Helen M. (Petaluma, CA)
I enjoyed Dragon House very much. It was interesting to me as I have read very little about Viet Nam. Mr Shors paints a clear picture of both the beautiful side and the ugly side of Saigon or present day Ho Chi Mihn City. The characters are well defined but somewhat predictable. That is my only problem with Dragon City. While enjoying the unfolding of the plot, you knew the outcome well ahead of time. But I thank him for sharing the process of forgiveness and for painting such lovely pictures with words. Book clubs? Yes.
Liz C. (Chico, CA)
I have ambivalent feelings about John Shors Dragon House. Shors is a masterful writer who makes the country of Vietnam come alive for the reader. The plot and characters of the novel, however, were a disappointment. Most of the characters fit a stereotype that I considered one dimensional and clichéd: the daughter of a Vietnam vet travels to Vietnam to take up the work of the father she barely knew; her childhood friend and Iraq War veteran, who is both physically and psychologically scarred by his war experience, and agrees to accompany her to Vietnam at his mothers request; the selfless, noble (and beautiful) Vietnamese woman who works at the center. I never got a sense of what motivated the characters. The plot, too, was formulaic and too predictable to hold my interest.
The highlight of the novel for me was the relationship between the two street children, Mai and Minh. Shors did an excellent job of capturing their voices and characters, and their devotion to one another. The problems of street children are very real and I appreciate Shors effort to bring their lives and experiences to the attention of general readers. Yet in the end I felt like I was reading a well written fairy tale that left me wanting more.
Sue J. (Wauwatosa, WI)
A Must Read
Dragon House is themed around Vietnam street children. John Shors captures their life through his words. His descriptions of the sights and sounds of Vietnam were vivid, I can still feel the thrill of being on a scooter in Ho Chi Minh City. Dragon House is a real page turner. I highly recommend it!
Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
I enjoyed reading this story very much. The author painted a grim picture of the lives of children living on the streets of Viet Nam, specifically Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon), and how two Americans open a center to save those children.
The book is a page turner and I recommend it to those who want to read a tale that is fast paced, heart-wrenching, and heart-warming.
Kate S. (arvada, CO)
I have mixed feeling about the novel. The story was interesting and I enjoyed reading it. That being said, I felt that the writing was a bit uneven. The author is a good storyteller and did a wonderful job developing the characters. I actually cared what happened to them. What took away from the story was frequent "repeating" of feelings, thoughts, etc. I also found the ending a bit too "tidy". It felt more like a made for T.V movie than a serious novel. It was not a bad read, but I felt left with a "wanting more" feeling.
Sharon B. (Rome, GA)
Nice Story of Healing and Redemption
The daughter of a Vietnam war veteran travels to Ho Chi Minh City to run a center for street children. She takes along a childhood friend who was disabled in the Iraqi war. Together they confront a language barrier, corrupt police and a host of unsavory characters to get the center up and running. It was a good read, although I was put off by the anti-American sentiments and some of the dialog was tedious. This is one of those rare books that will make a better movie.
Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)
This was a very well written book - characters were marvelous. It's a book you hate to see end and there is a very poignant message to be learned here.