Monday, July 25, 2011

"Dragon's Pupils- The Sword Guest" by Martin Chi Shui

Dragon's Pupils - The Sword GuestFrom Goodreads: "When East and West combine…

Half-Chinese, half-Australian, Liz is not interested in her father’s ancient Tao wisdom, or his cryptic tales. She is more concerned with environmental issues—particularly the plan to mine one of Australia’s great landmarks, Wave Rock. Her father’s latest gift, a Chinese calligraphy pen, seems set to take its place in her bottom drawer forever. 

Then Wave Rock is blasted open by something more than a mining operation, and Liz finds that she must battle monsters from ancient times as well as creatures from other worlds, all intent on destroying Earth. She must call on all her powers, from both her Eastern heritage and her Western upbringing, to save her world. Her pen becomes her way into a new and magical world, and Liz discovers she has powers—and allies—that she never could have guessed. 

An exciting, fast-paced tale that combines the wisdom of ancient tradition with the pace of a Kung Fu movie and brings them to life in contemporary Australia, this exciting tale takes the best of two cultures and blends them to open up a new world of adventure and mystery."

When I first read the synopsis of this book I had two thoughts, one being, that the book sounded to be completely out of my comfort zone (typically I read YA PNR/ UF, I cannot recall ever having read, what I could like to call, a 'foreign fantasy' before- a fantasy story which takes place entirely outside of North America and focuses intently on a foreign culture- their behaviours, practices, histories, and so forth), the other, that there seemed a lot to be going on in the story, with all of the talk of magical instruments, environmental issues, monsters, and warriors, but since I am one to rarely turn down the opportunity to read and review a book for an indie author I figured I would give the book a chance and try to go into it with an open mind. And after reading the book I personally don't find it to be my cup of tea- usually when I start a book I can read it in a day, two at most, however this book took me over a week to read because I could only handle reading it for half an hour, or an hour, at most. 

While all of Chinese folklores which were scattered throughout the book were extremely interesting I just felt that they added very little to the story- they seemed more like an "Hey, let's have an educational moment in the middle of this fight scene" instead of "This ancient story is necessary to the book as it is the sole fuel of the story". Also, as this book is fantasy-based, and unrealistic or seemingly impossible plot elements are a component of fantasy books, this book seemed beyond unrealistic (and highly unbelievable) at moments (for instance, a fourteen year old character hopping on an airplane all by herself with very little thought, knowing that she most likely faced certain death in doing so or vampires who run around wearing backpacks- who are dubbed "backpack vampires"- who actually turn out to be aliens hellbent on destroying landmarks on Earth in order to get rocks that they desperately need to continue fueling their planet/ way of life) and in those moments I felt that way too much seemed to be going on at one time. 

In addition, I felt that in some points of the story the characters were extremely melodramatic at the simplest of things (or things that didn't seem to be all that great of a concern- ie. when one of the characters shirts gets ruined and she is totally distraught it), though at other times, when events which deserved to be somewhat overdramatized (ie. when a character lost an arm), the characters kind of brushed them off with a "Meh".

All in all, while the book is grammatically well written, I think that a bit of editing to the storyline would serve it justice, allowing the book to reach its full potential.

Rating: 1/5

I received this book from the author to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.  


  1. It's a shame, really, but good grammar does not a good book make. Unfortunate, but true. I love that you were entirely honest and fair in your review! :)

  2. Ah... too bad that the history wasn't really integrated with the story. Plus, I don't think I could get into a character that was more concerned with the clothes than limbs! lol Great honest review!

  3. Bummed to hear the story wasn't as good as the blurb made it seem. I fell in love with Australian culture and myth when I was there, and I've always loved eastern mythology, so I was all ready to check this book out. But if those elements aren't woven in well, and if the characters are all over the map, reaction-wise, then I guess I'll pass too. Thanks for the honest review!



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