The Painted Boy
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The Painted Boy

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  878 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Jay Li should be in Chicago, finishing high school and working at his family's restaurant. Instead, as a born member of the Yellow Dragon Clan - part human, part dragon, like his grandmother - he is on a quest even he does not understand.

His journey takes him to Santo del Vado Viejo in the Arizona desert, a town overrun by gangs, haunted by members of other animal clans,...more
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Published November 11th 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published August 7th 2010)
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colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±

Charles de Lint is one of those names that I hear time and time again, often with lots of praise, but I've just never been entirely enthralled with any of his books I've tried to read - and this is no exception.

And it's a shame, because there's a lot of potential for a great story here.

There were things I liked about it. The idea of the story, and the mixture of cultures is really interesting. It was cool to see non-Anglo-Saxon cultures presented for a change in a story set in America, and t...more
Last night when I finished this book, my boyfriend asked how it was and I shrugged and said "it was okay." Thus...two stars.

It really wasn't a BAD book, but if I were to ask parallel-universe me (who has read every book ever and, being me, obviously knows my taste) if I should read The Painted Boy, she would probably tell me to skip it.

The only interesting characters were Paupau and Maria, and they really just don't have very big roles. :\ Everyone else is really one-dimensional, melodramatic, k...more
Joy (joyous reads)
This book started out great for me; there was just enough mystery within its opening pages that got my attention right away. Unfortunately, books heady with folklore and myths tend to be heavy on the narrative as well and The Painted Boy suffered from the same symptoms and quickly lost its initial appeal. I finished the book but it took me quite a bit longer. Sadly, it couldn't maintain the interesting beginning. It lagged and dragged until the seemingly rushed and convenient ending.

The Painted...more
I didn't know anything about this book or the author. After reading a few pages I really liked the opening of the book and I was hoping it would develop into a good story.

I think the plot was original. There are many characters that are interesting at first but eventually they are not engaging, and at times I mixed up the names of some of them.

The supernatural powers seem unbalanced and I didn't feel that the weaknesses and confrontations of the main characters were believable. The Painted Boy...more
Alanna M
I enjoyed the first fifty pages of this and anticipated great things from it. For one: Asian protagonist. Finally. Thank you. Second: the mythology and lore that was showing up really intrigued me. Unfortunately by the end, I had to decide this was not the book for me. I found the pacing slow: it went in fits and bursts of speed that quickly petered out. The characters never really congealed in my mind as full-fledged human beings, they only felt like half-constructed, pale imitations of real pe...more
Ranting Dragon
The Painted Boy is a standalone novel by Charles de Lint, following a young Chinese-American teenager, Jay Li. When he was 11 years old, a painted dragon appeared on his back, signaling that in the future he may wield the power of his inner dragon. When Jay turns 17, he travels from Chicago’s Chinatown to Santo del Vado Viejo, Arizona as part of his spiritual journey. Upon arrival, he immediately has to escape angry gang members who believe Jay to be a Triad spy.

Jay does find some friends in tow...more
Jay is a 17 year old from Chicago whose only ever worked at his parents’ Chinese restaurant. Who points his finger at a place on a map: Santo del Vado Viejo, AZ and goes there with his grandmother’s blessing. She’s been training him since he was eleven, when a giant picture of a dragon appeared on his chest. Now he speaks any language fluently, animals react strangely to him, and he has no idea why. His grandmother taught him much more of the esoteric rather than realistic: he is of the Yellow D...more
charles is back!

i've enjoyed charles de lint's urban fantasies for years and when he announced a while back that he would be abandoning his fictional city of newford, home base of most of his fiction for 20 years, i figured he was over. and his next couple of books, while not terrible, were not particularly great either -- it seemed he'd lost his mojo without a place to center his stories.

now with this book, it would seem he has one again -- or, if not a place, at least a good mythological base...more
Ade Couper
This was genuinely moving and magical.

Jay Li is a yellow dragon : that is, he's a 17 year-old boy, who happens to be a dragon. He moves from his home in Chicago to a small town in Arizona, which is pretty much overrun by gangs. How does the dragon with Jay react when 1 of his friends is killed...?

Charles de Lint is, for me, the best urban fantasy writer currently working. Not only does he tell an engaging tale- & tell it very well- he makes his characters seem real, 3-dimensional, with flaws...more
Douglas Smith
A wonderful book and a book full of wonder. I always enjoy spending time with de Lint's characters. They are so well drawn, and the characters in this book are no exception--each is unique and deeply human, each with flaws, but flaws that you can forgive, more easily than the characters forgive themselves, which makes them that much more likeable. The mythology in the book is rich and deep. But most of all, the book goes far beyond the good-versus-evil confrontation that the initial setup would...more
I was a little unsure going into this book, as YA isn't my favourite. This story, however, took me right back to Someplace to be Flying, one of my favourite books of all time. I didn't find it campy, like some of CdL's other YA and recent releases(I find he tries too hard to incorporate awkward slang and current technology, which distracts from the story and the characters). Instead, it was straight from that place of mystery and magic that captured my heart in the first place.
It took me some time to finish this book. The fist couple of pages were really entertained and it had some mystery, I liked the story and the characters were interesting, but as more as I read it was starting to become boring and nothing really surprise me and engage me, and the characters become weak instead of powerful which I thought it would be the opposite, but anyways it is not a bad book its just that it did not surprising.
Julie Czerneda
A wonderful story, with original, real characters. The blending of Chinese and Mexican (and American) cultures produced something truly special. Not to mention the dragons. And the landscape? Wow. I've friends in New Mexico who have told me it looks like this -- now I really have to see for myself, after reading this book.
Highly recommended.
The Painted Boy was original and cute. The best part of the story was the weaving of the environments and folklore. De Lint really excelled at fusing these well known tales, making them fresh and interesting. However, de Lint tried to sound young and hip so often that it was a little embarrassing and it detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I understand that this is a young adult book, but the amusement young people find in those who try to sound cool is probably not the amusement Charles de...more
This was published in 2010 and I don't know how it got past me!!!

I'm saying nothing. Read it if you like urban fantasy, de Lint is one of my favorites.

This is perhaps his first YA novel so not quite as uh "dense" as his other books. A fine YA novel.
Aaron Brown
In the scope of how many books I've read over my lifetime, it's a relatively rare thing for an author to write a story strong enough in character to reduce me to tears.

It happens. But not often.

This is one of those rarities. Oh my, but this one is beautifully done.

I really want more stories in the vein of The Painted Boy and The Mystery of Grace. I want more stories from Santo del Vado Viejo.

As a reader, I know of no higher compliment to pay an author than to say, "that was truly amazing, mor...more
Jay Li leaves Chicago for the barrios of the desert in the hopes of, well he is not quite sure. At the age of eleven, an images of a dragon appears on his back and he begins his training as a potential member of the Yellow Dragon Clan. After six long years of training, and much cryptic talk from his grandmother, Jay closes his eyes and points to the map, finding his new place and hopefully coming to understand the dragon that lives within him.

Moving from his familiar Newford, de Lint has taken u...more
Charles de Lint never disappoints. He expertly weaves the magic of the world with very human relationships. Not only are his characters very real, he creates worlds I want to be a part of.

In The Painted Boy, de Lint delivers a fantastical story about growing up, responsibility and choices. While the choices to be made in the book are very grand, there is much for us, the readers, to think about. Not only what we might do if we were in the story, but what we can do in our own lives. It is not po...more
The Painted Boy has a good story, I just wished the writing had been more. I didn't expect it to read like a YA novel that's actually meant for YAs, I didn't even know it was YA. So Jay is a yellow dragon, only he doesn't really know what that means, or if it were real. This is a bit hard to swallow since he's been trained by his grandmother in the ways of a dragon since he was 11, and his parents even let him leave home and school to fulfill his calling as a dragon. Having lived with a dragon h...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Before picking this book up, I had heard of Charles de Lint, but had never gotten around to giving any of his books a try yet. Well, I will now. I loved this book from the first couple of pages and it never lost my interest. The story is original, the characters likable and the plot well-paced. Charles de Lint, if this book is representative, is a master storyteller and I cannot wait to read more of his books. I may have just found a new favorite!

The only thing that I disliked about this book wa...more
Miz Lizzie
When seventeen-year-old James ("Jay") Li arrives by bus in Santo del Vado Viejo, a (fictional) Arizona border town, from Chicago, he is hoping to finally live a normal life away from his enigmatic and dictatorial grandmother. But the dragon design marking his back is no ordinary "tattoo." It is the mark of the dragon shape and power that he carries inside as a member of the Yellow Dragon Clan. El Tigre, the local gang boss, senses Jay's potential rivalry and sends his bandas after Jay the minute...more

The Painted Boy is a standalone novel by Charles de Lint, following a young Chinese-American teenager, Jay Li. When he was 11 years old, a painted dragon appeared on his back, signaling that in the future he may wield the power of his inner dragon. When Jay turns 17, he travels from Chicago’s Chinatown to Santo del Vado Viejo, Arizona as part of his spiritual journey. Upon arrival, he immediately has to escape angry gang members who believe Jay to be a Tri...more
Ravenous Biblioworm
Rating: 5/5

This book excels in many ways. There are multiple things that make this book a 5 star for me. One of them being memorable. Though slow at times, DeLint gives us a rich and believable characters to delve into and that more than makes up for the slow pacing. Why 5 stars if it’s slow? It’s slow because the book takes the time to actualy paint the characters. Jay is a troubled teen. Not troubled in the sense of doing bad activities, but trouble with that fact that he’s a part of the yello...more
Alex Fayle
I’ve been thinking about The Painted Boy for a few weeks without knowing exactly what to say. After all, it’s Charles de Lint, my idol author since the mid 1980s. What could I write that doesn’t come across as super fan-geeky?

Because really, the book is classic de Lint at his best. There’s a great mix of points of view and narrative styles without any head-hopping going on. There are real life problems mixed with mythic themes. There’s wonder combined with cynicism. And there’s coming of age and...more
Bruce Nordstrom
Jun 28, 2013 Bruce Nordstrom rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young and old readers alike.
Recommended to Bruce by: Other people who like Charles de Lint
This is an outstanding book which I enjoyed completely. The story begins when a young Chinese boy arrives of the bus from Chiago to a small town in Arizona. This is "The Painted Boy," a Chinese Yellow Dragon, with very big dragon tatoo across his back. He settles into the Mexican barrio and is immediately caught up in the troubles of the town. Drug smugglers and gang bangers are almost out of control.

This is a book on many levels. First there is the contrast between two very different cultures....more
For several years I read every book Charles de Lint ever wrote, devouring them as fast as he could write them. But, having caught up with him, I eventually moved on to other authors and genres. It's been at least 10 years since I last visited de Lint's unique urban fantasy world ... and I'm so happy to be back! Though the setting of The Painted Boy is a desert town in Arizona instead of Newford, Ontario, the magic and the mystery are just as strong. And what a pleasure to follow a character who,...more
This book by successful and personal favorite author Charles Delint takes the reader through a journey and is filled with eye catching moments and question filled scenarios. This book was recommended to me by a librarian who knew me very well and my personal interests, he specifically told me that once I start reading this book that my eyes will not leave it and he was right. I finished the book in 3 days and considering how big it is,3 days doesn't sound possible. Charles Delint takes you to a...more
Derek Newman-Stille
Charles de Lint often takes his readers into the hidden parts of the world and brings attention to the things that people ignore in the world around them, whether that be the fantastic side of the world and the potential for a magical viewpoint or attention to those within our society that are often ignored such as the homeless, or those on the social fringes. In The Painted Boy, de Lint takes on gangs, a part of our society that most people prefer to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist outside of...more
The southwestern US desert seemed like an unusual setting for a de Lint novel at first, but the magic that is characteristic of his stories quickly made itself apparent. Those who have read his work before will recognize the animal spirits before they are explained.

Jay Li is a teenager sent from Chicago to the border town of Santo del Vado Viejo by his grandmother, Paupau. He’s got a picture of a golden dragon on his back- not a tattoo, but a design that rose, painfully, through his skin when h...more
Charles de Lint’s The Painted Boy is an exceptionally inspiring book written by an exceptional craftsman in the history of writing extraordinary books. This story reflects on the ideas of being strong in whatever you do, never giving up hope, and evading the obstacles thrown at you in life. The Painted Boy is a book of inspiration. Full of inspiring moments, it leaves you day-dreaming with nothing, but inspirational thoughts and hope. This book is one of a kind, the cream of the crop. The Paint...more
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Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins.
More about Charles de Lint...
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“Yes, no. I don't know. It's all so confusing. I'm just a kid."
Abuelo smiled. "You kept saying that while you told me your story, but what does it mean?"
"That I'm too young to have to be making decisions like this."
"You're never too young to do the right thing," Abuelo said.”
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