Book Review: The Black Dragon (The Mysterium #1) by Julian Sedgwick

The Black Dragon is the first book in the The Mysterium series for middle grade readers by Julian Sedgwick. Twelve-year-old Danny Woo is half-Chinese, half-British. His parents are performers in the Mysterium. Following their death in a mysterious fire, Danny is sent to live with his aunt Laura, an investigative journalist. When Danny's school is closed after an explosion, he joins Laura on a trip to Hong Kong. She is researching the Triad gangs; he is trying to understand more about his cultural background. But Laura disappears, and Danny is plunged into a dangerous quest to find her - which opens the door on the past he could never have imagined, and which leads him to question everything he has ever known about his past.

The Black Dragon is a book that offers mysteries during the present and the past. Danny is still questioning the death of his parents, and the explosion at his school that has him joining his aunt and a fellow circus member on the trip to Hong Kong. Nothing is what its seems and Danny is good at spotting the people and moments that seem a little off. Danny’s skills come in handy, as do his powers of observation. There is a great cast of secondary characters- but very few are who they claim to be and everyone is keeping something back. The adventure is dangerous and full of interesting clues and hints to the search for Laura, the triad organizations, and secrets about Danny’s father. Never a dull moment, and never an obvious solution or ally, keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout the read.

The Black Dragon is a high paced and entertaining ready. There was never a point that I could predict what might be coming next. I think readers that seek high action, complex mysteries, and interesting characters will quickly become fans of the book, and in turn the series.

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