A few starting notes:
If any Asian reviewers - particularly Chinese reviewers, or reviewers of Chinese ethnicity - have written about this book, please let me know, I'd love to link.
OK, so little Chengli figured he'd go to the desert and find some info about his mysterious daddy, an imperial inspector who died years ago.
Turns out the trading caravan he's attached to also has to take an imperial princess to her wedding. And princesses are tricky things to keep safe...
Oh dudes, this book is so fun!
This is a rip-roaring, adventure-filled, ride on camels across China's historic silk road.
You know the kids books you loved when you were a wee one? This book is like those. It's fab!
The characters are pretty good - especially Chengli himself, and the princess, who has her own development throughout the book.
Chengli is also so earnest and sweet! :) As a reader, you're really gonna be on his side!
Hildi Kang is a scholar of Asian History.
Though she specialises in Korea, it's clear that she knows her stuff and is able to bring that knowledge to the book.
This book was also the recipient of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in 2012 (and I'm assuming that organisation knows much more about Asian history than I do!)
Not too much distressing content here but there are a few things:
- being orphaned/parental death
- child marriage
- threat of execution
- general danger
I honestly don't remember whether there was any ableist language in this one (crazy, etc.)
If this is something that bothers you, I think your odds are about 50/50.
This book has moments of slow plot development which may irritate some people - I'm thinking some kids may get SUPER frustrated!
These guards are cr*p as hell!
Like dudes, you had ONE job! Get the princess from point A, to point B. But no, the small child has to step up and do it.
Honestly, Dumbledore (that known bestower of responsibility on children's shoulders) would be proud.
I really enjoyed this one - and I think a lot of other people will too! :)