Tag Archives: Asian

Hotsuka’s Story (Dragon Pearl #1)

Title: Hotsuka’s Story

Author: J.F. Mehentee

Series: Dragon Pearl #1

Hotsuka used to be a Meijin, a celestial entity, the pinnacle of a soul after a multitude of rebirths. But he broke one significant taboo, and now he’s no longer Meijin, but retaining enough of that nature to not be completely Human, either. He’ll have to learn to adapt to the world as a creature in it, both for his own sake and the sake of his son.

It’s always nice to read a story with really solid writing. This one is well-crafted, and the story is also intriguing. Hotsuka (and all the Meijin, really) considers himself the highest form of life, but he’s confronted with the problems no one thinks exists when he makes a series of bad choices and ends up impregnating a human woman.

It’s interesting to see how the relationship happened, and the various consequences Hotsuka suffers because of it. I also found it interesting that Hotsuka is so blind to his own failings—he can admit, a little, that what he did to the woman was wrong, but he almost never thinks about her after the fact, focusing instead on his son. He doesn’t consider how easy it was for him to turn from “saving her”, which in turn granted her a life far worse than the one she used to have.

But the journey is about his own character growth, and how he begins to see humans as people he can’t just run roughshod over, imposing his own will. (I still wish he’d been forced to tie up the loose end with his wife, but it’s hard to wish more of him in her life.) He also discovers just what it means to be caught between races as he is, and how that lends him certain advantages over normal humanity.

Overall this was a pretty good read. The fantasy world is Asian-flavored but distinctive, and Hotsuka ends with a new purpose that I hope future books will explore more. I rate this book Recommended.


Fire on the Mountain (Mountain Trilogy #2)

Title: Fire on the Mountain

Author: Michelle Isenhoff

Series: Mountain Trilogy #2

Quon knows he’s not cut out for his father’s trade of making carriages, but when an accident with horrific consequences strands him, he has no idea what to do. Taking up the offer of an old man, he agrees to journey and learn . . . and eventually to become a hero. A mighty dragon is terrorizing the villages in the mountains, but Quon is destined to defeat it. Or is he?

This is technically a sequel, although almost everything in this book happens before the first one, so the only difference is readers will walk into this knowing how Quon’s quest has to end. And that makes everything just a little tragic, because Quon’s mistakes and triumphs and growth are ultimately pointed towards a different end than anyone he knows expects.

I like the setting, once again. It’s a fantasy vision of rural, historical China, and Quon lives as many kinds of laborer as he’s working his way towards defeating the dragon. It’s interesting to see how many of his decisions have reverberations throughout his life, and the lives of others.

It’s also nice to see a bit more of Song Wei and what became of him after the end of Song of the Mountain, though it amounts to little more than a good epilogue for his earlier quest.

Overall this could easily be stand alone, even though it will help to have read the first one just to understand more of the very beginning and very end. I rate this book Recommended.