Blood Brothers – Book Four in the Dragonkeeper series, by Carole Wilkinson. (2012) $24.95 Hb, isbn 9781742031897, Black Dog Books.
Tao is a young novice monk living in the Buddhist temple at Yinmi in ancient China. He likes the day to day routine of his life at the monastery and is shocked when his world is turned upside down by the arrival of Kai, a green dragon.
Tao wants to be left alone in order to transcribe the translation of the ancient scrolls of the Vinaya and to follow Buddha’s ways so he can earn good karma, however Kai has other ideas and together they embark on an adventure that leads Tao to experience life as he has never known before.
While there are adventures galore and a hint of romance in the story, it is the development of the character Tao and his relationship with Kai that is the key to just how great this story is.
At first we may think Tao is selfish and insular in his cares of the world, but as the story unfolds and we meet Tao’s family and particularly when we see the special bond he has with his twin brother Wei, and the awful burden Tao’s mother has put upon him, we realise there is so much more to his character.
There is a third character in the book, Pema, who has lost everything years before when her family was killed by the Nomads, and uses her wits to keep alive. While the story is told in the third person from Tao’s perspective and so we don’t get to hear her voice, her strength of character and growth is evident.
I don’t like saying too much about the plot as it may spoil the enjoyment for other readers, however I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had to fight with myself to put it down.
The maps at the front of the book of ancient China as well as the glossary and pronunciation guide are a helpful addition to the story.
This fourth book in the popular Dragonkeeper series is a credit to Carole Wilkinson because while it pays homage to the previous stories and Ping the previous Dragonkeeper, it can be also be read as a standalone book, although you will be tempted to read the others if you haven’t already.
Highly recommended for older primary and anyone who enjoys a good read!