Parents' Guide to

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Exciting mix of adventure, history, compelling boy hero.

Cartoon of two boys ready for battle with a water dragon

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This intriguing fantasy blends intense action with stories, myths, and legends from Chinese history and culture. Author Xiran Jay Zhao has said that they thought of Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor as "Chinese Percy Jackson meets Yu-Gi-Oh!" and fans of both will find a lot to enjoy here. And it has broader appeal as a thoughtful exploration of identity, cultural heritage, friendship, with a healthy sprinkling of good vs. evil.

The structure of alternating intense action with rest periods that explain and educate gets repetitive because it almost never varies, and the rest periods sometimes seem too long. But middle-grade readers will relate to Zack and his friends as they learn that the world is more than black and white, people are more than good or evil, and the value of true friendship. The cliffhanger ending will have fans eager for the next installment.

Book Details

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