial Lodge as guests of the very young emperor. She finds though that people and their motivations are not as they appear.
This is the sequel to a book that left many unanswered questions. Kai is learning as he goes and with his ‘baby talk’ style comes across as being very likable. Like the first book this one includes references to many people and places that did exist during the Han Dynasty.
This book has some graphic descriptions about black magic that would be very scary to young children. Ping, who was coming into her own at the end of the first book appear clumsy and is constantly second guessing herself in this novel which is slightly out of character.
This book is an entertaining read and as an adult I enjoyed it but I would caution against reading this to any young child due to the graphic descriptions – including torture of live subjects. It is a much darker book than the first and without Danzi’s matter of fact and light humour this books fails to brighten up.
The historical content, while still there, is perhaps more of a footnote in this novel rather than fully immersed like the first one. Kai can be likable but also irritating (which is not necessarily a bad quality).
My advice is to read this one first yourself before deciding to use it with your class or children.
Read the review of Dragonkeeper