Small Shen is the amazing story of Gold - a stone spirit and a chronic troublemaker in the court of the great Gods of Chinese mythology. A mix of Kylie Chan's brilliant storytelling and Queenie Chan's beautiful illustrations, Small Shen is a fantastic treat for fans of White Tiger. Readers will be thrilled to discover the events leading up to John Chen and Emma Donahoe's story in this wonderful prequel.
Shown through Queenie Chan's stunning illustrations and comics, the story follows the stone spirit Gold's entertaining adventures throughout history. His escapades include seducing a dragon princess, attempting to steal one of the Tiger's wives, making bets with demons, and working for the Blue Dragon of the East. Eventually, as a result of his crimes against Heaven and his constant philandering, Gold is ordered to join the household of Xuan Wu, the Dark Lord of the Northern Heavens. Xuan Wu is also known as John Chen, a Hong Kong businessman.
The story then follows Gold and Jade - the dragon princess - in contemporary Hong Kong. The two small shen must help guard John Chen's beloved human wife and baby daughter from demon attack. John Chen is vulnerable to attack while living on Earth, but his family are in the most danger of all...
Small Shen is a unique piece of work for fans of Kylie Chan to treasure, but also a fantastic introduction to this gripping series.
A most intriguing book, I must say. I have always held an interest in mythology from many cultures, but I admit the Asian ones tend to get a bit confusing when it comes to the "rules and regs" they are bound by... or not, in many cases. None the less, this was a book well worth exploring, as it made a point of breaking up the large volume of words with scenes rendered in cartoon, or more aptly, graphic-novel, style panels, giving the reader a welcome break from the bulk text.
I have not read any of the stories this book forms a companion with, eg. White Tiger, which this story is a prequel to, but that doesn't detract from the story in the least. In fact, the author even explicitly states this at the start of the book. That was a great relief to read, I tell you, as characters in Chinese mythos can get very muddled due to a great many entities with very similar natures, abilities and personalities.
A nice quiet read to have when lazing in the sun, or perched on a chair in a doctor's waiting room. I took it with me on a recent visit to the doc for my youngest to get his booster shots, and it generated some interest amongst the other "pending souls" waiting for their chance to seek advice from a medical oracle. It was quite nice to have an easy opportunity to introduce a good book to a group of strangers.
Overall, a worthwhile book to have handy, though some may feel it a little overpriced for what you get in your hand... but it's more about what you get inside the covers that sets the price for me, and for that this book was reasonably well priced. Certainly worth watching for sales and discounts at your favoured bookseller, if you want to snap this up as a great deal though. Knock 10% off the price and you have a real bargain!
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