Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon: A Compelling Own Voices Chinese Historical Fantasy! (Blog Tour + Review)

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?

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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.

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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!

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3.5 stars

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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.

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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!


Michelle from FirstBookLove
Piros from Berries & Books
Ramnele from Bookdragonism
Akisha from akithroughbooks
Camelle from Home of a Book Lover
JUNE 12 
Justine from The Bookish Wisps
Fatina from The Infinity Words
Kaitlyn from Kaitlyn Gosiaco
Myrth from Cliste Bella
Krisha from Bookathon
Jessica from Endless Chapters
Camillea from Camillea Reads
Athena from The Night Faerie
Shirley from Shirley Cuypers
Jonathan from Wander with Jon
Karina from Afire Pages
Dexter from Dexter Totalus
Taasia from Librae Paints Pages
Michelle from Magical Reads


Add to Goodreads

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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.

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18 thoughts on “Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon: A Compelling Own Voices Chinese Historical Fantasy! (Blog Tour + Review)

  1. This book sounds amazing! I’ve seen a blog tour of this book on many sites lately, and I especially loved your review. Can’t wait to pick this up. I also loved reading Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The book was really awesome, and I’ve seen it popping up more and more now! Thank you for your kind thoughts, beyond happy that you loved my review – it means a lot 😭💖 I also really enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and I’m glad you did too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love the historical China of this book too! And what you said about Anlei is so right! even though she’s a tad reckless sometimes, her bravery and ferocity is what will make her very memorable to me. as for an Asian fantasy that I would recommend, the Sino-Japanese war inspirations of The Poppy War are so well done and I would highly recommend that book if you can stomach the content. I am also dying to read Jade City by Fonda Lee because everyone loves it!!


  3. This is such a lovely review and I’m so happy you got the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, yay! This sounds like a great read and I have to say, I’m very curious about these characters, Anlei sounds awesome and.. I’m very curious about Tai, since he’s an atypical character I’d be curious to see why and how his relationship with Anlei is, too 🙂 Glad that, despite feeling a little insta-lovey, it still felt realistic to you, that’s good!!
    Wonderful review ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marie, thank you so much! Says you, you’re the reviewing queen or something omg 😍 The blog tour opportunity was awesome and I’m super grateful to have been a part of it! The characters were great and I hope you love them as well as the book in general! While I didn’t love the insta love, it was one of the better done cases. I love you and that means the world honestly 😭❤😩

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen this book around and have been interested in it– I love that it is a Chinese inspired fantasy and would love to read it because of that. And the fact that it is historical as well is amazing. This sounds like I will enjoy reading this and a good fantasy to quickly read. And I’m glad you could ship Anlei and Tai– I mean banter sounds great 😍!! I’m glad that overall you enjoyed this book and I definitely want to check it out. Great review!!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really hope you love it if you pick it up! It was really well done 🙂 Historical YA Chinese Fantasy truly is a power combo that we love around here. The banter was A+ and I was absolutely LIVING for it 😍 Thank you, you’re really too lovely ahh 😭💗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!!! 💛 yes it great– I would love to read more books with that power combo 😍 Yes as soon as any characters have banter by heart does a leap of joy 😂😂 aww.. you’re very welcome (and thank you so much *blushes* 😂❤)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aahh, great review Taasia!! I enjoyed this book as well, and I agree that the writing made the book really easy to read. I loved Tai a lot — I definitely was also really drawn to his arc and backstory (and I mean, I’m weak for any funny characters lmao). Great review, and I’m so glad you were able to see some part of your identity repped! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. May, you are truly so kind – I love your review and you so much! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book and its writing as well 🙂 Tai was like the best character in the story, honestly, and i loved how different he was (also his humor and the banter. Yes). I’m so happy that I found rep in this ah, thank u for your kindness 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay the publisher gave me a copy of this book sooooo I have HIGH EXPECTATIONS and I’m so nervous that I’m not going to like it?? But also… it’s Chinese… so I’m *probably* going to like it at least three stars. Probably. And Mary Fan also seems so sweet?? But I loved this review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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