I love stories inspired by mythology. I love when mythology-inspired stories feel familiar, taking elements and ideas and motifs from stories that have stood the test of time, and telling them in a fresh, contemporary, and exciting way.
But, I’ve noticed that whenever I look for new books inspired by mythology, the lists often recommend books that are inspired by Greek mythology. Don’t get me wrong – I think Greek mythology is awesome and books inspired by Greek mythology are pretty rad. For instance, The Star-Touched Queenis a retelling of Persephone and Hades blended with Indian folklore and Promise of Shadowshas a Black main character that is also a Harpy.
Just over a little more than a year ago, I had the delight of reading The Dragon Warrior. I have a very fond memory of sitting in bed in my hotel room during a work trip, feeling alone and only having the company of my ARC copy of The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao. And when I read Katie’s middle-grade debut, about a young Asian girl who was The Chosen One and wielded the power of dragons and went on this incredible adventure – I didn’t feel alone anymore; I felt excited, empowered, and like I had gone on an incredible journey.
Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
I think one of the most powerful things about children’s literature is being told that, no matter how small you may be, you hold immense power to do good and amazing things. Growing up, the books I read were very formative to me. Whenever I wasn’t sure on what to do or how I wanted to navigate social situations – intermediate (middle) school is no joke! – I turned to literary characters and wondered what they would have done.
As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret.
Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon–and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year.
With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized . . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny?
Listen: I am the sort of reader that likes to withhold judgement of a book within the first few chapters of a book, let alone the first few pages. However, when you read the dedication of The Dragon Warrior and find that it is dedicated to immigrants, children of immigrants, and diaspora kids everywhere? The diasporic child within me that imagined vivid sweeping stories about dragons and wielding magic powers as some foretold magic warrior will undoubtedly rise up, excited, rearing to go on an adventure.
Welcome back to the second part of our The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads series, friends! It’s great to see you again and I hope you all are reading some lovely books. 💜
Welcome to Part II of The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of ’19
After doing a lot of research on the diverse books releasing in 2019, I had initially planned to write a simple ‘top 8 most anticipated books of 2019’, but after browsing Goodreads for hours, it occurred to me that one post about my top picks for 2019 was impossible and was not worth the pain. Therefore, today’s post is the second post of my week-long event of The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2019!