Bonnie's Reviews > Dragon Keeper

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson
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Jan 21, 2008

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bookshelves: library-books, reviewed, fantasy-sf, series-in-progress
Read in March, 2008

The story centers on a girl in 141 BC who has grown up as a slave of the Chinese Emperor's Dragon Keeper. She has been a slave her whole life, and does not know what her name is, or who her parents are. The Dragon Keeper is mean and lazy, so she cares for the 2 dragons in his place, but she does not care much for them, since all they do is lay around. They do not interact with her, or even eat the food she gives them. One day, the female dragon dies, and she feels guilty about this and tries to care for the remaining male dragon better, especially once she learns that she can hear what he is saying to her in her mind.

Suddenly, a dragon hunter comes, and is going to kill the remaining dragon for it's organs, so she helps it escape, but it will only leave if she goes with it. She goes with it, but only wants to go back to where she was, because even though her life has not been happy, it is the only one she knows. This becomes impossible, though, when she discovers that the dragon hunter is hunting for not only for the dragon, but also for HER, and that the whole country believes that she has stolen this dragon, and killed the other.

Even though she is not entirely fond of the dragon, she decides to accompany it on it's journey to the Ocean, and to do as the dragon tells her, and protect its stone. The dragon finds the stone even more important than its own health for some reason.

Well, there were good parts and bad parts to this story.

The good parts were that the dragon teaches her to count, which she has never learned, by saying, for example, 20 tens and 2 for 22, so throughout the book counting is done that way. This helps the reader feel more connected with her, in a way. I thought it was an interesting device. There is also a lot of adventure that happens, and the main character grows and changes a lot throughout the book, which is fun to read.

The bad parts are that there are a lot of boring downtimes between the adventurous parts, and they really drag. Also, the main character just goes along with the dragon, and takes a long time to warm up to him, even though he is very nice to her. She also seems to not care about what he is doing that much, which is dumb because she is going along with him, and when she finally DOES ask, about 20 pages from the end, she discovers it directly affects the rest of her life. I found her stupid and apathetic throughout a lot of the book, so it was hard to really connect with her, despite the methods the author uses, which I discussed above. There also is something to do with the dragon stone, which I won't ruin, but I figured it out almost instantly, and she doesn't bother to ask about it, again, until 20 pages from the end, so that was annoying too. Also, I've never read a book that takes place in BC China, so I wish the author would have described things a little more. It was a little to much from the characters mindset, and if it was something common to her, it wouldn't be described, even if it was something foreign to the reader.

There is a sequel, which I've read reviews that say it's better than this one. I could believe that, since she knows what's going on in the second book so I wouldn't find her as annoying. So, I think I'll check it out.
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Lala Well, I have no idea what you are talking about saying it is boring! She is meant to be normal but brave, not a really smart person, but brave and kind.

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