Mandate of Heaven by J.C. Kang is the fourth novel in the YA Daughter of the Dragon Throne alternate China fantasy series. I reviewed the previous three
here , here and here though they all have new covers and titles now.
In our world, when there was a transition between dynasties in China, the previous dynasty was said to have lost the Mandate of Heaven. See Chinese Dynasties and the Mandate of Heaven for an explanation. There is a great deal of turmoil in J.C. Kang's alternate China known as Hua or Cathay. So the question arose as to whether the Wang family, who had been the rulers of this realm, had lost the Mandate of Heaven.
This sounded like a compelling storyline, so I purchased this book on Amazon and told J. C. Kang I would review it.
A destructive dragon had played a role in the first two books. I am happy to say that the dragon in Mandate of Heaven is one who preserves, the Guardian Dragon of Hua. If the Guardian Dragon comes to the defense of a ruler, that individual can be said to retain the Mandate of Heaven.
In the aftermath of the Emperor's death, Princess Kaiya turns out to be the only one of his children who is competent to rule in the midst of a major crisis for Cathay. Kaiya must deal with a revolting cousin who she once trusted, and a simultaneous Teleri invasion. She is also attempting to recover from the traumatic events of the previous novel. Some readers might consider this too tall an order for a nineteen year old, but Kaiya has shouldered her responsibilities and met big challenges in the earlier novels in this series. So I was rooting for her to succeed throughout the conflict.