Title: White Tiger (Dark Heavens, 1)
Author: Kylie Chan
Publisher/format: Voyager, Kindle Edition
How I got this: Bought in Amazon UK Kindle sale
Synopsis (From Goodreads.com):
“Packed with Chinese mythology, kick-ass action, and sexual tension….A smart, entertaining read.”
A young woman accepts a position as nanny to the young daughter of a handsome, wealthy, and mysterious Chinese businessman—only to discover her new employer is really a god…and every foul demon in creation is out to destroy him! With a premise like that, fantasy aficionados and die-hard action lovers alike will no doubt be expecting something exceptional—and Australian author Kylie Chan delivers big time! White Tiger is the first book in Chan’s breathtaking trilogy that ingeniously blends magic, martial arts, and urban fantasy with a healthy dollop of paranormal romance thrown in to sweeten the pot. Fans of Hong Kong kung fu movies and the novels of Lilith Saintcrow, Liz Williams, Karen Chance, Devon Monk, and Ilona Andrews will flip over White Tiger, Kylie Chan’s remarkable non-stop martial arts supernatural adventure love story.
What drew me to this book was that it was based around Chinese mythology – a subject that I’ve always found somewhat interesting. I’d been looking at it for a while, and when it went into the Kindle sale, I downloaded it immediately!
The story centers around Emma Donahoe, an Australian living in Hong Kong who ends up becoming a full-time live-in nanny working for Mr. Chen and his delightful young daughter, Simone. However, things in the Chen household are not as normal as they first appear, and Emma ends up discovering that her new employer is the Chinese god of the Northern Heavens. Oh, and then there’s the minor fact that all the demons in hell are after him and Simone.
Basically, the first half of the book is about Emma getting used to her new situation, and her employers eccentricities and habits. And there’s a lot of passages featuring Emma asking obvious question after obvious question (Mr Chen’s household are awful at keeping their mouths closed) and then being told she’s very perceptive, even though it was really, really obvious. As you can probably tell, I was less than impressed with this.
There’s also the issue that a lot of the story seems to focus around Emma/Simone going somewhere, getting attacked by Demons (often disguised as normal Chinese humans) and having to be rescued by Leo the driver/bodyguard. It seemed to be a but of a formula devised to add action into an otherwise slightly dull plot, just taking the reader through the first few months/years of Emma’s employment, and her finding out that her employer is a god.
To be fair, the second half of the book was definitely better. Admittedly, Emma moves from asking questions to trying to initiate a relationship with Mr. Chen, and this can get tedious, especially as the guy very much appears not to be interested, though this does turn out not to be the case. However, if you look past all of that, the plot definitely picks up. The storyline starts moving on, and I enjoyed it a lot more.
It’s easy to tell that this one is the start of a series, as it’s building up to something bigger, and that’s okay, it’s just a very long book for that. I could have done with a lot less in the first half of the book, really. Emma turned into a pretty good protagonist, though I have to admit that at first I really wasn’t keen on her.
This has a nice element of paranormal romance, and was pretty different to most things I’ve previously read. I’d recommend it for people who like their fantasy a little bit different, are interested in Chinese Mythology or those who like a bit of action in their reads. I’ll definitely be picking up the next one, and hoping that the pacing is a little faster than this one!
Overall rating: 3.5/5