How can I describe the sense of wonder I experienced when I finished this book? I can not. This was a wonderful, glorious journey, but this book is not for everyone.
I think that people who like me grew up on enormous amount of Hong Kong movies will love it. People who went to Asia and saw with their own eyes that alien for Westerners multi-layered culture will love it. For everyone else it's a gamble.
I spent 9 months in Asia, and still pretty much don't know anything of the culture and way of thinking, but I can recognise what Kylie Chan showed to us in White Tiger
, and I think it took an enormous amount of research and talent to do it.
It's a beautiful book, which if you are patient enough will give you a glimpse of Chinese culture and mythology which you practically don't see in modern literature.
It's slow, it's evenly paced and that's why the relationship which develops between Emma and John Chen is completely believable. An employer and and employee first, friends second, master and his student third... It's gradual, but never boring. Leo, Mr.Chen's bodyguard and Simone - John's daughter are absolutely delightful, and Emma herself is a strong character who I totally fell in love with from the very beginning when she resigned from her job as a teacher.
There are so many mythical characters, Chinese gods and demons, traditions and complicated teachings. It's beautiful how John teaches Emma martial arts and how to work with her chi, how she becomes so much more than she thought she'd ever be.
I'm not going into details of the plot, I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I'm in awe of this book and I'm so relieved that book #2 Red Phoenix
comes out in October, and book #3 Blue Dragon
comes out in November. I need to know more.