Age Range: 9 - 12
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This colorful fantasy seamlessly weaves ancient Chinese mythology into the contemporary city of San Francisco. Twelve-year-old Tom Lee, who lives with his grandmother, arrives home one day to find an old man with furry ears opening his door for him. The man turns out to be a tiger, Tom’s grandmother turns out to be a powerful magician guarding a world-changing object, and Tom himself turns out to bear a sudden burden of responsibility. Thrust quickly into a skirmish, Tom barely has time to ask what’s going on before he and the tiger are escaping onto the roof with the magical object while his grandmother remains inside to fight monsters. Her death is shocking but helps Tom begin to understand how important the object must be. A phoenix egg disguised as a cheap coral rose; the object holds the power—in the wrong hands—to flood the world with chaos and destruction. Mr. Hu, the tiger, has now become its Guardian, and Tom his apprentice. A dragon, a golden monkey, and a flying yellow rat join their forces, employing both enchantments and wit as their task takes them underwater, underground, and finally into another realm. Chapter-beginning quotations about the relevant Chinese mythology and its creatures give the story a deep, archetypal element. Near the end, Mr. Hu shares his soul to save Tom’s life; what Tom will be like as part tiger, and what the monsters will try next to procure the object, must wait for the second entry in this simultaneously gentle and suspenseful series. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-001013-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003


ChildrenCITY OF DEATH by Laurence Yep
by Laurence Yep