Sign of the Qin
by L.G. Bass
beautifully written book is a story based on the history of ancient
China and a few of its myths. Set mostly in the mountains and the city
of Bai Ping in ancient China, this story incorporates colorful
characters that include the Tattooed Monk, Silver Lotus, Monkey, Prince
Zong the Starlord. It also includes a band of outlaws, the foremost of
which are Black Whirl Wind and White Streak, a host of heavenly beings
and a large number of demons. In the story, Yamu, the Lord of the Dead,
is trying to free the worst of his demons from the prison the Master
Hand, Kind of Heaven, placed them in. The Starlord is the only one who
can defeat Yamu.
One of the
themes in this book is learning to love others. Monkey learns this
lesson when he is appointed as the Starlord's guardian.
"'Once again Monkey. you have been unable to love anyone but yourself' [said the Master Hand]'" (p.24)
Prince, who had never smiled before, instantly smiled back with such
love that the ape, not very loving by nature, spontaneously swept the
lad into his arms and swung him up and down until the child laughed.
The laugh tickled Monkey so much, he swung the Prince up and down
again. And again the Prince laughed. And so the two, Starlord and
Monkey became fast friends in a spontaneously loving moment of smiling
and laughing." (p.121)
end of the book, you realize how much Monkey has grown since the
beginning. You see how he has come to love others more than himself and
how instead of sinning out of his own greed, he sins for the betterment
"'If Monkey were
still stone, he,' he [the Master Hand] said sighing, 'I would scatter
him to the four quarters. But he is a guardian now, and he has sinned
out of love. How shall I punish him Calabash, without doing harm to our
theme is second chances and not to waste them. Monkey had been given
many second chances and he has not used them wisely. We hope that
caring for the Starlord will help him learn.
the Tattooed Monk would certainly advise against it, the Master Hand
intended to give Monkey another chance. In spite of repeated sins and
shortcomings, the Master Hand still had faith in the ridiculous ape. No
soul yearned for immortality more that Monkey. And no soul had pursued
it through as many lives with out success." (p.24)
give this book three stars. I really enjoyed reading it because of the
author's amazing ability to keep you guessing until the end. The plot
twists keep you interested in the storey throughout the book. And while
the plot does get a little complicated (there are about three to five
storylines you have to keep up with), the author does a pretty good job
of keeping everything relatively easy to follow. The settings are
described so vividly, they seen almost like places from fairy tales.
Character development is a very important part of this book. You can
watch the characters grow through out the course of the novel, like
Monkey and the Starlord especially. You can see what affects the
Starlord's life and his personality and his ideas of right and wrong.
This book is a lot like Bucking the Sarge in way it takes
you through the character's lives and shows you how their experiences
affect them. Well suited for fantasy lovers in seventh grade and up
(it's too complicated a plot for anyone younger), this is a beautiful
written book and I highly recommend it.
Perry October 2005