Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
June 11, 2019, from Page Street Kids
Young adult fantasy
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When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent.
Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself. Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.
With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.
Hi folks! I am SO excited to be doing my first blog tour with Stronger than a Bronze Dragon. Many thanks to the folks at The Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour. I very much enjoyed reading the book, and I can’t wait to share some of my favourite quotes from it! This book is packed with action, a fierce heroine, and a very compelling story.
I really loved the two main characters, Anlei and Tai. Anlei was such a treasure to read about; she’s loyal to her family and village almost to a fault, restless, and always leaps to the occasion whenever she has a chance to, even if she knows it’ll get her in trouble. I admire her bravery and sense of duty so much. Like, girl never rests throughout the entire book – she spends the whole of it fighting to live as she wants to, being a warrior, despite her upcoming marriage to Viceroy Kang forbidding her from it. It looms over the whole book, more menacing than any of the fantasy creatures that appear, and you can really see how much Anlei loves being free and able to fight for her people.
As for Tai, I just want to wrap him up in a blanket and tell him everything will be okay. He was so good and bright and happy throughout most of the book, but part of it is a farce and he’s also been through so much and it makes me want to protect him so badly. The romance was actually really cute – yeah, it was a bit insta-love, but there was so much great banter between Tai and Anlei and I’m a sucker for banter and snark between love interests. They had such a great dynamic together at all points of their storyline, and I liked seeing Anlei figure out her complicated feelings around Tai.
Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon has some really incredible worldbuilding–and by that I mean it takes place in a magical steampunk equivalent of China. It’s something you wouldn’t immediately think would work well, but it works excellently, blending elements of Chinese history and culture and the steampunk aesthetic seamlessly. There are so many different kinds of magic and worldbuilding that I’ve never read about before, with two very fascinating types of spirits playing a role in the story: Ligui, shadow spirits, and Yueshen, living light spirits. I’m not sure if it comes from Chinese culture/mythology or not, but I loved reading about new ideas in fantasy and seeing how everything came together.
The story is super fast-paced and packed with action from beginning to end. There’s a lot to this world, so the book takes a bit of time to really get going, but once it does it never stops. It does get a little tiring to read at times because it doesn’t allow much time for quieter scenes – I do think that the book could be a little more evenly paced, and I did find the writing somewhat awkward at times. But I definitely think that it’s really easy to binge this book – I read the last third in one sitting.
I definitely recommend Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon, especially to anyone who’s looking for new, interesting, and diverse fantasy worlds. It’s a very fun book that’s filled with adventure, and a great addition to the compendium of YA fantasy.
About the Author
Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.”As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.
Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.
6 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Stronger than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan, Review + Favourite Quotes”
Wonderful review! This sounds like such an interesting read and the world-building sounds so cool! 😍
Thanks! It’s really a great book 🙂
Yes Anlei was such an amazing heroine to follow! She has such an amazing love for her village and family, plus reading her acrobatic scenes was amazing 💖 Tai was also the sweetest cinnamon roll and the world in this one was excellent! It really warmed my Chinese heart
I think this book had a lot of themes that Chinese readers will be able to relate to which was sooo nice. Anlei is like, goals and I love her.