Image from Goodreads
I was given a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
The story centers on Liz, born of half Australian and of half Chinese descent. Growing up in Australia, she isn’t very interested in her father’s ancient Chinese stories. She is concerned with problems that are far more contemporary — such as environmental issues, and particularly her friend’s handsome brother who is an environmental activist. But her disinterest in Chinese culture changes when her two worlds collide, after a catastrophic accident sets thousands of ancient monsters loose near her home. Suddenly Liz must learn many new skills and call on all of her Chinese heritage if she is to prevent the monsters from destroying Earth. Helped by her twin brother and best friend, Liz sets out to discover why the monsters exist and how to stop them. When she is injured in a battle, she must travel to China to seek a cure that is spiritual as much as it is physical. But can she find the old man who can help her before the monsters catch her? How will she manage in a country that is so strange and yet so familiar? And can she learn enough about a world she has ignored to stop the monsters in time?
I really respect the author of this self-published book, I think it must take a lot of courage to put yourself out there in the way he has by choosing to self publish. I really, really wanted to like this book because I am all for supporting new writers and self published writers.
When I first read the synopsis of this book I thought it sounded a little strange but it did sound unique and so many books are just same old, same old these days. I thought the plot did sound interesting if a little hard to pull off, and if it was done well it could make a fantastic book. I’ll give this to Chu Shui, the element of the book that I was most unsure about, that of the magic pen, was done pretty well. When it was first introduced I thought it could give lots of opportunity, even if it did remind me a bit of Penny Crayon! Unfortunately I don’t think the magic pen idea was utilized very well, in fact the initial idea of it was barely used, and I did think it could have been used to great effect and made a unique plotline. In some way it gave me the impression that the author didn’t really know what to do with the idea, or if he did that it wouldn’t make enough of a story so he decided not to make it a major plot point.
When it came down to it I felt that a lot of the time Chu Shui was trying to stretch the story to make it into a full book. The fight scenes became very repetitive which made them somewhat predictable. After a while I became bored with what should have been the most exciting parts of the book and I began to get the impression that the battles were added because the author felt that the story was getting boring. If my impression is true it’s a real shame because I generally prefered the sections between the battles. I liked the way that Chu Shui used old chinese tales to link to how Liz and her friends should fight, I particularly liked Liz meeting the Grandfather and finding out about the history behind her methods. I know the whole book couldn’t be made of that, she needed to be able to apply what she had learnt, but I think sometimes it was cut down in favour of battle scenes.
I think this book could have been so much better. The premise was good but it felt like I was reading a first draft (and not an especially good one at that). With a bit more work and editing it could have been enjoyable, but I began to wish I had another book with me by the end.
But hey it didn’t bring out the feelings of hatred that I have for Twilight, so if you think it sounds good download it, it’s not expensive. Just don’t bother spending your money on the paperback.