Book Review: Chasing Dragons by: Douglas A. Jaffe

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: BookBaby

Publish Date: November 24, 2012

Origins: From Author for Review

Format: E-book

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Sebastian is the owner of a bookstore café in Hong Kong who provides informal counseling services to an array of offbeat characters. His quiet life is suddenly upended when he meets Chloe, and their relationship takes a startling turn, as it begins to parallel the relationship of a pair of mythical dragons from Chinese history. The lovers struggle with questions of mortality and immortality, before a choice is made that pulls them apart.

From the safety of his bookstore, Sebastian observes the world around him through his books and his counseling clients, whose problems range from infidelity to the challenges of dealing with an overbearing mother. Living within the frenzied metropolis that is Hong Kong, Sebastian tries his best to live a quiet, predictable life.

Unbeknownst to him, there is a parallel story unfolding about Chi Wen and Zhao Chen, two dragons from Chinese mythology. While initially distinct from Sebastian’s modern life, this alternative reality begins to filter through and he finds himself increasingly subjected to visions and memories of a life he does not remember.

Sebastian has a chance meeting with Chloe one afternoon and they share an immediate attraction and familiarity that quickly draws them together. As the relationship deepens, Sebastian’s visions and dreams of Chi Wen and Zhao Chen intensify, and he begins to lose his grip on his sanity.

Reality and mythology blur and Sebastian is forced to question his own life and his relationship with Chloe. As the modern and mythical worlds start to intersect, Sebastian is drawn back into an ancient battle of wills. Solving the mystery of his frightening visions leads him to a choice that will throw his life into turmoil and potentially destroy his humanity.

Review: Does immortality lead to ennui? Does mortality ensure excitement? ‘Chasing Dragon’s broaches these questions using parallel stories – one of the mortal humans Sebastian and Chloe and one of the immortal dragons Chi Wen and Zhao Chen. When the real and mythic worlds start to collide, the choices made will create ripples even greater than could have been predicted.

‘Chasing Dragon’s is very much a character driven novel and your enjoyment level depends on how you feel about the characters. I loved the characters, not only the main characters, but even the minor characters were brought to life. Set in Hong Kong, with a rich historical background, ‘Chasing Dragons’ will have you pondering the meaning of your life and the decisions you make every day. I’m not sure whose philosophy I felt more drawn toward; Sebastian’s or Chloe’s, but their discussions and their relationship were interesting and truly honest. I was more intrigued and moved by this book than I had expected, but refreshingly so. ‘Chasing Dragons’ is a book I feel everyone can relate to and enjoy.

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