Reviewed by Karen Morse
Song Shan is only twelve years-old when a disaster
apart her family, destroying everything she holds dear. She flees
Chinese homeland entrusted with a small jade tiger and the legacy of a
society of female fighters. The tiger is just one piece of the
mystical Jade Circle
that has been at the heart of her family
for almost fifteen hundred years.
The Jade Circle is
cornerstone of [her family’s] past and [their] future, of [their] power
[their] pride” (32). As an adult Shan is driven by the unbalanced
influence of the tiger and she knows she cannot be content until the
reunited and in the right hands. Shan’s quest to recover the four
statues takes her across three continents, testing the limits of the
arts skill she has cultivated since girlhood and forcing her to
demons in her past.
JADE TIGER is a romance as well as a fantasy novel steeped in Buddhist
and Shaolin kung fu. Shan's tenacious personality finds its match
a cute, geeky professor type, who has been influenced by the Circle's
statue. While Ian grounds Shan, his
is a bit one-dimensional; he's a good guy to the extent of having no
significant personality flaws. That being said, careful readers
notice that Ian does seem to bear some striking similarities to Shan's
(a character barely seen in the novel).
JADE TIGER is also a thriller. Fast paced and
readable, the novel is over almost before you know it. The
of the martial arts is evident throughout the novel, imbuing a story
fight scenes with an air of authenticity.
Though Shan is an expert fighter, her character is made real in
imperfections and in her extreme sensitivity to them.
A sympathetic character fully realized by Reese, Shan’s
development over the course of the novel is extremely satisfying.
Reese peoples JADE TIGER with a wide variety of supporting characters
an academic Don Juan, a one-eyed bruiser, and a feisty sixty-year-old
martial arts skill in her little finger than most have in their whole
While Reese’s freshman effort lacks a certain sophistication,
it does show a great deal of potential. This reviewer fully
see more from Reese in the future.
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