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The Dragon Warrior

(The Dragon Warrior #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  658 ratings  ·  212 reviews
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
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Bloomsbury USA Kids
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  658 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Katie Zhao
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Man am I glad I can count this to my GR challenge! I am so excited to share Faryn Liu's story with the world. Gods and demons and dragons, food and family and fun, all steeped in Chinese mythology and lore. This is a book that I would have devoured as a kid and I hope young Chinese (and non-Chinese!) readers will enjoy reading it and hopefully learning a thing or two about Chinese mythology.

Beyond the mythology, Faryn's story is a story about seeing people for who they are rather than what they
may ➹
The Dragon Warrior follows a 12-year-old multiracial girl named Faryn, who embarks on a series of quests with friends and family in order to prove that she is the legendary Heaven Breaker, the powerful warrior who serves the Jade Emperor.

I don’t want to compare ALL Middle Grade books about kids going on quests to Percy Jackson, but this book truly gives off strong Percy Jackson vibes with its inclusion of gods, quests, and sarcastic humor. (And you know it’s a high honor for me to compare this t
Amélie Zhao
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm beyond THRILLED for this book to debut. I binged it over a flight and stayed up late into the night at my hotel reading this, and it was a rollercoaster filled with strong Chinese warrior protagonists, Chinese deities/gods and legends and myths and DRAGONS, set in a variety of Manhattan Chinatowns. The characters in it stole my heart with their stubborn and snarky personalities and their banter. And the humor, oh, the humor in this book is to DIE for. Guys, true story -- I literally woke up ...more
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
The Dragon Warrior is dedicated to immigrants, children of immigrants, and diaspora kids everywhere, and this book is a beautiful, heartfelt, and wonderful story that does its dedication justice.
I feel so honoured to have read this book, which is, very evidently, a book of Katie's heart -and is now of mine.

- Follows Faryn, a 12-year old girl who finds herself to be the foretold Heaven Breaker, a warrior powerful enough to wield a celestial weapon and able to command dragons.
- The Dragon Warrio
chloe yeung ♡
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own.

4.5 stars

reading the dragon warrior was the bookish equivalent of having a nice cup of hot milk while snuggling up in warm blankets. it made me feel the warm fuzzies all over, and i’m so excited for the diaspora kids who will get to read this book soon, and be able to relate to faryn and alex’s experiences.

the gods didn’t give me ultimate strength. my friends and family did.

the dragon warrior is
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of this book, and HOLY. WOW. You'll be sucked into this wonderful world from page one, and fall in love with this amazing crew of characters. You'll laugh one page, and cry the next. I love how intricately Katie explores family and Chinese culture, and how rich the mythology this book is. As a die-hard Rick Riordan fan, I don't comp books to him lightly, but seriously: if you grew up reading Rick Riordan books, you'll want to read this book IMMEDIATEL ...more
caitlin ✶
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like this review? Check out my blog for more :))

The gods didn't give me ultimate strength. My friends and family did.

This book is basically Chinese Percy Jackson, and I'm not saying this just because it's in the same genre and age group. Like PJO, The Dragon Warrior centers around mythology, but has a modern take on gods and goddesses that portrays them in a less godly light. The prose and dialogue are brimming with sarcasm and actually drew a snicker from me once or twice! And in th

Francesca Flores
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the great pleasure of reading this book earlier this year, and even then, it was fantastic! I can't wait to re-read the final published version of this!

It has EVERYTHING - magic, adventure, strong family dynamics, hilarious jokes, food, a fantastic protagonist, heart-warming passages, and a story that keeps you glued to the page.

Apart from that, it's just extremely unique--a fantasy adventure based on Chinese deities, and spent racing through Chinatowns spread across the US? And with a mi
Belles Middle Grade Library
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great fast-paced read! I love reading books that open me up to other cultures, & this definitely did. This is full of Chinese mythology, & I found it all so fascinating & intriguing! There are a lot of deities & demon names to keep track of, & sometimes I couldn’t remember who was who, or where they had come in before, but after a while they each stood out more. I also saw after finishing that there’s a glossary in the back! I shoulda checked before reading! So helpful, & love th ...more
Just from the blurb/cover, this book reminds me of Fablehaven (AKA one of my favourite fantasy-adventure series of all time)—but steeped in Chinese mythology and centring Asian American characters.

MY JAM, y'all.
Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen
3.5 stars

So, bearing in mind that I'm a Chinese-American but not MG reader, I quite liked this and I think my younger self would've liked it even more. The plot is a little formulaic, several of the reveals are fairly tropey, and the in-text translations felt clunky — but in the MG context, all of these could also be considered strengths.

It's rich in Chinese mythology, on a level that I think most young readers will be able to understand and appreciate. (And the glossary at the back will probabl
belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)
reading about my culture so fleshed out in a book?
the best feeling ever.

The Dragon Warrior started off with the Lunar New Year celebrations and decorations and I was sold immediately. Diving into this familiar scene that I experience every single year made the book so close to my heart. As a consistent YA book reader, I totally forgot Faryn and the rest of the characters are young teenagers. I even found myself yelling at one of the teenagers at how childish and immature th
Kelly Brigid ♡
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
One of the most fun adventures I've ever had the pleasure to read through! A perfect little mixture of everything I adore from Percy Jackson with brilliant incorporation of Chinese culture! A must read for every bookworm! 💛 ...more

I am so incredibly happy and lucky that a book like this exists and I can see it on bookshelves. Katie Zhao is great with words and the reader can tell how proud she is of her heritage. As a Vietnamese-Chinese American, I feel the same struggles as the main character where I'm not Vietnamese enough for Vietnamese people, I'm not Chinese enough for Chinese people, and I'm not American enough for American people. It's hard to live with. Despite it being a middle grade book, Zhao's writing put a lo
Note: This is an OwnVoices review! But please note I'm not familiar with all the mythology present in this book. I also won this as an ARC from Katie Zhao's twitter giveaway :D Thank you to Katie for sending this my way <3

Overall 5/5 stars!
The Dragon Warrior is a delight through and through. This is the book I desperately needed when I was the characters' age! The humor is spot on and only gets better as you keep reading. I highly recommend this book, especially for Chinese diaspora readers. I f
tiffany (readbytiffany)
Hello, everyone! I’m extremely excited for today’s blog post because I’m participating in the official blog tour for The Dragon Warrior which is hosted by Shealea from Caffeine Book Tours. I was so excited to be invited to review this #OwnVoices middle-grade fantasy because this was a story that spoke to my childhood. Through the incorporation of Chinese mythology and culture, Katie Zhao has crafted a world that touches the heart of every immigrant and child of diaspora. From hilarious dialogue ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the book for every little girl who read the Percy Jackson series and wanted to see herself as the hero of an amazing world. This is the book for girls with enormous hearts who believe love is more powerful than raw strength and physical attributes. This is the book for girls who have never seen themselves kick butt in middle grade books. This is the book Scholastic Book Fairs need to hand to every single middle grade reader in this country. This. Book.

It makes me laugh until I cry, and
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was so lucky to be able to read THE DRAGON WARRIOR early! It was this perfect blend of heart and humor, with settings so well-described I could envision myself in each of the different Chinatowns or the center of the Jade Society’s compound. The story was rich with truths, showing how friendships crack and mend, how family bonds might be tested, and how doing the right thing isn’t always what you think it is. The adventure in this book swept me away in a golden chariot led by flying horses!!

Chloe Gong
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm so freaking happy that books like this exist. 12 year old Chloe would have adored the HECK out of it (though 20 year old Chloe did too!). Faryn is fierce, the plot is tight, the jokes are hilarious, the Chinese aspect is WONDERFUL, and YE YE!!! MY FAVE!!! It has my whole heart. ...more
julianna ➹
look at that gorgeous cover!! this book is going to own my heart <3
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so much fun and left on SUCH a cliffhanger - I can’t wait to read book 2!
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really struggled to rate this book -- mostly because I also struggled to get through it. I think that's more a reflection of who I've become as a reader. Middle Grade voice just doesn't do it for me anymore, which is sad.

That being said, I think the intended MG audience will eat this up. Something fun and unique happens in every chapter, and there are - of course - dragons! The most important ingredient in a good book! The battle sequences are sure to entertain young readers and the magic of t
Sep 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mythology
Dragons. Chinese mythology. Dragons. A ragtag crew forced together. A godly war. A quest. DRAGONS.

In a lot of ways, this book felt like an Asian version of Percy Jackson. I don’t want to compare every mythology-based middle grade to Percy Jackson, but this really did remind me of it. 12-year old Faryn and her brother Alex are trying to command an army of dragons to defeat demons, and they have to do so before the Lunar New Year. Faryn is super fierce and brave but also very compassionate, and I
tiffany (readbytiffany)

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Rep: biracial Chinese American mc & side character, Chinese & Chinese American side characters
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Omg. Omg. THE DRAGON WARRIOR is such a gorgeous book that dives right into Chinese mythology set in our modern world. Katie is such a masterful writer and some of the big, emotional reveals in this made me audibly gasp. The world is lush, the characters jump off the page, and IT'S SO FUNNY. I'm not a person that laughs easily when I read--getting a snort out of me is pretty impressive. But this book had me laughing every chapter! Like, OUT LOUD! It's the only book I've ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Dragon Warrior is an action packed middle grade that will make your mouth water. There are sassy characters who will charm you, vulnerable ones who will worm their way into your heart, and moments that will make you smile. It's a story about family, forgiveness, forgiveness and believing in yourself. The Dragon Warrior is perfect for fans of Aru Shah (which is the last middle
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was one of the lucky few who got to read an early draft of this book and let's just say, you're not prepared for this.

This book, I began to read in the middle of a boring lecture and immediately, I said immediately, it sucked me inside its world. The description and the world building alone are splendidly done. I could imagine myself in the world. On top of that, Katie is a master of spinning emotions and surprising you with twists and turns just across the corner of the events. Also, she's s
Fun and amazing! Review to follow.
Udy Kumra
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-fiction
3/26/21: 3.5 stars. I think I'll bump this up half a star because it's #ownvoices and actually accomplished its goal of having a diaspora Chinese-American girl at the center of the story and showcasing Chinese culture a ton very well.

3/25/21: 3 stars. This is a middle grade story about a Chinese diaspora warrior heroine who has to save her people from demons while talking to the gods. So here's the thing. This book had a 4 or even 5 star story. One of the best stories of this type (the Percy Jac
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