My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: October 15th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Friendship, Family
Truth be told, I finished this book a few weeks ago, but somehow I find much easier to review books I’ve either adored or hated. Because, usually, those books get me all fired up. This story… did not. It’s a good beginning to an original and diverse middle grade series, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also one of those books that you need to remind yourself to finish because your heart just does not automatically turn their way.
The East Asian culture and action are what I liked most about it. Faryn is a twelve-year-old girl whose goal in life is to become a warrior. A warrior provides assistance to the Jade Emperor by obliterating demons with the help of dragons. But Faryn is an underdog. No one expects her to become a warrior or to succeed as one. Yet she gets the opportunity to prove herself to the gods and, with some allies by her side, she sets on a perilous adventure.
The adventure itself is exciting and interesting and slightly unusual, but in a good way. I also enjoyed the scenes in which different gods decided to make an appearance. Some of the gods are fun and quirky—really enjoyable to read about. Faryn and company, on the other hand, are just okay characters. I didn’t dislike them, but I also never felt very connected to them or entirely invested. I’m a person who likes to cheer for the underdogs, but only if I feel that they deserve cheering. And while I wanted Faryn to succeed, she never warmed up to me exactly.
It’s a GOOD story with SURPRISING elements but I am still waiting for the WOW factor.
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