Monkey (The Five Ancestors #2)

Title: Monkey

Author: Jeff Stone

Malao, the Monkey, can’t sit still when the temple where he’s spent all his life is destroyed. But he doesn’t have the strength to confront his enemies directly, so he does what a monkey does best: makes trouble. But as he’s trying to save the Dragon scrolls and foil Ying’s plans, he starts uncovering secrets . . .

The second book in this series takes the unusual tactic of being more of a companion novel than a direct sequel. The events here start exactly where Tiger started, but it all plays out from Malao’s perspective (and quite a bit of Ying’s). Since the gaps from the first book, where Fu was off on his own, are generally places where Malao was involved, the gaps for the most part are filled in. But it is good the plot stretches beyond the end of Tiger and takes the boys farther on their quest.

The strengths of the first book are equally strengths here: complex characters, a twisting plot, furious kung-fu. And this starts to broaden the story to the rest of the world, dropping some nice hints about certain relatives as well as laying a foundation for what looks to be an eventual plot against the Emperor.

Given where this goes, you could almost start at either Tiger or Monkey, so it’s not too important if you haven’t read the first book yet. But it’s a fast, fun read. I rate this book Recommended.

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