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Kingdom of the Golden Dragon    by Isabel Allende order for
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon
by Isabel Allende
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Isabel Allende does it again! Kingdom of the Golden Dragon is just as magical as her first in this fantasy series, City of the Beasts. This time, Alexander Cold and Nadia Santos journey with Alexander's grandmother Kate to the infrequently visited monarchy of the Forbidden Kingdom in the Himalayas.

Once there, the two young adventurers encounter a band of blue-tinted bandits, a conspiracy to steal the kingdom's sacred relic (the Golden Dragon), and the tribe of the last surviving Yetis, cousins of the Beasts. Whereas the journey to find the mythical Beasts was the main plotline in the first episode, the Yetis are not the focus this time. This story introduces a civilization - not as technologically advanced as ours, but one that fares well nevertheless - and its religion. While there is a similar theme in City of the Beasts, it is a much more developed part of Kingdom of the Golden Dragon.

While this story is stronger in setting, it is not as powerful in character development as its predecessor. Though the author continues to do a wonderful job of creating well-rounded characters, there is not as much personal growth. Alexander and Nadia developed significantly during the course of the first book, so there is not the same scope for them to do so this time around; therefore, this task falls on the supporting characters, Alexander and Nadia's new-found friends. One finds within herself a spunk and determination not possessed by other girls of her culture. Another friend discovers within himself the strength to lead his kingdom.

Even though this volume has less character development than the first, it has even more adventure. Kingdom of the Golden Dragon promises many more wonderful fantasy adventures from Isabel Allende. I know I cannot wait.

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