Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: After the Dragons by Cynthia Zhang

*No Major Spoilers*

Dragons were fire and terror to the Western world, but in the East they brought life-giving rain…

Now, no longer hailed as gods and struggling in the overheated pollution of Beijing, only the Eastern dragons survive. As drought plagues the aquatic creatures, a mysterious disease—shaolong, or “burnt lung”—afflicts the city’s human inhabitants.

Jaded college student Xiang Kaifei scours Beijing streets for abandoned dragons, distracting himself from his diagnosis. Elijah Ahmed, a biracial American medical researcher, is drawn to Beijing by the memory of his grandmother and her death by shaolong. Interest in Beijing’s dragons leads Kai and Eli into an unlikely partnership. With the resources of Kai’s dragon rescue and Eli’s immunology research, can the pair find a cure for shaolong and safety for the dragons? Eli and Kai must confront old ghosts and hard truths if there is any hope for themselves or the dragons they love.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

So, just to start off, I did not finish this novel. I decided to jump ship and not force myself to read this even though there are aspects about this novel I liked. So let’s slay this quick talk about After the Dragons.

I love the world building this novel has done. It juxtaposes the effects of global warming, pollution, and just the deterioration of human society against these beautiful, magnificent dragons. Even though they are suffering the effects of human interference, they are still surviving.

The characters felt flat to me. Even though I learned more about Kai than I did about Eli, I felt there was no chemistry between the two. Eli learns of Kai’s terminal illness and he’s like ‘there must be something I can do to help him’ and I’m like dude, you spent a couple of hours with this guy and you two barely spoke to each other.

So overall, I’m giving this book two and 1/2 stars because of the amazing world-building and the dragons. I love stories with dragons that have personalities and help the main characters out. A couple of examples that come to mind are the dragons in The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey and Mushu from animated Mulan movies.

However, just because this book wasn’t something I enjoyed doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. Maybe you’ll love this story and it becomes your favorite story of 2022. I’m just here sharing my thoughts and opinions into the void that is the Internet.