On the face of it, Kitty Lung is just an average sixteen year old girl. She goes to high school, she has a massive crush on her best friend, she reads gossip magazines. Appearances can be deceiving, though, because Kitty is in fact...a WERE-DRAGON!
I want to say that again. WERE-DRAGON!
Seriously, I’m ridiculously pleased about reading a book about were-dragons. I don’t know of any other were-dragon books out there, and I’m surprised because were-dragons are cool! I never really got on board with the whole were-wolf thing, probably because I’m not a fan of dogs, but dragons... Now there’s a shape-shifter animal I can get behind.
Kitty and her dragon-best-friend, Sani, attend the same school as Jacob, the president’s son, ostensibly as the children of diplomats, but actually they’re on a security detail to protect him. Kitty and Sani both work for a super-covert dragon division of the government where they use their abilities as spies and bodyguards. One day, a new girl starts at the school and that’s when things start to go a tiny bit wrong.
There’s some really nice world building in this book. The author has obviously put a lot of thought into the quantum mechanics of shape-shifting, and I really liked that. There were also some quirky little touches, like all Chinese dragons having a coloured stripe in their hair and how dragons from different parts of the world have different appearances and abilities. The world building was introduced gradually, too, and not all as one huge infodump.
Kitty was very enjoyable as a protagonist. She had enough abilities to make her kick-ass and a lot of fun to read about, but managed to avoid being a Mary-Sue. Chinese dragons, like Kitty, have a serpentine look and no wings (I’m thinking Haku from Spirited Away) and can fly using the earth’s magnetic fields, which is obviously awesome, but Kitty had failings too and these made her really relatable.
The only area where I felt this book fell down slightly (and it was only slightly) was in the romance. I liked Sani well enough as a character, but he didn’t seem to move the plot along very much. His main purpose seemed to be to provide some well-honed muscles for Kitty to perve on every now and then. I’m as much of a fan of a decent set of biceps as the next girl, but the romance didn’t really feel necessary. There were points where I thought the book would have worked as well, or even better, just as an action-adventure, almost like someone had turned round to the author and said, ‘You know, if you’re writing a YA book, you’ve gotta put some romance in.’
Still, all in all this was a fun, compelling book and I look forward to seeing more from this author.