Nerd Girl Books promote female speculative fiction and nerdy authors, as well as female protagonists in new and familiar worlds. Thank you to Nerd Girl Books for giving me the ebooks in exchange for an honest review as part of their Nerd Girl Blog Tour! Make sure to check all the other stops out!
Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: June 11th 2019
Personal Rating: 4/5
From the very first chapter, you are immediately thrown into action and the fast pace Chinese steampunk story that continues its fast pacing till the last page. Never once is there a dull moment. The main character of this novel is seventeen-year-old Anlei who has the perfect teenage personality of “Ugh mom I’m practically an adult I know what I am doing” attitude. It is great, I found myself remembering my past teenage me and the silly things I did.
After Anlei’s village gets saved by the viceroy’s fleet of mechanical dragons, Anlei soon finds herself dethrone to him in exchange of protecting the village. The matrimony also includes the viceroy’s ownership of the village’s enchanted River Pearl — said to have the essence or heart of an ancient river dragon.
While waiting to get married to the viceroy, Tai, a young thief, steals the River Pearl for his own devices. This makes Anlei chase after her for an adventure of a lifetime as she tries to retrieve the one thing that will keep her village safe from the evil monsters.
Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon has a layered and complex plot that will keep you on your toes. Throughout the story, you are reminded that bad is not necessarily evil.
The mix of steampunk and magic felt natural, much like the magic and steampunk in Disney’s Treasure Planet. It has made me desperate to read more magic+steampunk stories where flying mechanical ships and see in the dark magic spectacles are real.
Anlei and Tai had amazing character arcs, however, I wished they had remained friends instead of lovers because the romance arc was a bit lacking (I firmly believe you can truly love someone without it being romantic). Anlei, in particular, is a pretty badass female character and it is not because she knows how to fight. A proper badass female character is one who stays true to her own believes and does not get influenced by the love interest. Anlei was more willing to sacrifice her life for her family and the people who raised than anything else. She is never once swayed away from wanting to do everything possible to protect her family and her village. On top of being a badass, she is also complex — even though she is trying to be selfless and do good she isn’t afraid to admit that many of her actions are for her own epic glory because she wants to be considered a hero people tell stories of. It is not frequent that you see a character of color be unashamed of their ambition.
This unique fantasy will keep you guessing and wanting your own steampunk flying ship.
Follow the lovely authors involved on Twitter:
- @ConfusedNarwhal (Meg Eden)
- @debschaumberg (Deborah Schaumberg)
- @AstralColt (Mary Fan)
- @LCBarlowAuthor (LC Barlow)
- @beththewoodward (Beth Woodward)