Thursday, January 15, 2009

Timothy and the Dragon's Gate by Adrienne Kress

If you've read Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, you will want to pick this sequel up immediately. If I had to pick one word to describe Adrienne Kress's novels, it would be quirky. Or maybe whimsical. She's an excellent writer with a fantastic imagination, and her books are genre-crossing fun. In a way, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate was easier to read because I knew to expect the unexpected. Timothy, at age eleven, has been kicked out of every school in town, basically for being too smart for his own good. His dad takes him to work one day, and Timothy lands a surprising internship with the CEO. But the real surprises are yet to come because the mail clerk is a dragon trapped in human form. He needs Timothy's help to reach China, where he can be freed by passing through the dragon's gate before the New Year celebrations are over. Ninjas, killer monks, and mysterious black taxicabs make this a difficult task. Fortunately, Timothy's mother lives on the coast and Timothy's father is called out of town, so they're not around to inhibit his adventures. And what adventures! A fish herder (yes, you read that correctly), a hijacked plane, a pirate ship...these are just the beginning. When Timothy reaches China, the journey is far from over. Timothy, who has always blamed his mother, his father, his teachers, anyone but himself, will have to own up to his mistakes and follow through with something, but the moral lesson doesn't bash the reader over the head.

A fantastic adventure, very hard to put down, and a worthy follow-up to Alex and the Ironic Gentleman.

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