Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: Dragon House by John Shors

Book Info:
Dragon House by John Shors
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-13: 9780451227850
Genre: Multicultural Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Source: For review
Rating: 3/5

Set in modern-day Vietnam, Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children.

Iris and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion.

I first heard John Shors name mentioned by other historical fiction lovers at Paperback Swap. They all gave rave reviews to Beneath a Marble Sky and some even named it as their favorite book last year. With these glowing recommendations for Shors I expected to love Dragon House, but I ended up being a little disappointed.

My favorite part of Dragon House was the setting. I love to travel and since I don't get the opportunity much, I have to settle for traveling through my books. Shors love of Vietnam and it's residents comes through loud and clear. The descriptions of the children and their time on the streets rings true.

What didn't work for me quite as well were the characters. I found them to be a little underdeveloped. At the end of the book I really didn't feel like I knew any of them very well. Their actions seemed a little predictable and there wasn't much to set them apart for me. The message of the book, healing through helping others, is a good one, but it also felt a little heavy handed at times.

While I didn't fall in love with Dragon House I am still really looking forward to reading Beneath a Marble Sky. 3 stars


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I rated this one a 4/5, but I was hoping for even better :(

Great honest review.

Sandy Nawrot said...

You tell it like it is, and I think that is great! I remember the review for his other book, and the opinions were glowing! To bad this one didn't quite measure up, but that is the way it goes!

Zibilee said...

Sorry that this one didn't totally work for you. I have heard good things about it, but I am glad to read another opinion. I am also looking forward to Beneath a Marble Sky, I hope you like that one a bit better.

Jenny said...

Hmm, well that's disappointing. I was really looking forward to this one. I still am, though. I'll be reading soon.

Anna said...

Thanks for the honest review. Well developed characters are important, and I'm sorry you were disappointed this time.

Diary of an Eccentric

Literary Feline said...

I'm sorry you found this to be a little disappointing, Melissa. I am really looking forward to it-mostly, I admit, because of the setting. I appreciate the heads up about the characters.