Welp, I’m only around 10 years late. This fantasy book aimed at children/teens is SMOTHERED with great messages that honestly, my 12 year ass would probably miss.
So here’s my honest thoughts of the book and unpacking of golden nugget quotes … LET’S BEGIN!
A lot goes on in the first book of the series. Ping, a lowly slave suddenly embarks on a journey with the previously locked up dragon Danzi.
What I LOVE most, is witnessing Ping’s growth throughout the book. At first, she’s filled with self-doubt and doesn’t believe she’s capable of much.
Side note: For some reason, Danzi’s english isn’t that good (lots of missing words), whereas Ping’s is flawless. I guess to indicate his ‘wisdomness’ + ‘asian dragon-ness’? But then shouldn’t that mean his would be better? IDK.
Anyway, one of my favourite pages overall has to be this:
“If you can count to ten, you can count to ten thousand”
“Master Lan told me that I was too stupid to learn how to count beyond ten …” “He was [the] stupid one”
This is all about the growth mindset. That Ping can defy her original limited thinking, and realise that yes, she’s capable to learn.
I interpret the quotes like this:
– Just because people have told you all your life you’re only capable to be a ___ (ie slave), it does not mean you can’t learn and grow beyond it.
– If you’re able to do a little, you’re able to do A LOT
– For those who doubt your ability to grow + learn, they’re the ‘stupid one’.
“All answers lie beyond the gate of experience”
ie. You may not understand in this very moment, but the more experiences you have, the closer you are to the answer. And the more experiences you have, you’ll realise whether you made the ‘right’ decisions in the past.
Side note: Danzi the dragon chucks a lot of these ancient proverbs out there. Much like Ping, I was gradually tired of his ‘riddles’ because a lot seemed hella out of place and added no value to the story. But other than that, Carole Wilkinson, you did gud.
Would I recommend?
DEFINITELY, for children + teens. Because of the younger age bracket, the story doesn’t go into much detail and quickly glances over character profiles + development.
If you’re interested in Danzi’s proverbs + quotes, I’d highly recommend checking out Lao Tzu’s work which inspired all of this. There’s a whole lotta wisdom there!
ALSO this book is super hardcore. Some parts of the book feature death and blood and fighting. Perfect for any child 3+.