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Home > Categories > Books > Kids - Middle > The Lost Ryu review

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Score: 9.5/10  [1 review]
5 out of 5
ProdID: 9163 - The Lost Ryu
Written by Emi Watanabe Cohen

The Lost Ryu
June 2022

The Lost Ryu product reviews

In this middle grade fantasy set in Japan, ten-year-old Kohei teams up with his new neighbour to search for the truth, both about Kohei's family history and the disappearance of the giant dragons that fought in the war.

Kohei Fujiwara has never seen a giant dragon in real life. The big ryu all disappeared from Japan after World War II, and twenty years later, they've become the stuff of legend. Their smaller cousins, who can fit in your palm, are all that remain. And Kohei loves his ryu, Yuharu, but... Kohei has a memory of the big ryu. He knows that's impossible, but still, it's there, in his mind.

In it, he can see his grandpa - Ojiisan - gazing up at the big ryu with what looks to Kohei like total and absolute wonder. When Kohei was little, he dreamed he'd go on a grand quest to bring the big ryu back, to get Ojiisan to smile again. But now, Ojiisan is really, really sick, and Kohei is running out of time. Kohei needs to find the big ryu now, before it's too late.

With the help of Isolde, his new half-Jewish, half-Japanese neighbour; and Isolde's Yiddish-speaking dragon, Cheshire; he thinks he can do it. Maybe. He doesn't have a choice.

dragons   emi watanabe cohen   family   generational trauma   war   japan   world war two
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Click here to read the profile of mizim

Review by: mizim (Miriam)
Dated: 17th of September, 2023

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 9.5/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Score 9 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

I don't tend to read books based on real life, I have enough of that in my day to day and like the escape that sci-fi and fantasy give me more, but this book promised dragons along with Japan after World War Two... Dragons used to exist as huge creatures but it has been twenty years since World War Two and now only small dragons that can fit on your hand and sit on your shoulder exist. Kohei would dream of finding a giant dragon again for his ailing grandfather, but time is running out and Kohei finds himself with the aid of his new neighbour and her dragon as he begins his quest, before time runs out.

You won't find any epic chase scenes or fights that have you hastily reading and turning the pages but, for this book, that's perfect. The book deals a LOT with generational trauma, what Kohei's grandfather suffered through leads to how he treated his daughter and how it all trickled down the family line. So much family history is unearthed as Kohei tries to bring back a giant dragon and it is handled well, though it is best you are aware there is death, anti-Semitism, the holocaust etc. mentioned in these pages. I do think this book may struggle to find the right reader, it does have dragons but it doesn't really feel like a fantasy tale, while all the real life aspects don't make it fit solely into that category. A good balance of real and fantasy with subjects that are good to hear about.

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