Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Long Way” as Want to Read:
The Long Way
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Long Way

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Moving from China’s Opium Wars of the mid-19th century to the California gold rush and the taming of the Wild West, this epic historical fantasy follows the quest for an ancient Chinese dragon lost in a strange new world. A neglected orphan, an angry monk, and a sinister Englishman come together in a clash of wills and cultures that could change the future for the better—o ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published October 2nd 2013 by Baaa! Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Long Way, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Long Way

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  56 ratings  ·  31 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I got this ARC from NetGalley and this is my honest review.


Chi-yen is a girl in 19th century Canton who lives in a brothel as a servant girl,where life is harsh and often brutal and even more so for someone whose blue eyes clearly tell the world that she is mixed race due to her prostitue mother becoming pregnant by a foreigner.
Chi-Yen cant remember much about her mother apart from some words of wisdom she shared with her

"To live a happy life you must always be the second ugliest girl in the
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It was a great read, a bit reminiscent of His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, but with a story all its own.

Young Chi Yen, sold at a young age by her prostitute mother, leads a harsh life in the worst part of Canton. Her initial goal in life is to be the "second ugliest" and remain unnoticed, so that she doesn't end up a prostitute herself. Through a series of events, Chi Yen finds herself on the run, taking ship to America. It's gold rush time, and America is a harsh, lawles
Abbie DiscoSuperFly
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: x-arc
This was an interesting take on the wild west! We start out in China with an orphan, with a quest takes her and a few other halfway around the world to San Francisco during the Gold Rush.
The quest is to take a box, which contains an egg of one of the seven dragons to a temple in America. During the trip Chi-Yen, opens the box, the Dragon hatches, bites her, and disappears. The bit Mark somehow connects the two, and the Dragon reappears whenever she is in need. Now we throw in some cowboys tryi
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first few pages mystified me with the elaborate detail but pushed me forward with humor, history, and intrigue. This blend of history and hope made me a very happy reader. I find it difficult to write a fabulous review without giving away some of the best parts of the book. The only thing missing from this book is a sequel, as I was very sad to see it end.
Alysa H.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is a very ambitious novel with a great protagonist in Chi-yen. The first section, set in 1850s China, paints a very vivid picture of that time and place (though not a very sympathetic one). Chi-yen is victimized and beaten, but she's very clever and manages to get herself out of many scrapes -- and eventually on board a ship to California. The journey is as harrowing as the opening section, but unfortunately the book takes a downturn once the destination is reached.

Once across the sea, Chi-
Rod Vilencia
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic and epic adventure that follows the heroin of the story Chi-Yen a mixed race Cantonese girl and her desperate desire to get out of her impoverished and troubled life. Her trans pacific journey to America and her accidental run in with The Earth Dragon makes for a spellbinding and riveting tale brilliantly written by Ray and Vannier. This story is as powerful as Spirited Away and if you are a fan of that story and film you will love The Long Way!
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great read i really enjoyed this fantasy novel about a young girls fight and struggle for survival in the world.

A must read

I recieved this book for free through goodreads first reads
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who teach Chinese to their nephews,
Shelves: arc
This book hit a lot of my buttons--both good ones and bad ones. There were some parts that I loved, some parts that I did not.

Good buttons:
--CHINA! I am the aunt who taught her nephew Chinese pleasantries when he was one year old (he still says 'xiexie' to me and 'thank you' to everyone else). I love China. It's on my top ten places to visit and the fact that a book takes place there is alone a reason for me to read it.

--DRAGONS! I love dragons! My little brothers instilled this in me when they
Antonio Urias
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review and others are available on my blog.

The Long Way stretches from Canton to San Francisco, from the Opium Wars to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad and here there be dragons. The novel follows Chi-Yen, the young, mixed race daughter of a prostitute, whose efforts to survive the outbreak of the Opium Wars leads her to the apprentice, Sin-Feng, and his drunken master, Liu Kun. They are the last survivors of the Temple of the Seven Dragons and have been charged with protectin
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, dragons
I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.

I don't give out 5 stars all that often but there was something about this book that just drew me in right from the start. Leung Chi-Yen is a young girl working in the Canton brothels. But she has a spark of independence, a desire to get away from the life in which she was trapped at no fault of her own. While depressing to read about the treatment of women as property, both in China and later in the US, s
Mely P.E.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: experimenting
 photo Goodreads Melys corner_zpsegf7wf4m.png

È un libro peculiare, sospeso tra affresco storico e fantasy, scritto in uno stile asciutto ma ricco. La trama è originale. Tutto sommato mi è piaciuto.
Non da impazzire però: come atmosfera e narrazione assomiglia troppo alla Storia Infinita, di cui non sono mai stata appassionata. La trama avrebbe potuto essere sviluppata meglio, perché nei primi capitoli nulla, assolutamente nulla fa sospettare dell'esistenza della magia nel mondo di Chi Yen, e nulla prelude alla scoperta dei draghi. Un momen
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
By the time I was closing in on the end of The Long Way I had grown so fond of -- so warmly attached to this story -- that I felt compelled to nominate it for a Goodreads Choice this year, and I still feel invested personally, to some degree, in whether this story will reach as wide an audience as my hopes would dictate (please read this, dear reader! :).

I am always driven to promote literary fiction I think is really worthwhile from my own reading and study. But, in this case, I just love this
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started reading The Long Way, other than the fact that it had dragons in it and at least a part of it was set in China. And really, that’s all I wanted to know when starting this book. I don’t think there’s a summary in the world that could have done The Long Way justice. I’ve read the book and I know I wouldn’t be able to summarise what I’ve read in just a few short sentences.

What I will say is that The Long Way’s plot reminded me very much of a movi
Tom Donaghey
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
“The Long Way” is one of those pleasant surprises that life hands you now and again. In this case it wasn’t life but Goodreads doing the handing, but you get my intention. This book is a wonderful read with a fascinating lead character. She is Leung Chi-Yen, 12 years old and in the middle of the Second Opium War between Britain and China. Her world of trying not to be pretty nor ugly and thus living somewhere in the middle realm of the house of pleasure where she is kept does not daunt her dete ...more
Wayne McCoy
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
'The Long Road' has all the ingredients to be a better book, but when it was all said and done, I found it to be slightly lacking. I can't put my finger on why.

When we first meet Chi-Yen, she is working in a brothel in China. Her mother's advice to be the second ugliest woman in the house has kept her below notice, but that might be changing. When she decides she must escape her life and find a new one. She finds herself a drunken stubborn monk and his apprentice. They have a strange wooden box
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was ok

This book was alright. It was short and it moved at a pretty good pace. It was a mix of history and fantasy. I'd say it was 80% history and 20% fantasy.

The main thing i disliked about the book were the male characters compared to the main female character, Chi-Yen. There were three main male characters and none of them could control their urges. One was a drugged out drunk, one was to dumb to realize things, and the other was too obsessed with being evil. And the non main guys just wanted t
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF Review: 1.5 Stars

Being the history nerd I am, it's practically unquestionable that I would fly through a book like The Long Way. That wasn't the case. In fact, I'll have to add this to the never-ending list of historical fiction disappointments.

I made it to about 30% in before giving up. In all honesty, I really think the irksome writing encouraged me to stop reading, due to a lack of fluidity. The characters were underdeveloped and the plot left a lot to be desired. To sum this up, The Long
Sara Diane
I previewed this for NetGalley.

A solid speculative fantasy that blends dragon myth with the budding country of America. So you get a dragon, a Chinese girl (who has echoes of Memoirs of a Geisha) a drug-addict monk, and San Francisco and the California countryside during the Gold Rush.

The writing is clean, the story engaging, and the main character is compelling enough. I didn't care for the "fast forward" where we skip six years or so, but I'm never a fan of that in books--I don't like skippin
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The story started off with the brothels and Opium dens of China! A young girl with a predictable future begins her journey. NOT! This story had so many twists and turns it was a bit overwhelming until you get down to the essential aspect of the book! Then you will appreciate the unique story line. Unbelievably witty and compelling. I read each page as if it were a new kind of candy I tasted for the first time. This book is for those with an open mind for fact based history with fantastical wayla ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A wonderful historical fantasy about how magic can come into anyone's life and change it forever. I appreciate the historical details throughout the book and the fantasy elements are woven into the story very well. The characters are well created and interesting. It was interesting to read about the Wild West from a Chinese point of view. Well worth the read.

I would have liked to learn more about the dragons and the Te
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enchanting story of a young woman’s journey from a horrible childhood to become an independent, bright and strong woman. Love the fanciful elements of the story. Though the lead Chi-Yen was a wonderfully developed character, but I would have liked a little more development of some of the secondary characters like Sin-Feng or Malvenue.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, will definitely read the sequel when it’s released.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This did not work for me. You cannot simply insert a dragon into a realistic historical novel. Nor, for some reason, did I ever truly empathize with Chi-yen in spite of her hard start in life as the daughter of a ?Chinese prostitute. Ad a stereotyped English villains and you get a train wreck of a novel...but I think it was the authors' first try. They get a's for historical accuracy about Chinese immigrant struggles during the Gold Rush.
Angelica Dimeo
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book in a good reads first reads giveaway
I liked seeing a Tale about the dragon's.
I feel like the characters were somewhat weak willed except for Leung Chi-Yen
she was cunning and very intelligent I feel her character was the only one well thought out
The plot was ok but the villain seemed almost to have superpowers even with one arm he easily adjusted
to riding a horse back in the 1860's?
Thanks for the opportunity to read this interesting book.
Carrie Mansfield
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Short version: A unique blend of historical fantasy and Chinese myth with a likable protagonist. Anyone looking for a unique book, especially unique fantasy should get a kick out of this.

See my full review here

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes historical fantasy/fiction
Recommended to Teresa by: Friends
I really liked this book! It's an excellent story for young adults and adults as well. A plucky tween-to-teen Chinese orphan surviving one danger after another by her wits, first in Shanghai and then California Gold Rush country. A cold English villain, drinking monks, a struggling "Grasshopper" and a dragon to boot. I didn't want to put it down. Chi-Yen is a heroine I really want to see again!
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
A mystical book combining historical fiction and fantasy. A good blend of adventure, magic and character building. I enjoyed the travel from the opium dens of China to the railroad building in the old west. The ending is bittersweet and although I enjoyed it, I am sure some will want more of the traditional happy resolution.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this novel. I love Chi-Yen. She's such a strong character, and it can sometimes be difficult to find strong female characters. The book was really thrilling, and I could barely put it down. I can't wait to more of Michael Corbin Ray's works. This was really incredible.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, fantasy
This is a brilliant historical fantasy blending the Chinese immigration to America and the legendary dragon. I look forward to continuing the series and hope to see more of the world through Chi-Yen's eyes.

I received a copy of this book through Good Reads First Reads.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Copy obtained through goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fantasy tale of a young girls journey that is unique and unpredictable. The characters are engaging and the story itself is written well and moves at a decent pace. Well worth reading!
Morgan Sohl
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I started reading this book and got about 3/4 way but gave up as I really didn't like or dislike this book and had no reason to finish it.

Got this as a part of a good reads giveway
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Letters from Melite
  • The Fisherman's Wife: The Gospel According to St. Peter's Spouse
  • A Whisper From Eden
  • Mean Sun
  • The Blood That Cries in the Ground
  • Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture
  • The Secrets of Casanova
  • Papal Bull: An Ex-Catholic Calls Out the Catholic Church
  • The Queen's Exiles (Thornleigh, #6)
  • The Duke and the Decoy
  • Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology (Advent Anthologies, Volume 2)
  • The Case of the Russian Chessboard: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery Only Now Revealed
  • Tempesta's Dream
  • The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York: Inside the Cafes, Clubs, and Neighborhoods of HBO's Girls
  • The First Christmas Carol
  • Awakening the Warriors (The Darkon Warrior Series #1.5)
  • A Poor Excuse for a Dragon
  • The Heart of the Lion
See similar books…
Michael Corbin Ray lives in California with two brown dogs who keep him safe from night monsters.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Never judge a man by the pee stains in his trousers.” 1 likes
More quotes…