Reviews for Timothy and the Dragon's Gate

ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2009 March/April
Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, the second book in a popular young adult series written by Adrienne Kress, has everything a youth could want in a novel: ninja, pirates, evil old ladies, dragons, treasure hunters, crazy taxi drivers, clueless businessmen, and much more. While the pacing is a bit uneven at the beginning, later in the tale it practically reads itself. The hero, Timothy, is a smart child with a very bad attitude, one who has been expelled from every school in the city. While he frequently felt persecuted, often with good reason, he purposefully did things to freak out or annoy his instructors, such as squeaking his chair ominously to distract them in class. Because he no longer has any lessons to attend, he follows his dad to work, and eventually becomes an intern at the company. One day Timothy is left in the care of a neighbor, Sir Bazalgette. Bazalgette is a famous architect who uses mirrors and light to illuminate rooms so that they appear bigger then they really are. He's also an amateur treasure hunter who often loses his findings to governments who claim ownership of them, something he's quite bitter about. Bazalgette has a very unusual friend, Mr. Shen, a dragon in human form. Timothy learns that Shen was not only cursed to remain trapped in his new body until the 125th Year of the Dragon, but also that he is re-quired to obey the whim of whoever owns the mystical dragon key. Timothy manages to acquire the key and suddenly finds himself the target of a conspiracy, running a gauntlet of ninja assassins, crazy taxi drivers, kid-nappers, and other hazards to free Mr. Shen and keep evildoers from using his powers. While the tale is aimed at eight- to twelve-year-olds, it will also appeal to slightly older audiences, those whose attention spans are more developed. With solid characters, quirky humor, and an intelligent plot, young adults who enjoy fantasy should be captivated by this story. Kress, a former drama instructor, is a successful playwright as well as an up-and-coming writer. Her previous work is Alex and the Ironic Gentleman. (January) ©2009 ForeWord Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 November #2
The eponymous young heroine of Alex and The Ironic Gentleman (2007) sails in about halfway through to play a supporting role in this equally tongue-in-cheek sequel. Eleven-year-old Timothy finds his pose of cool indifference challenged at every turn after gaining possession of a key that gives him total control of an old Chinese man who claims to be a dragon imprisoned in human form for juvenile behavior until a complicated set of conditions can be met. Not quite sure why, Timothy finds himself headed for China to fulfill said conditions--pursued by both a trio of murderous black taxicabs and an all-too-capable ninja named Emily. Sporting a chip on his shoulder the size of a sequoia while being prone to both snotty behavior and fits of rage, Timothy makes an annoying protagonist. Still, he is endowed with heart as well as patient allies, and in surviving a string of narrow squeaks he comes out with a better self-image. Though at least as wordy as its predecessor, the tale's snarky dialogue, sudden twists, authorial asides and daffy characters will keep readers turning the pages. (Fantasy. 11-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 February #4

Action-packed and full of reader-directed asides, Kress's sophomore novel follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman. Here, Kress introduces 11-year-old Timothy Freshwater, who, newly expelled from school, stumbles into an internship at his father's company (in a building nicknamed the "Tall and Imposing Tower of Doom"). There he meets Mr. Shen, ostensibly a mail clerk, but in actuality, an ancient Eastern dragon forced to take human form and act as a servant to whoever holds a golden key. Unwittingly and somewhat unwillingly, Timothy ends up helping Mr. Shen get to China--with a ninja, pirates and a fleet of black cabs in hot pursuit--so that he can return to his dragon form. (Among others, Timothy gets some help from Alex and the crew of the Ironic Gentleman.) Brief chapters keep the story moving, and Timothy's general surliness and sardonic observations, particularly in contrast with Mr. Shen's courteousness and Alex's daring, make for plenty of comic moments (Timothy's "last thought" before plunging into the ocean after being pushed from a plane is "Whatever"). A spirited follow-up. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

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