Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor

Hardcover, 352 pages

English language

Published May 2, 2022 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.


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5 stars (1 review)

12-year-old Zack never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.

The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible …

1 edition

I'm gonna have to buy / own this book, aren't I?

5 stars

As a Note: The Audiobook has to be redone (The Narrator did not know Mandarin) so if you need to read books that way, you may want to wait some time.

In my Iron Widow review I talked about the issues with Comp Titles.

This one IIRC is Percy Jackson meets Yu-gi-oh.

While it does not include playing children's card games for much of the plot (but AR headsets and games do fit in to the story) I have ZERO issues with this comp title.

Zachary's gaming headset is possessed by his ancestor Qin Shi Huang, and when Zachary's mother's soul is snatched, leaving her in a coma, Zachary must go to China and team up with a couple other children to reinforce a seal before Ghost Month, or it spells the end of China if not the world, and his mother of course.

What I really love about this …