What is this about?: This is an introduction to Missy Masters as much as it’s a story about Chinese mythology and lore as readers are told the dual stories of how Missy came to take over her grandfather’s superhero persona and bring down a wall that has encircled China.
What else is this about?: I would have said it’s also about how Missy became the new Mr Mystic, but it’s of equal importance I think.
Should you read: I’m a little ambivalent about this one because I just lost steam half-way. Or it lost steam.
Blurb: Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather. She also got his preternatural control of shadows and his enduring legacy as the legendary vigilante superhero, Mr. Mystic.
After a little work, the costume fits OK, but Missy is far from experienced at fighting crime, so she journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather. She becomes embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the allegedly mythical nine dragon-guardians of all creation.
When Lung Di—Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy—raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr. Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier.
It’s a superhero novel, a pulp fantasy novel, with lashings of kung fu, immense kick-ass dragons and an unfailingly sympathetic heroine—yes, it’s another wonderful Angry Robot title.
Ambivalent as I am, there is no denying this is a strong series debut, with diverse characters and a diverse world of urban fantasy involving Chinese mythology. And dragons, and really that right there was one of the big reasons for me to read this book.
Missy, like the wealth of secondary characters, is a strong character, filled with snark galore and a fierce desire to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. She, like him, can control shadows but is untrained, which is why we have Then and Now chapters.
The Then chapters tell the story of her journey to meet her grandfather’s teacher so she can convince him to help her master her powers. This part of the story is filled with so much wonderful Chinese mythology and the intricate character relationships, I thought it deserved its own story/book instead of being part of this one.
It made me think that the Then chapters were there to elevate the Now ones in part. I mean, it’s a story about Missy trying to figure out why someone’s erected a wall around China, but there was something lacking for me. I can’t really pinpoint it, but I found the chapters in the past much more interesting.
I am growing so tired of split timelines or dual timelines for that matter. Is linear storytelling going out of fashion?
I hate to admit this, but there was also a point when Missy got tiring to read. She’s always on, always snark-filled and I didn’t feel like she ever had downtime. I think I had a problem connecting with her, I think, because of it. Maybe, that’s who she is though? Maybe it’s just me.
Will I give book 2 a chance? Probably. But I need to decompress from this one before I even think about picking the next one up. What do you think?