Monday, 16 June 2014

Dragonkeeper: Book Five - Shadow Sister

Dragonkeeper: Book Five - Shadow Sister by Carole Wilkinson (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 24.95
ISBN 9781922179579
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

No longer a monk but retaining the precepts of his Buddhist beliefs, Tao is adapting to a different life style. He is now on the road with the dragon Kai, learning to be a dragonkeeper, and embarking on a yet unknown quest. The two fled the monastery just as the evil monk Fo Tu Deng was about to move into the abbot’s shoes. Tao still hasn’t identified with his qi – his spiritual energy that was passed onto him by his brother Wei just before his death.

There is a war raging inside Tao between his brain and heart. He battles one thing after another, always with the thought of saving lives, holding on to his strong sense of right and wrong. He has as much compassion for the dead spirits that find no peace and that haunt him relentlessly, as for the living beings that he seeks to help.

Tao knows he needs to let go of many things. Early on, he encounters a wild blue dragon with a violent history, that he later befriends and names Sunila. This new companion proves to be a valuable ally when he runs into Fo Tu Deng. He also meets up with Pema again. She has a secret life now; one which Tao becomes a part of and is again tested. He must enter into a physical and emotional battle to save her, and what he stands for. Here he exemplifies the choices he makes, and the outcomes they affect.

By the end of the book, Tao has found his qi and is transformed in many ways by his experiences. So is Kai. Having found purpose, meaning and direction together, they set out for the dragon haven.

This is definitely not the last book, as loose strings left hanging need to be tied up. Blending fantasy with fiction, this outstanding series is a continuous inspiring adventure, constructed with subtle philosophical and thought-provoking messages on accountability, strength, courage and compassion.

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