Title and Author: Storm in Shanghai by JM Bush
Name of Reviewer: Anna Tan
Reason for choice of rating:
There's no real explicit or graphic violence though violence (mainly magical) is mentioned and there are epic magical battles. There's also quite a bit of death, including a main character death, though they're not described in detail. Slight allusion to sex, nothing described, a bit of swearing, so this one's probably pretty safe for teens and up. (I.e. nothing that would shock a supposedly innocent 13-YO. I know 13YOs are not innocent. Just saying.)
2015 finds former speedcaster champion Jaret King leading a joint mage & wizard law enforcement team in Shanghai. Sent to investigate the disappearance of a local wizard, a fairly innocuous-sounding missing persons case soon devolves into a hunt for the most deadly magical terrorist in history.
Storm in Shanghai is a story about a white American in China, written by a white American in China. Bush offers you snippets of life in China's biggest city, quick offerings of cultural exchanges, and descriptions of the locale, in the midst of a witch hunt (wizard hunt?) led by a white man with a team of locals. It's an interesting balance he's managed to walk, which should satisfy even the most politically correct of the cultural critics out there (I think. There were several jibes, but nothing I wouldn't say to a fellow Asian. lol).
The novel jumps between several main timelines: the terrorist attacks in 1990, the rise of wizardry in the early 11th century and present day events in 2015. This makes the beginning of the story feel long and rather clunky, making it a little difficult to get into immediately but it's worth it. By the time everything weaves together into one horrific disaster somewhere in the middle of the book, you can't help but feel invested in all that has happened so far and hope for a solution that's not painful or nasty, and certainly please, no more deaths. (Case in point: I read the first maybe 30% sporadically over the span of 5 days, picked it up again today thinking I'd read for short while before doing something else, and then find myself finishing the whole thing because... darn it, NO. WHY DID YOU DO IT JARET.)
Bush's writing style is pretty straight-forward and action-driven, so don't expect anything poetically fancy or pointlessly beautiful. His strength is in the plot, action and characterisations, even of the villain. There's a nice complexity to his creation of mage-wizard relations and tensions, making it believable.
good for boys who like magical battles
Action, Magic, Wizards, Witches
Title and Author:
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon by H. L. Burke
Name of Reviewer:
The little guys win the day!
What a wonderful story showing that it isn't one's physical size but the size of one's love that matters.
Thaddeus Whiskers is enchanted to stay ever an adorable kitten and given to Princess Clarice as her royal companion on her eighth birthday. Thaddeus and Clarice are totally happy until Wizard Hermes messes up on his attempt to make Thaddeus more perfect for Clarice's 10th birthday and Thaddeus is sent away from the castle. Thus begins a series of adventures as Thaddeus attempts to make his way back to his beloved Clarice and finds some new friends along the way.
I absolutely love the interaction between so many of the different characters and how they help each other in this story and happening to know a little bit about the author, I am not surprised at all that a cat and a dragon are so prominently and wonderfully featured.
Delightful story for both young and old.
Children who love cats, dragons and/or princesses will surely enjoy this story but so will parents and grandparents who get to read it to them and even those who read the story without a child to listen along.
Did you have a favorite character or least favorite character?
Even though I am not a cat-lover Thaddeus was adorable; I really liked Grandious the Dragon and the interaction between Grandious and Thaddeus. Without giving too much away, I have to say that Snickersnout also surprised me.
What mood did this book leave you in?
Happy that all is restored
Animal, Children, Dragon, Adventure, Juvenile, Magic, Princesses, Wizards
Reviews by Readers
This blog features reviews of Fellowship of Fantasy titles submitted by readers.