Sunday, June 12, 2011
It has been a long time since I reviewed a book. I have a young adult wuxia novel today. It is called Shrouded Path by Aron White. It is the first of the 'The Doorway Cycle' series.
I have never heard of western writers experimenting with chinese wuxia novels earlier. I guess that gives the book unique twist.
The book follows the adventures of Jun who is seperated from his father in the beginning of the novel. The novel follows his life as he searches for his father. He gets together with his friend and seeks jutice from the corrupt governer of Kunming who is connected to his father's disappearance.
The novel is rather short and reads more like a slice-of-life story than an action novel. The novel goes all the way from Jun's father's disappearance to his kung fu training and return to Kunming.
There are essential 'chinese' elements like village, dragon, kung fu and rice. However, this makes the novel rather stereotypical. There is more conversation than action and the novel doesn't 'take off' until the end by when it is too late. The action is more realistic than what we see in Hollywood films but not as exciting. One more thing that made the novel a little boring was the lack of 'high' stakes.
The climax (if there was one) didn't have the desired effect because the story didn't build up step by step. I am used to watching Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee kung fu action movies with high entertainment value and unrealistic stunts so I probably didn't like the realistic action without any 'wow' factor. Someone else could have a different opinion on this but since the novel is aimed at young adults who like quick and entertaining books, it could've used faster pacing. Also, action looks better on screen.
The book started well (initial chapter) and ended well (final chapter) but the rest of it was not so 'well'. The novel ends with a cliffhanger leaving the reader wanting more in the next book.
Overall, good for someone willing to try something new. However, be warned that the story progresses slowly.
Does not live upto expectations of non-native Chinese for whom Wuxia means Jackie Chan movies with unrealistic stunts
Note: Review copy was provided by the author.
You can purchase the book at amazon.com or Barnes&Noble bookstore.
Here's a link to the author's site: http://aron-white.blogspot.com/2011/02/shrouded-path-arons-whites-new-novel.html