Dragon (fantasy Series)

Dragon (fantasy Series)

The Dragon series is a tetralogy of fantasy novels by Chinese American author Laurence Yep. Yep had already written several books including the Newbery Honor novel Dragonwings by 1980, when, after undertaking careful research, he decided to adapt Chinese mythology into a fantasy form, something he had always wanted to do since he had sold his first science fiction story at 18. He "tried to stay true to the spirit" of these myths, but did not try "to keep their exact details". The "perfect vehicle" he chose was a folktale in which the Monkey King captured a river spirit who had flooded an entire city, which he at first tried to conceive in picture book form. However, he kept questioning the motivations of the river spirit, whom he had renamed Civet. This resulted in the realization, as his outline ballooned exponentially from eight to 800 pages, that he would need a series as opposed to just one book to tell her story.

The story then evolved into one in which the Monkey King pursued Civet into "our reality", resulting in "several normal children from our universe" being taken back into theirs. Yep had completed several drafts of this version when "toward the end of that version there was a special pair - a dragon and her boy - who stole the scene whenever they were on stage". He realized that he had to nearly start over, this time structuring the story around these two, who became Shimmer and Thorn. This proved to be just the start, as Yep continued to incorporate more material and mythology into the later books based on further research and inspiration. Part of the process involved changing the narration from Shimmer to the Monkey King with the third book, Dragon Cauldron. Yep has said of Shimmer that he had "never written about a character quite so independent, even demanding".

Yep wrote the series over a twelve-year period. It is likely that he wrote each book at the same time he was writing others including his autobiography, as he frequently writes several books simultaneously, but in different genres as he often gets writer's block. Dragon of the Lost Sea for example, was written at the same time that he wrote The Mark Twain Murders. During this time, Yep's being able to settle into his characters such as Shimmer, who has been described as "opinionated, arrogant, and has a quick temper that sometimes makes it very difficult to be her friend", created some strain with his wife, fellow author Joanne Ryder, as at times the "dragon" in him would emerge.

Read more about Dragon (fantasy Series):  Synopsis, Reception

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Dragon (fantasy Series) - Reception
... The Dragonseries has been well received ... It has been described as a fantasy seriesstarring dragons magicians,a monkey wizard,and other figures from Chinese folklore,with new adventures and modern dialogue, The relationship between dragon ... However aside from them and Monkey,"each of the other characters are allowed to maintain essentially their own separate individual personality ...

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