Book Review: The Painted Dragon

Another week, another illness. Only another cold, but it left me with no energy to even think about blogging, and I have so many posts I want to write! In the meantime though, a review of The Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine, which I was very excited to read, having read and enjoyed the previous books in the series.

the-mystery-of-the-painted-dragon

When a priceless painting is stolen, our dauntless heroines Sophie and Lil find themselves faced with forgery, trickery and deceit on all sides!

Be amazed as the brave duo pit their wits against this perilous puzzle! Marvel at their cunning plan to unmask the villain and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with – no matter what dangers lie ahead . . .

It’s their most perilous adventure yet!

First of all, just look at that cover design – isn’t it gorgeous?! I love how it perfectly encompasses the Edwardian setting of the book and I must admit that the cover was the first thing that attracted me to The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, which was the first book in the series (although ironically, I ended up buying it in ebook format!). I love that they’ve kept to a similar design throughout the series.

I really enjoyed The Painted Dragon, and thought it was the best yet. It’s always nice when you’re reading a series to feel that you’re watching the characters grow over the course of each book, and that’s certainly true here. Sophie and Lil are still friends, and still building their reputation as detectives while trying to maintain their day jobs (or in Lil’s case, evening job), but they each also have their own concerns. Lil is worried about her brother, Sophie is worried that Lil is getting too busy for her, and that her work at Sinclair’s is slipping. Fortunately, a case comes along that brings them back together and tests their abilities as detectives. There’s also a secret society and Sophie’s obsession with The Baron and what happened to her parents to deal with, which seems like a lot, but Woodfine ties everything together brilliantly. I will say that I guessed who the culprit was pretty quickly, but there was still plenty to keep me engaged.

What I really liked about this book was the introduction of Leo, an art student who is connected to the case. Leo walks with a crutch, but doesn’t let it stop her doing anything she wants, and we get to know her really well at the start of the book. I hope we get to see a lot more of her in future books, in the same way that we got Mei and her family recurring in this book from the last. I also liked Jack a lot, and I suspect there is romance in the offing for some of the characters, although as it’s a Middle Grade series, I’m sure it won’t be a main driver of the books.

The Painted Dragon is a fun, well written Middle Grade mystery that moves the series on without sacrificing the plot of this novel. I highly recommend it, and the previous books in the series!

4/5

ARC received from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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