Hi friends! I am incredibly excited about today’s post, as I am going to be able to fulfill my goal of participating in a blog tour, and what’s more, about a great YA Chinese historical fantasy novel! Being a huge history buff and being able to identify with the representation, I was incredibly excited for this book and was incredibly excited when I was chosen for the blog tour! Let’s just get into it, shall we?
When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.
Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.
With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.
Thank you to Rafael @ the Royal Polar Bear Reads and the publisher for providing an electronic ARC free of charge via Netgalley for a review and stop on the blog tour! I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.
If you’ve been on my blog for anything longer than 5.3 seconds, you know that I LOVE Asian YA, especially Asian YA fantasies. Being a Malaysian Chinese teen blogger, I was delighted when I heard about Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon, which was an own-voices Chinese YA fantasy set in the Qing Dynasty. In addition to it being Chinese, I’m a huge history buff, and particularly have a love for Chinese history, so this sounded like a story I would love, and thus this was among my most anticipated releases of 2019.
Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon was ultimately a book highly reminiscent of classic YA fantasies, but with an Asian element, which was super fantasy! This meant that it used a lot of familiar tropes in YA fantasy. While I personally did not love this as I don’t love the classic YA fantasy tropes, I was still able to appreciate how this book managed to add some freshness and intrigue around these classic tropes, with Fan making them her own.
The writing style was so digestible and easy to read, which really helped the book fly by. I really enjoyed it and felt that it really complimented the story, thus making it so easy for the reader to get invested in the plot, which Fan fills with lots of action-packed, thrilling sequences that will keep readers on their toes.
The characters of this story were of particular note for me. I personally did really enjoy Anlei as the main character, and she is very much the embodiment of a strong Chinese warrior girl, which I loved. I adored seeing a Chinese girl, who looked like me being so represented, well-written and a genuinely compelling character front and center in a YA fantasy by a mainstream publisher, and I’m so grateful that other Chinese girls will get to see someone like Anlei get represented well in an industry that typically heavily lacks in diversity. However, I did feel that she could be a tad too reckless and much (for a lack of a better word) for my taste, but that did not completely mar my enjoyment of her as a character.
I also really enjoyed Tai, the love interest of the novel, both as an individual character and with Anlei. I was really fascinated by his character arc, and he was a very atypical character, which I appreciated, and I found reading about him particularly compelling. His banter with Anlei was particularly enjoyable to read, and I heavily shipped them. While their romance did lean towards instalove, it was still realistic and root-worthy.
Likely one of my favorite parts of the novel was the Chinese culture. As I have mentioned, I am Malaysian-Chinese, so I loved seeing the little touches of Chinese culture and Chinese, which never failed to warm my heart. Even though it was not a major part of the story, I felt that it was an excellent addition to the story, and is a really great way to represent Chinese culture without spotlighting the novel on said culture.
Overall, I did really enjoy Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon. It is a fun, highly enjoyable novel with masterful touches of Chinese cultures and characters so compelling you cannot help but root for. It is a twist on what is seen as the typical YA fantasy, but better. I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a quest-filled, action-packed and a fairly easy to get through fantasy novel!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.
Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.
Be sure to check out the rest of the stops in the blog to read all the wonderful posts each blogger puts out, and click the links below if you’re interested in purchasing the book!
Is Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon on your TBR? (Spoiler: it should totally be if it isn’t already) What are some great Asian fantasies that you would recommend? I would love to know your thoughts.