Adrienne Kress, who, amusingly enough, turns out to be an old school friends-fiance's-cousin. Apparently, contrary to popular belief, the world is so small I may just fall off the edge one of these days.
Oddly I had trouble getting a hold of her first book, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, but it didn't appear they were related so I grabbed the first copy of Timothy and the Dragon's Gate I could find and got down to reading. And what an entertaining few days it has been! Adrienne has this wonderfully funny, tongue and cheek way of writing, that not only completely suits her intended audience but was thoroughly entertaining for me as well, and clearly I am not 11. Though maybe not that clearly as you can't actually see me.
Timothy is a troublemaker. He's been expelled from every school in the city, so his dad takes him to work with him (at a total loss what to do with him other than that); where one thing leads to another and pretty soon he's embroiled in the biggest bit of trouble he's ever managed. Mr Shen is a dragon, trapped in a man's body, who's a slave to whomever has possession of his key. The plan is to get Mr Shen to China, to the Dragon's Gate where they can release him from his bondage after all these years but with Pirates, Ninjas, Shaolin Monks, some crazy black cabs, a Teacher and his Parents in the way, it could be somewhat tricky.
Turns out this book was linked up to Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, but it was easily read independently so no worries if you too have trouble getting your hands on it first. As I mentioned, Adrienne's brand of humor is really enjoyable, a mix of the staccato laughs an 11 year old would love mixed with a certain amount of the world weariness only an adult writer would be able to provide. Although most 11 year olds might not realize it yet, the practicalities of getting a job as a Ninja after finishing Ninja school can be challenging, and the little blurb Adrienne casually throws in about that particular problem had me laughing out loud. What I also really loved was how this didn't stop Adrienne's particular Ninja, she still went on to a professional living. I'm a big fan of leaving practicalities until such a point in life they can't be avoided, if you want to be a Ninja when you grow up, then by all means you should do it (I might still do it, as long as I don't discover I'm a really rich faeire princess first).
A super read that makes me wish I had someone little to read it out loud with (not my own of course, just a cute borrowed one off the street. The non-lippy version I can give away when they get too demanding or exhausting.)
Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, by Adrienne Kress
Published by Weinstein Books, January 2009