Official Review: Claws of the Dragon- the Fu Gambit

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ALynnPowers
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Official Review: Claws of the Dragon- the Fu Gambit

Post by ALynnPowers » 21 Jan 2015, 23:13

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Claws of the Dragon- the Fu Gambit" by Paul Carran.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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What happens when legends aren’t merely legends? What if they are true? What if the relationship between myth and science isn’t so distant? Paul Carran explores these questions and more in his debut novel Claws of the Dragon: The Fu Gambit, combining science fiction, fantasy, and action in an adventurous story that will send readers around the world on an international hunt for the keys to unlock a legend of a dragon.

The story begins more than two thousand year ago, with the legend of how Isang, a young Taiwanese girl during the Han dynasty, made a powerful connection with a dragon after a meteor crashed to earth near her village. While the men of her village sought to capture the beast and harness its energy, Isang saw its deeper beauty and defended it. The dragon, in return, protected Isang from the backlash she received, bringing her back to life with its two jade claws before disappearing. The jade claws were hidden by Isang’s followers and descendants on two different continents, where they remained hidden for many generations.

Fast forward to the present day. Fu Dong, otherwise known as the Dragon Master, is head of an international conglomerate and the descendant of the leader of the villagers who once controlled the dragon from the legend. He’s a smart and powerful businessman and an even smarter and more powerful mafia leader whose main goal is to find the two jade dragon claws so that he can control the power of the dragon as his ancestors did before him. Once he does, it is only a matter of time before he becomes the most powerful man on earth. Two young women, Bi and Maia, suddenly find themselves connected and fighting for their lives as forces bigger than themselves draw them to Taiwan, where they must rely on assistance from an undercover CIA agent and other descendants of Isang’s followers to cunningly protect the jade claws and stop Fu from releasing his power over the dragon.

I could go on for hours about all of the things that I loved about this book. The Asian legends involving dragons would have been enough for me; throw in some Maori culture/history from the South Pacific and how the two cultures are potentially connected, and I thought I was going to die of happiness before I even cracked open the book. If you are a fan of Asian or Polynesian culture, history, pottery, language, tattoos, or anything else, I would recommend this book to you in a heartbeat. There is even a glossary in the back for Maori and Taiwanese words that I enjoyed referring to.

This books has a lot of characters, and each chapter switches perspectives to follow around different points of view within the story. Because of this, there are many things going on in the story all at once. However, I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with any of the events or characters, as every single thing that happens is important to the development of the plot. Carran obviously did a lot of research for this story; as a result, the line between what is real and what is fiction is extremely blurry. When an author can make me seriously believe that a dragon can be produced using science and technology, I find it necessary to give the appropriate praise. Kudos to the author for pulling that off!

There were two things that I didn’t much care for in this story. Number 1: the blurb on the back of the book describes this story as “fast-paced.” Now, while there are a lot of events that take place within the story, and while it’s definitely a page-turner of a story, I personally wouldn’t have used this particular descriptor in my own assessment of the book. Gripping, thrilling, suspenseful, sometimes disturbing or gruesome, plot-driven, detailed, and well-researched are the first adjectives that come to my mind. Some sections of the book are highly in-depth descriptions of scientific phenomena or technology that add to the “well-researched” element of the book, but not so much to the “fast-paced” element. In fact, I personally felt that it was a rather slow-paced story up until the last third of the book.

Number 2 is minor, but it stood out to me from the beginning of the book. Product placement. No one in the book just drives a car. Everyone drives a V8 Mercedes E550 or a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder with a V10 engine. Sunglasses are Gucci, jackets are Chanel, and even office chairs are Aeron. While this further demonstrates how much effort the author put in to be as detailed as possible, I found it slightly annoying and often felt like I was reading a never-ending advertisement.

For the above-mentioned reasons, I can’t justify giving this book full marks, despite how interesting and unique the story was. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to those who would like to experience some science fiction mixed in with Asian fantasy. American readers should be warned, however, that the writing style, especially concerning punctuation, is a bit different than what we are used to, but it’s easy to adjust to once you let yourself get immersed in the story.

And did I mention that there is a nice cliff-hanger ending and a sequel on the way? There is definitely a lot more to look forward to with this story!

******
Claws of the Dragon- the Fu Gambit
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Post by Gravy » 22 Jan 2015, 22:17

This sounds sooo super interesting!!! :mrgreen:

-- 22 Jan 2015, 19:20 --

Just an F.Y.I.
The amazon link isn't working.
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Post by Ryan » 22 Jan 2015, 22:30

Very thorough review ... the best kind. Thanks! :D

How far do you think the product placement you say pervades the book is a critique of capitalism? Or do you just think that the author thought "heck it! They'll all wear what I tell them to!" :)
"Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection" -- Victor Hugo.

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Post by ALynnPowers » 22 Jan 2015, 22:38

ryanj1 wrote:Very thorough review ... the best kind. Thanks! :D

How far do you think the product placement you say pervades the book is a critique of capitalism? Or do you just think that the author thought "heck it! They'll all wear what I tell them to!" :)
I actually think that the author was trying to show what kind of lifestyles these characters lived. They had the resources to purchase top brand things and weren't afraid to show it. Very wealthy and powerful people here!

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Post by Ryan » 22 Jan 2015, 22:42

ALynnPowers wrote:
ryanj1 wrote:Very thorough review ... the best kind. Thanks! :D

How far do you think the product placement you say pervades the book is a critique of capitalism? Or do you just think that the author thought "heck it! They'll all wear what I tell them to!" :)
I actually think that the author was trying to show what kind of lifestyles these characters lived. They had the resources to purchase top brand things and weren't afraid to show it. Very wealthy and powerful people here!
I guess they could've shown that in a different way, rather than merely listing brands. Subtle is sometimes best :wink:
"Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection" -- Victor Hugo.

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Post by Gravy » 22 Jan 2015, 22:46

Let's be glad that authors aren't required to pay for product placement :shock:
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

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Post by ALynnPowers » 22 Jan 2015, 22:48

ryanj1 wrote:
I guess they could've shown that in a different way, rather than merely listing brands. Subtle is sometimes best :wink:
I agree. Or less use. Or more description instead, using common nouns. I got it after the first time.
It was kind of fun doing a hunt for all the brands though. :D

-- 23 Jan 2015, 13:49 --
Graverobber wrote:Let's be glad that authors aren't required to pay for product placement :shock:
That might be something to look into!

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Post by Gravy » 22 Jan 2015, 22:56

Let's not give any lawyers any ideas :wink:
Authors have it hard enough!

Does the link work for you?
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Post by PashaRu » 22 Jan 2015, 23:04

Another great review! Good plot summary - substantive but not too detailed, no spoilers. Good critical analysis of content and style. Well written and easy to read. :)
[Insert quote here. Read. Raise an eyebrow. Be mildly amused. Rinse & repeat.]
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Post by ALynnPowers » 23 Jan 2015, 00:45

Graverobber wrote:Let's not give any lawyers any ideas :wink:
Authors have it hard enough!

Does the link work for you?
It does not. I will inform Scott.

-- 23 Jan 2015, 15:46 --
PashaRu wrote:Another great review! Good plot summary - substantive but not too detailed, no spoilers. Good critical analysis of content and style. Well written and easy to read. :)

I can't tell if "easy to read" is a compliment or if you're subtly trying to tell me that I sound uneducated. ;)

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Post by aaa123 » 23 Jan 2015, 01:41

cant wait to read it

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Post by ALynnPowers » 23 Jan 2015, 05:43

Glad to provide a recommendation!

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Post by PashaRu » 23 Jan 2015, 08:23

ALynnPowers wrote:I can't tell if "easy to read" is a compliment or if you're subtly trying to tell me that I sound uneducated. ;)
Of course it's a compliment, silly!!! "Easy to read" means a nice writing style that floooows. No awkward sentence structure, improper punctuation or grammar, dangling participles ;) , ambiguous statements, etc. It lends to the readability of said text. When I encounter those things while reading it's like my brain trips and stumbles, or even comes to a screeching halt. Like this: :angry-banghead:

But when something is easy to read, it's like this: :auto-layrubber:

Понимаешь?
[Insert quote here. Read. Raise an eyebrow. Be mildly amused. Rinse & repeat.]
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Post by bookowlie » 23 Jan 2015, 10:59

Thanks for another great review! Detailed and interesting critique. Great point about the product placement.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

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Post by ALynnPowers » 23 Jan 2015, 12:18

You guys are too nice to me.


Понимаешь
I didn't use a translator. But I think this is asking me if I understand. So I am just repeating it to show that I understand.

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