Monday, January 15, 2007

Jade Tiger - Jenn Reese

Hello, Lovelies! I apologize, I meant to have this review posted far sooner, however the ice we are covered in is messing with my internet connection and it just didn't happen! Before I get to it, I just want to remind everyone that we are on MySpace and having a total blast, so be sure and check us out and all the great authors we have added as friends! Also, next Monday dee will launch her FAB pick, so look forward to some great reviews, interviews and another contest! And since I'm so late in posting, without further ado I present to you my review of-

Jade Tiger by Jenn Reese

Shan Westfall - half-Chinese, half-American, one hundred percent kung fu badass - is on a mission to recover five mystical jade animals before they fall into the wrong hands. Fifteen years ago, Shan's mother led a secret society of female martial artists sworn to protect the small but powerful sculptures. Then the Jade Circle lost four of the five animals during a murderous attack on their sanctuary - and Shan's destiny was sealed.

Now an adult and the protector of the remaining figure, a jade tiger, only Shan can recover the jade crane, snake, leopard, and dragon. Joined by geeky archaeologist Ian Dashell, her quest for the statues takes her on a dangerous trek across three continents.

But when Shan finally confronts the man who destroyed her past...
can she possibly succeed where her mother failed?

As for the BCC, this one isn't too far off the mark. As is true in most cases, it isn't entirely accurate but doesn't shy too far from truth to really irritate me, as you know has been the case before. So, I won't really spend anytime on it. It does do a really good job of giving the reader a clue to the plot within the pages, so I think I may have to give it a thumbs up.

Tiger starts with a Prologue, Hunan Province, China Sanctuary of the Jade Circle Sixteen Years Ago, the fateful day Shan and her father are forced to leave the Sanctuary of the Jade Circle. We see the day through a child's eye, as she is forced to leave behind her mother to save her own life. Shan leaves the sanctuary feeling unsure of what her future will hold and angry that she didn't get to stay and fight alongside her mother. And as you know, prologues aren't my favorite things. But the prologue in Tiger actually lends to the story and is written in a way that sucked me right into the story and had me eager to read the rest.

That said, the prologue states it was sixteen years ago, yet a few chapter later, after the NOW starts, the book says it happened fifteen years ago. Now I understand if that sounds like a small thing to take offense at, but unfortunately, this reader likes the facts to add up. So when I got to the contradiction, I actually stopped reading to see if I had made the error, and my reading pace was slowed. I found myself looking for other contradictions and that made it far harder for me to simply enjoy the book.

Shan Westfall is indeed, as the BCC suggests, a "kung-fu badass". In the years that followed her escape from the sanctuary, Shan studied martial arts and honed her fighting skills so that when the time came she would be ready to take back the remaining jade animals. When she happens to see an article in a magazine that features a picture of a professor with the jade crane sitting behind him, Shan knows the time has come.

Sneaking into the university at night, Shan finds that some one has beat her there and is not only looking for the statues but has hurt an innocent man in the process. Ian Dashell, archaeology professor watches through near unconsciousness as his savior appears in the form of a beautiful woman, who is as lethal with her body as she is lovely.

Once the intruder is gone, Shan learns that the crane is not at the school, and if she'll entrust Ian with the story behind the crane and why it is so important, he will take her to it. But it isn't just the crane Shan needs, and it turns out that Ian may know where another of the jade statues is, and with the bad guys hot on their trail, Shan, Ian, and Buckley (Ian's friend that was pictured in the magazine article) set off to get the jade statues before they fall into the hands of the same people who killed her mother.

It is apparent throughout the book that Reese obviously knows her martial arts. The fight scenes in the book are written in a way that have you on the edge of your seat with descriptions that have you actually envisioning the fight. I do so love a kick ass heroine, and Shan is definitely that. I enjoyed the chase to reach the animals and I enjoyed the action and descriptions of the various fight scenes.

The book however, does not move at the pace in which it starts. Reese throws in a very stilted, unbelievable romance between Ian and Shan, that many times had me wanting to yell at Shan for her stupidity at getting so easily distracted. She has spent her entire life wanting to get these statues, and is very close to achieving that goal, but she allows herself make-out sessions in the woods , while the bad guys get a head-start on her? I just didn't believe it. As focused as Shan supposedly is, I just cannot buy her falling in love in the short space of time she spends with Ian.

The basic premise of the book is intriguing, and well worth the read. But I think Reese missed an opportunity for a great series here. But by having Shan find all of the animals by the end of the book it simply felt rushed, and Shan coming to terms with who her mother was, and her own self worth felt much like the romance - unbelievable.

Tiger is Reese's debut novel, and with time, I think she'll become a name to watch for. There were definite POV problems, instead of alternating, we get the first scene from Ian's and then go to Shan and only Shan until the last couple of chapters. I wouldn't have minded only having Shan's voice if it would have started that way, but it didn't and Ian deserved a voice. For now, I can say that while there were definite aspects of the book that just didn't sit well with me, the action and mythology of the Jade Circle, made it worth my time to read.

Take Care


Jane said...

This is one of those Juno Books, right? It has a beautiful cover. Did you find it in the bookstore?

DeeandDee said...

The cover is nice looking in that pic, unfortunately, up close and personal, it has all these dots that I think are supposed to make it appear like artwork, but just looks funky.

Paula Guran sent me this one and the anthology you guys have been mentioning over on your site. I doubt I get any more books by her to review, as I don't think I gave it quite the glowing review it was expected to get. Of course, I'm but a lowly blogger, that Klausner chick dug it completely. ;)

Jane said...

Klausner likes everything. :) I will employ the "wait and see" methodology. As for being a lowly blogger, heck for a small print publisher, I think its the best advertising. The word gets out and people can decide for themselves if the storyline fits their interests.

Jenn said...

Thanks for the thoughtful review! Can't say I disagree with any of your comments. Hope I do a little better next time!

Jenn Reese