My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Chengli is haunted by the wind. It pulls at him, always talking in his ears, and tells him to go beyond the wall to find out the truth about his father. He has a broken piece of jade and a story to follow, but that is all. He becomes a camel boy, and as he experiences the rough and beautiful world around him, we see Chengli grow into a person we’d like to meet. The descriptive language, presented in a simple straightforward style, takes us on a journey many took when the Silk Road was filled with travelers. Chengli encounters friends and enemies alike, and makes his way closer to the answers he seeks. Great glossary of terms, with enlightening historical background, helps give the reader a sense of time and place depicted in the book. I agree with this blogger, who feels that Chengli should get more attention than it has. http://literatelives.blogspot.com/2012/0… Well-crafted books which keep a sense of adventure throughout their historical story are just not that easy to find. Having reviewed it as a galley, I found one or two clumsy bits in the writing, but the solid storytelling, the rich word paintings and the wonderful sense of place put it at the top of the list for middle grade readers.
View all my reviews