Meet “The Dragon Empress”

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In Cixi "The Dragon Empress" by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Peter Malone you will be introduced to the Forbidden City and the world of ruling China.     

In Cixi "The Dragon Empress" by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Peter Malone you will be introduced to the Forbidden City and the world of ruling China.     

      Cixi's childhood was not that great. She always felt that her sisters got more attention than she did. She was always miserable and felt mistreated. She soon got a great chance to change that. When she was 14 she was sent to the imperial court. If you were between 13 and 16 you signed your name in a book to be either maids or concubines- the girlfriends or mistresses- of an Emperor. She would be tested for womanly qualities and defects. Cixi wanted to do this to escape from her childhood. In two years Cixi was chosen as a concubine.  When she entered the Forbidden City she was in awe. In the Forbidden City she embroidered, and studied the arts like, poetry, painting and calligraphy. She was lucky for then not very many people got educated. 

     Soon she married the Emperor of China and gave birth to her only son, Zaichun. After that she turned into the Imperial Consort. When her husband fell ill she had to take over the political needs. One day when the Emperor was dying Cixi burst in and asked who would be the new emperor. He said it would be their son. Cixi and her controller Ci'An would be the co-regents. The grand chancellors were mad because a woman hadn't ruled since 1,000 years before. She acted fast by killing, arresting, and banishing the chancellors. Then she renamed her son Emperor Tongzhi. Cixi was easily offended, with a bad temper. If someone displeased her she would order them to whipped. Her son was the biggest problem to her. He did not care about schoolwork, instead he enjoyed drinking and smoking. When he married Cixi disapproved of Tongzhi's wife, Alute.  Soon Tongzhi died of smallpox and Cixi regained power. 

     When they needed a man to take Cixi adopted Zaitien, her nephew, to become the emperor when he was older. Zaitien was renamed Guangxu. He liked Ci'An but she had a sudden death in 1881. When Guangxu ruled he wanted to modernize the country. He improved the military, built railroads, took away useless government, and fired officials. Cixi was not happy at all. She got him away from the palace and put him somewhere. China was losing land because of losing wars. Cixi wasn't helping the matter by ordering hundreds of dishes and only eating a few.

     Cixi fled because she couldn't handle repaying the money. When she came back to the Forbidden City 14 months later it had been burned to the ground. Manuscripts were lost, and so were priceless Imperial treasure. On November 15, 1908 Cixi died at the age of 72. 

     This book is a good book for those who want to know about Chinese history, the fall of the Qing Dynasty, or just any interest in history. This book would be good for girls because it shows fashion and cooking. This book would be good for boys because of the wars. This book is recommended for ages 9-13.