The Fight for the Hidden Realm (Paper Dragons, Book 1)

Siobhan McDermott, Yuzhen Cai (illus.)

The Fight for the Hidden Realm (Paper Dragons, Book 1)
Hachette Children's Group
United Kingdom
1 February 2024

The Fight for the Hidden Realm (Paper Dragons, Book 1)

Siobhan McDermott, Yuzhen Cai (illus.)

An extraordinary destiny unfolds . . .

Twelve-year-old Zhi Ging has always been an outcast. Until she receives an invitation to Hok Woh, an underwater school that offers her the chance to become immortal, and to finally belong.

There, she battles in hair-raising boat races, meets age-shifting tutors and competes in thrilling trials.

But there are rumours of a growing dark force . . . and students who fail the trials are disappearing. Can Zhi Ging uncover the truth before it's too late?

The first in the unmissable magical fantasy series of 2024, set to take the world by storm. Perfect for fans of Nevermoor and Dragon Mountain.


The Fight for the Hidden Realm, the first in the new Paper Dragons series, had me hooked from page one. Reminiscent of bestselling series such as Percy Jackson, Nevermoor, and The School of Good & Evil, this debut novel by Siobhan McDermott is the beginning of a classic tale.

Taking inspiration from Irish folklore and Chinese myths, McDermott’s writing creates a truly magical world, which is where we meet Yeung Zhi Ging. Zhi Ging lives in Hok Woh, a place completely dedicated to the wonderous art of glasswork. It’s a beauty to behold, but not a welcoming town for Zhi Ging to grow up within.

Zhi Ging has always been an outcast in Hok Woh, ever since she was mysteriously abandoned as a baby. She has always been different, and now she is desperate to leave. So, when a dragon attack occurs, and she is accused of summoning the beast, she escapes the Jade Mountain and journeys beyond the Cloud Sea to the underwater realm of the Cyo B’hon. There, she will become a Silhouette: an apprentice to the Immortals. There, Zhi Ging is sure she will finally belong. But there new challenges and trials await. There are even whispered rumours of the evil Fui Gwai.

The Fight for the Hidden Realm is a luminous start to an intriguing series, and a coming-of-age story that deals constructively with issues of bullying, learning to be empathetic, and discovering trust in yourself. For ages 8+.

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