blo Teens Read and Write: Dragon House (Giveaway Points Post)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dragon House (Giveaway Points Post)

Dragon House

by John Shors

pub: Sept 2009

384 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Dragon House is one of those reads that had me broadening my horizons (out of urban fantasy) and stretching my comfort zone.

The story revolves around a group of people opening a children’s center to help the street children in Vietnam, the poor and forgotten kids who have no one and survive on their wits…and not much else since food is so scarce.

Iris is the American adult daughter of a Vietnam veteran who died before he could make his dream of a children’s center into a reality. She comes to Vietnam to finish his work accompanied by a childhood friend, Noah, who is physically and emotionally wounded from his service in Iraq. There are a couple of Vietnamese people who also help get the center off the ground.

Mai and Minh are young kids who live under a bridge and aren’t related but have bonded together as much as any sister and brother could. Minh has a stump for one arm, doesn’t speak and plays a mean game of Connect-4. Mai does all the talking and sets up games for Minh to play with tourists for $1 a match (if he wins). Luckily, Minh rarely loses but most of their winnings go to Loc, who uses it to feed his opium habit…and he protects them.

Yeah. Right.

Okay, so Loc’s their Connect-4 pimp and a druggie scumbag who preys on defenseless kids.

Then there are Qui and her granddaughter, Tam, who are beggars. Tam is dying of cancer that didn’t have to be fatal, but lack of medical care has left her too far gone to be helped.

Shors puts these appealing (except for Loc) characters together in a tender heartfelt story of hope and human kindness. Of course the dregs of humanity are in here too (like Loc), and while the conclusion is satisfying, there aren’t happy endings all around. So be prepared.

At times this story was hard to read because of the brutal nature of the reality it portrays against children. I can read urban fantasy murder, mayhem and gore without getting nearly as creeped out as this stuff makes me…because while it’s fiction, this stuff really happens and it’s painful to think about so much suffering. But the novel does end on a hopeful note and reflects the idea that people can overcome adversity and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Dragon House is a thought-provoking read full of compassion, compelling characters and the ultimate beauty and strength of the human spirit that also gives an excellent insight into another culture, country and way of life through evocative description. While not light entertainment, it’s worth the time to experience these characters and their story.

And Shors is the kind of guy who puts his money where his mouth (and his writing) is. Here is an excerpt from the Dragon House website:

It is my hope that Dragon House will be a success, and out of that success something good can happen. I plan on donating some of the funds generated from my book to an organization called Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. This group works with children in crisis throughout Vietnam. Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation offers disadvantaged children a wide range of services and support to help them break out of poverty, forever, by getting them back to school and helping them achieve their best.

To my delight, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation already has a center for street children in Hanoi, and also has been reaching out to dozens of needy kids in Ho Chi Minh City. So, thank you, dear reader, for supporting me. Your support allows me to aid this wonderful organization, an organization that sits quite close to my heart.

If readers want to provide additional support to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, please visit Anyone who goes to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation web site, and donates $100 will receive an autographed copy of Dragon House. I’ll manage this process and will send out copies of my book. My goal is to help raise a substantial amount of money for Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

It’s always nice to see others giving back. And thank you to John for providing this copy of Dragon House.

We have a copy of DRAGON HOUSE that is one of the books available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter!


Jenny said...

I still have this to read and review. Glad to hear it's good! I was really excited when I first heard about it!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

This one sounds really amazing!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I have read about this book and was debating whether I should read it just becasue I have young children and some things regarding children are hard for me to read about. Thanks for sharing the review!

Stormi said...

Sounds a bit not so much like something I would read, but glad you liked it.

Alyssa Kirk said...

Jenny - I think you'll like it. I'll look forward to your review!

Michelle - it was good. Like I said, not my usual read so I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Laura - I know what you mean. And yes it's hard to take at times. I guarantee you'll go hug your kids after you read it. I know I hugged my parents and brothers!

Stormi - I wouldn't normally read it either but it was good for me to get out of the urban fantasy box. Thanks for commenting. What's your favorite genre?

Ellz said...

Yeesh, there really seems to be a lot going on in this book. I have a really hard time reading anything that portrays kids being hurt, even if it is a reality. I read for pleasure, not stress. Great review.

Unknown said...

That sounds like a pretty heavy story. I have to find multi-cultural books for a class I'm taking. I'll be adding this one to the list. Thanks for sharing it.

Llehn said...

Ooooo ... I am intrigued!

Blodeuedd said...

Sounds like a great book, and I like that he gives something back. Sounds like a heavy story indeed

brizmus said...

This book sounds fantastic; I always love books that open my eyes to how children can be treated in other countries.
it's so nice to know, as well, that the author really cares.

Alessandra said...

Hadn't heard of this one before, either. It's nice to discover new books! This sounds pretty intense, but good. (I've already entered in your MegaBook Giveaway)

Tales of Whimsy said...

This one seems soooo sad and for some reason the cover makes me think of the film Push.

Emily Harring said...

I don't know how this book missed being on my to-read list! It sounds awesome, I'll have to check it out (: Thanks for reviewing it!!

Anonymous said...

Again, great review--just not my sort of book either! D:

babygirlG said...

This book sounds a little too edgy for me. I'm not sure I have the stomach to read about the brutal nature of reality against children.

Anonymous said...

sounds like an interesting book.

Jessica said...

Love the review! I have this one in my TBR... I might have to pick it up sooner than later. :)

Natalie said...

I've always been really interested in Vietnamese culture (Global Studies major, it figures!), and this book is definitely going on my TBR list! Thanks for letting us know about it!

Natalie @ Mindful Musings

Teddyree said...

Thanks for putting the spotlight on Dragon House, I'd heard of it but not read a review on it. I'll definitely keep my eye out for this one!

Sheere said...

Great review, seems like a lovely book though very sad and hard.

Bella said...

Interesting, thanks for the review. Not sure I would read it (certainly not for fun! :) ) but I might pick it up just to support the cause.

mariska said...

Interesting! Would love to read it.

Brodie said...

This sounds like a really well-written book. Obviously a tough subject and one that I wouldn't be cheering and smiling in, but I love when books open your eyes to some of the heartbreaking issues in the world and encourage you to change your perspective or to step back and really appreciate what you truly have. I'll have to keep my eye out for this, great review!

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