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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Power of Powers by Lon Dee

Summary: Orchid Huang and her brother Monkey couldn't be more different. She loves reading, studying, and learning about the world. He likes kicking back with his feet on a chair and his headphones turned up. She dreams of great discoveries while they travel the world with their archeologist dad. He just wants to find ways to avoid hard work.

On a trip near the ancient silk route, they make a discovery that changes their lives--and just might change history. A mystic force takes them three thousand years into the past where they get stuck in the middle of a war between two powerful dynasties. Worse yet, it's up to them to stop the war.

Orchid wants to help. Monkey just wants to get home. An evil sorcerer wants them dead. With the help of an old hermit, a young girl, and some friendly gods, Orchid and Monkey discover their own strengths and powers. Will it be enough to fight off the sorcerer, magical beasts, and an entire army of battle-hardened soldiers?

The Power of Powers is a tricky book for me to review. While the plotline is solid, and the historical artefacts of the book are intricate, the narrative lacks a distinct voice and the pace of the story suffers because of it. 3 stars out of 5.

The story is very slow to start in terms of action/suspense. Monkey and Orchid's parents are university professors, and they go with their parents to excavation sites. The beginning has a lot of description of Chinese history and of the family dynamics. It is over described in terms of the narrative (number of adjectives/adverbs used) and the amount of time devoted to the siblings' background. It causes Monkey's disinterest in what is going on around him to transfer to the reader.

Once the story switched to Orchid's point of view, the story picked up, both in plot and style. Orchid's interaction with the painting is the first hint of drama, and I was excited to see where that would lead, however the drama comes to a standstill again. At this point, it would have been better to just start the fantasy element; unless the reader is extremely interested in Chinese archaeology and history, there is simply too much description of it for the lack of plot development.

Overall, the story needs more suspense and/or character development (that is not related to Chinese historical facts or archaeology) much sooner. Also, Master Mu is underdeveloped as a character. He could bring a lot more excitement and personality to the story. 

The Power of Powers has a solid plotline with a lot of historical artefact. With work on a more engaging narrative style and voice, it could be a fun read.

Lulu (2.00)
B&N (1.99)
Amazon (2.00)


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