Penulis/Author: Isabel Allende (2004)
Penerbit/Publisher: Harper Perennial
Cetakan/Edition: Paperback 2005
Kategori/Category: Youth fiction
People of the remote kingdom live peacefully away from the western interference. Crimes almost never occur apart from borders guarding and bad students, and royal guards are mostly for decoration. The king’s youngest son, Dil Bahadur (meaning: brave heart), was sent for training since he was 6 years old. He was chosen to be the future king because he has ALL the qualities required for a king: a royal blood, passion, pure heart and wisdom. Dil Bahadur lives a humble live with his master, Lama Tensing, moving from one place to another so that Dil Bahadur could learn many things about life survival and the characteristic of his kingdom.
Alexander-Jaguar and Nadia-Eagle once again are accompanying “Little Grandma” Kate Cold, the famous National Geographic journalist, on her journey to write about Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, a hidden place located on the high land of Himalayas. The legend states that the kingdom has kept one of the world’s greatest treasures, the Golden Dragon, which said to have the ability reading the future. A person named The Collector, the second wealthiest person in the world, has hired the Specialist to obtain the treasure and its secret codes so that he could multiply his wealth and be the richest man in the world. He likes to think that his money could buy him anything and it’s difficult for his heart to accept that despite the multi-billions he has on his accounts, he is just the second on the list.
The journey to the peaceful kingdom turned into a dangerous expedition as five Himalayan girls and Nadia are kidnapped by the Scorpion Blue Warriors, the nomads known for their fierce hearts. Not long after that the King is also missing and the Golden Dragon, the national symbol, has been stolen. Exciting adventures lay ahead following Jaguar and Eagle, the two young friends that have pure hearts and clean auras. They climbed up the Himalayas, swinging down the canyon with safety rope made of braided hairs, meeting the snowman yetis, experiencing what feels like a magical journey and saw with their very own eyes, the legendary Golden Dragon; things that people only read from history and articles, things told to be un-real.
After reading “City of the Beast” that gives surprises in every corner, reading Kingdom of the Golden Dragon is like reading an open book. Everything is pretty much predictable. Who are friends, who are enemies, who will betray who and what happen in between can be forecasted from the beginning. Some plots, although using a different background, are actually similar with those from the previous book. The first 170 pages went really slowly, nonetheless necessary to build the pondation for the story. Afterwards, everything catched up with Allende’s typical: magical and enchanting as she mixed and matched the ancient world with the modern technology; between the most traditional values with the American free style.
However, I found some of the situations to be “too American” especially when the respected King fell in love with the lansdsacpe architect. I mean, c’mon, we are talking about a king who was chosen because he had marvelled on separating his body and mind, a Buddhist monk that had gone through years of training to make him wise and cautious. Lust is surely not part of his mind. When he expressed his love (and desire!) for this foreign woman whom he just met, I found it to be completely out of place. Too Hollywood! I could even imangine what it would look like if the book is made a motion picture.