There is an eloquence to Young Adult fantasy that you don’t often find in other genres. The first instalment in Virginia Cheong’s series offers a level of enchanted storytelling that is a nice change of pace from other such Young Adult books.
The most significant difference is the subject matter itself. While there are many fantasy novels involving dragons, Cheong blends elements of ancient Chinese culture with that of the Western world in order to provide an intricate story that is both informative and relatable.
Within the story itself, we follow the journey of Master Li and his son who are tasked with locating the ancient Guardians, who are systematically hunted down by the Heiling clan with their own evil intentions, in order to restore peace. The twist here is that these ancient Guardians have all seemingly lost their memories and their minds due to the pain they have faced in past lives and it is up to our protagonists to guide the Guardians back to greatness.
On top of the natural level of adventure that is bound to ensue and the dangers that our heroes face, the book also provides some mystery in regards to the plot of the Heiling clan, as well as a good deal of cultural diversity. As the first in the series, Cheong provides an adequate introduction into the story and leaves the reader with enough of a compelling ending to continue the series.
The characters within the story are interesting and well thought out but they do lack the level of conviction you would usually find in Young Adult fiction. Master Li can be a little too passive as a character at times and the novel relies on the action around him to move the story along as opposed to extensively developing his character and relationship with his son.
Additionally, the level of writing is a little basic with grammatical errors here and there and when coupled with the unrealistic dialogue, this can make the storyline difficult to follow. However, if you can move beyond the writing technique, and are looking for some Young Adult fiction that provides some cultural diversity, then it can be a compelling read.
- Provides a story with cultural diversity and a unique take on Young Adult fiction
- An original story with adventure, mystery and an interesting ending
- Original characters that blend Western and Eastern culture
- Little character development through the story
- Writing can be basic with grammatical errors and unrealistic dialogue, making the story difficult to follow
– Written by John Ardic