The Blue Lotus is the fifth volume in The Adventures of Tintin series. It follows Tintin and Snowy on their adventure in China where they team up with the Sons of Dragons to combat opium smuggling. There, he uncovers a nefarious plan by film director Rastapopoulos.
After having received criticism of depicting racist stereotypes in his previous works, Hergé carried out extensive research on China with the help of a Chinese student, Chang, while writing The Blue Lotus. There is a conversation in the book between Tintin and the Chinese orphan, Chang, where they each share their stereotyped impressions/beliefs about each other's culture and have a good laugh at how ridiculous it was. Perhaps Hergé should have done some research on Japan too, as the Japanese character, Mitsuhirato, did come across as being a rather negative stereotype of Japanese people.
The book opens with an introduction to the main characters. I found this useful as I embarrassingly have not read any other books in the Tintin series. There is some background information on the the author's real-life inspiration at the end of the book. This is interesting and enhances the reader's understanding of, and appreciation for the story.
This is a fun read with language suitable for young readers. However, it is possible that some parents would not appreciate the depiction of opium smoking and opium dens. Buyer beware!
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Age range: 9 to 12 years old
NA's rating: 4/5