I already have a big reading pile to get through but then I had this awesome idea and therefore I quickly set aside my other books. So what was my epiphany? Simply to read my all time favorite book I had as a kid. Dragonkeeper is a trilogy by Australian author Carole Wilkinson. The first time I read the book I was about eight years old and the last time I read the book I was twelve. I guess I have read the first book about five times and the other two I have only re-read a few times.
Before you continue I might add that this will not be a normal book review, but more of what I experienced review…
The book is about a young girl named Ping. She lives during the Han Dynasty in China where she is a poorly treated slave. Pings assignments are to look out for her master and his animals. Suddenly one of the two dragons she is supposed to look after dies. Ping makes it her mission to look after the remaining dragon better. By doing so she goes on the journey of a lifetime with the dragon, her pet rat and a mysterious stone with the ocean as their destination.
Reading my favorite kid book with a mature perspective was extremely interesting and I had some eye-openers. I remembered the Pings awful conditions she had as a slave but I did not remember that they were so horrible. This made me notice how the author used the: “it is not as weird as it seems and if the character doesn’t care about her miserable life you shall only notice that she has a bad life and not care deeply about it.” I found many similar techniques to get the reader into the characters situation without finding it scary or horrible, but enough empathy to make the reader notice what the situation for the characters were like.
I also found it interesting how the author portrayed the culture and the time era. As a reader you could really see that the culture and everything around it was very different. You also took notice of the way she applied the culture into the context. It was done mainly through actions and by Pings thought you realized what was normal for the culture and what was not, and it was all done in a way that would catch your attention and you would be intrigued by it instead of put off. This was very good since is suppose kids will put down the book if the culture is not explained in a good and natural way through the plot.
All this gave me many philosophical questions e.g. to what extent kids can feel empathy and understand the situation Ping is in. I also wondered what their impression of the different culture and time era would actually attach to them and to what extent they would understand it. Like you can tell this was a really rewarding experience and I deeply recommend people to re-read their favorite kid book.
I was amazed by the simplest things, like the book was actually about 300 pages and that’s only the first book. I still loved the plot as much as I did before and this is still by far the best book I read as a kid. Yet I won’t be reading the sequels since I will focus on my reading pile instead, but I would still recommend this experience. 10 / 10
Additional note: Just after I posted this I looked up some of the other books the author has written and I realized that there is actually a 4th book (it came out last year). So the series is not a trilogy anymore but I will still consider it as a trilogy since the story does not seem to connect to the other books that much. I also discovered that there is actually a prequel to Dragonkeeper. Nevertheless I won’t be reading the last two in fear of ruing the experience. I did however think it could be good to know.