Ahoy there me mateys! So do ye like strong female Dominican-American protagonists, MMA, Thai mythology, crime novels, Muay Thai, and cats? If so this novel might float yer boat.
I first heard about this book from John Scalzi’s 2014 Big Idea post, which is where the author does an interview with Scalzi that discusses the inspiration for the novel. Among these inspirations were men being condescending to women fighters and the author’s frustration about it. Now this novel is way out of me normal genre range – martial arts, urban fantasy, and crime elements. But the ideas behind the author’s impetus for writing stuck with me and the book continued to sit in me ports for plunder list.
A little over two years later, I finally bought the novel and gave it a chance. One of the interesting things about the novel is that the beginning of the book alternates chapters between Jade’s story (the MMA fighter) and the story of Mya, a little girl caught up in the supernatural.
Now the Big Idea post did in fact use the phrase “supernatural bent,” which I of course had ejected from me brain. It did not mention Mya or the non-fighting aspects of the novel at all. So I found meself highly confused the first time the novel switched perspectives. It felt like two completely separate novels for the majority of the book which some readers might dislike. But I loved both and found the switches back and forth to me taste because each character was so compelling. And of course the two halves come together as a whole later on in ways that were unexpected and fun.
I loved Jade and her bad-ass nature and her growth and her relationship with her family and the other fighters. I adored Mya and her spunk and determination. The novel was compelling and offers glimpses of cultures and ideas way outside of me normal day-to-day life. The only minor gripe was that Jade did not sound like a 17 year old. So overall I consider this book a major success.
Side note: At $1.99 this book was a bargain. Also the author apparently has won awards for her science fiction. More books for the ports to plunder list!
The author’s website has this to say about the novel:
Nothing she’s faced in the cage will prepare her…
Jade is a young mixed martial arts fighter. When she’s in the cage she dominates her opponents—but in real life she’s out of control. After she has a confrontation with a Hollywood martial arts star that threatens her gym’s reputation, Jade’s coach sends her to a training camp in Thailand for an attitude adjustment. Hoping to discover herself, she instead uncovers a shocking conspiracy. In a world just beyond our own, a man is stealing the souls of children to try and live forever.
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