Book Reviews

Review: The Fallen Hero by Katie Zhao

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I adored The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao. It’s a middle grade debut full of heart, searching for belonging, and epic quests. So The Fallen Hero made my list of one of my anticipated sequels! And the sequel is even more action packed than I remember the first! Keep reading my book review of The Fallen Hero to see what I loved about the sequel!


Faryn Liu thought she was the Heaven Breaker, a warrior destined to wield the all-powerful spear Fenghuang, command dragons, and defeat demons. But a conniving goddess was manipulating her all along . . . and her beloved younger brother, Alex, has betrayed her and taken over as the Heaven Breaker instead. Alex never forgave the people who treated him and Faryn like outcasts, and now he wants to wipe out both the demons and most of humanity.

Determined to prevent a war and bring Alex back to her side, Faryn and her half-dragon friend Ren join the New Order, a group of warriors based out of Manhattan’s Chinatown. She learns that one weapon can stand against Fenghuang–the Ruyi Jingu Bang. Only problem? It belongs to an infamous trickster, the Monkey King.

Faryn sets off on a daring quest to convince the Monkey King to join forces with her, one that will take her to new places–including Diyu, otherwise known as the underworld–where she’ll run into new dangers and more than one familiar face. Can she complete her mission and save the brother she loves, no matter the cost?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Fallen Hero is a sequel that only explores even more deeply the themes I loved about The Dragon Warrior: our sense of family, our role in the world of gods and humans, and searching for a purpose. It’s a story that asks us what we will sacrifice for the greater good, for a calling that demands a price. Grappling with issues of belonging, The Fallen Hero, like it’s name suggests, also tackles what happens when we aren’t the Chosen One anymore. It’s a thoughtful and action packed sequel to one of my favorite middle grade debuts!

Faced with an enemy who doesn’t care about the collateral costs, who seems content with sacrificing others, how can we fight against that disregard? The Fallen Hero is full of a sense of adventure that sweeps you away. On adventures we never thought we’d embark upon, we can find some unlikely allies in unexpected places. It’s a sequel that also navigates the idea of the truth, of bending stories to our whims. What I also loved about The Fallen Hero is its continued discussion of family united by love and memories. Of choosing who we fight for and alongside.

Find The Fallen Hero on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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