Author, Gary Morris’s new book, Miao-Shan: The Awakening, is a little bit history, a little bit fantasy, and is strongly influenced, Morris says, by Chinese mythology. The story opens in 1896, when ten-year-old Lei witnesses the murder of her parents. She is adopted by her grandmother, who provides a loving home. Still, Lei harbors deep-seated anger toward any injustice, real or perceived, and has difficulty managing that anger.
At the front of the book, Morris included a glossary of Chinese terms, and a brief summary of historical and social information, beginning with the First Opium War, a time when the Chinese held the largest economy in the world. This information is a wonderful aid to the reader, especially those of us not familiar with Chinese history or its language.
The opium trade started and maintained by the British, and the treaty that ceded Hong Kong to Great Britain are just two of the sources of Chinese resentment toward the western world. It is in this environment that the book is set.
After taking Kung-Fu classes to help funnel some of her anger and energy, Lei begs to attend the Shaolin Temple for training to become a nun. Her grandmother reluctantly agrees, and soon the masters at the temple recognize a special talent in Lei. She masters levels of Kung-Fu that most monks don’t master for years. She is soon recognized as being the newly awakened Miao-Shan, Goddess of Justice.
There are a lot of valuable words of wisdom scattered throughout Miao-Shan: The Awakening. Among them is admitting that you are good at something is not arrogance, it is simply self-realization. This reminds me a bit of the teachings of Carl Jung, the great psychologist, as well as the Biblical teaching not to hide our “light” under a bushel basket.
The target audience for Miao-Shan is 18 years and older. Although I first thought it to be a young adult novel, anyone who enjoys history, fantasy, a tiny bit of romance, along with a crime-fighting Kung-Fu master will enjoy this book. It is a bit lengthy, with some wordiness that could be omitted, but I do recommend it if this genre is your cup of tea. Stay tuned for more, as this is to be the first in a series.
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
The copy I read was a pre-publication version. The errors I found have been corrected. Some problems are often caused by the computer’s spell correction thinking it knows more than the writer does. Others may not be errors at all, but instead, may be the difference between American English and British English.