Blue Dragon by Kylie Chan

Blue Dragon by Kylie ChanA review by Nalini Haynes

Dark Heavens book 3

Blue Dragon is the third in the Dark Heavens trilogy, preceded by White Tiger and Red Phoenix (books one and two respectively), as well as the more recent prequel Small Shen. My reviews are at the novel links.

All tell the story of John Chen, Dark Lord and Chinese god of martial arts, his daughter Simone and the two loves of John’s life. Small Shen focuses on Michelle, Simone’s mother, while Dark Heavens tells Emma’s story.

My reviews to the previous books have been linked. If you don’t want those books spoilt, do not read on: this is a review of the fourth book in the story so I think nothing of spoiling the previous books. Also I’m going to assume you’ve read my previous reviews of this series because to repeat myself is boring.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Emma continues learning martial arts; Kylie Chan must be a fan of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon because some of the martial arts training sequences seemed intended to describe this learning process with the required spiritual development. I’m a fan of Monkey from way back but by Dark Heavens book two I lost enthusiasm for the training sequences and some of the fighting. By book three I was getting a bit bored.

Emma faces the same worries: is she evil? Has she been an unwitting pawn of the bad guys? Emma keeps asking people to look inside her head, over and over. After the first time or two this became repetitive.

Leo, the homosexual bodyguard, is dying of AIDS. During this instalment of the story I thought Leo recedes in importance while AIDS becomes more of an issue. The close linking of the main gay character with AIDS is a stereotype. It seemed ironic that, as Leo’s illness progressed, he changed from not having sexual relations with anyone who might catch the disease to putting a human at risk.

While I love Leo and his relationship with Emma in the first two novels, that stirring element decreased in this third novel as negative emotions are heightened with impending doom looming nigh.

I persevered expecting a reward at the end of book three – the lovers unite or, at least, everything is resolved ready for John’s return – only to discover that Blue Dragon ends with a ‘Dun, dun, DUUUUNNNNNN’ feel as a cliff-hanger for the next trilogy. I had assumed the next trilogy would be about the next generation with character appearances by the current generation as fan services.

While I loved book one and remained engaged with the characters to a degree, I felt this trilogy would have been better executed as a duology. Instead the reader has three more novels until, presumably, the lovers unite and their woes are over. This series is for readers who love epic romance sagas.

3 out of 5 stars.

Small Shen is definitely my favourite.

The copy I’m reviewing is actually this trilogy-in-one-book:

Dark Heavens