This is kind of a fun tale — well, fun, that is if you like your fun seasoned with a little paranormal, a little horror, a few improbable events, and just a dash of made-up Chinese legendary warriors.
Sam is 16, Caucasian, the adopted son of a Chinese couple who operate a restaurant cum opium den in China Town. Just which city I have forgotten. They couple also has a natural born daughter.
He is sent by the folks to retrieve his sister, who it turns out, is making a few extra bucks on the side by cutting cocaine for some Hispanic lowlifes. The folks don’t know this, of course. They think she is doing something wholesome. Threatened by the thugs, Sam goes full on Hulk, destroying said thugs, surprising even himself.
Then in subsequent events, Sam becomes even more deadly. Can you imagine!
You can see where this is going, right? It has the feel of a teenage boy’s daydream, where he becomes the outsized warrior hero in the face of danger.
Turns out the danger is the Jiagshi, which are fighter, shadow soul knight, devil of the abyss, devil/ demon. They have a vampire-like aspect. They are legendary from ancient Chinese lore. (Well, actually, no they are not. The idea is from some video game, I think. But why spoil the fun, eh?) It also turns out that Sam is one himself, gaining in power, and he eventually goes to China to rid the land of these Ancient Evil Ones.
Yeah, I know. It is all pretty improbable, and even a decent suspension of disbelieve doesn’t get you through it, but it was a pleasant journey (except for the bloody parts) nonetheless. Here’s my policy — if it is really gosh-awful, I don’t finish reading the book. I mean, why bother, right? But if it has some redeeming qualities, and I have already invested some time, yeah, I’ll finish the book. The writing was good, and by that I mean the sentence structure, the ideas flowing properly paragraph by paragraph, good editing, no boo boos of any kind that I spotted. It was just the rather puerile story line. Maybe because it is only novella length. Perhaps a full length novel version would lay out all the elements a little more slowly, so the preposterous becomes thinner, not tossed at the reader all at once. But what do I know, I am not a writer, only a reader with often rather low standards.
It would work really well as a graphic novel, I am sure. Probably better than as a prose novel.