This novel reads like a new slant on an old Chinese fairy-tale with Kwang-Su, a young man full of promise who has studied his master's moves from being very young, and now he must go out into the world as a man, as he has learned all he can in order to look after his parents, and someday marry a lovely young woman, then settle down into old age with children around him. He does as he is told, and returns to his parent’s house, but not before meeting a beautiful young girl who he instantly takes a liking to. Her mother however does not like his attention toward her daughter and is intent on dissuading him, telling him she is to marry into money, a Mandarin, so that she will never want for anything she desires. She seeks to use the boy though, when she tells him he can help prevent her marrying such an old man, and if he agrees, he will go in search of a jade mortar and pestle, but the journey could very well cost him his life. Before he leaves, her daughter gives him a few things that might help him in his journey, to stay alive at least. In turn her mother does the same, and as luck would have it, they worked perfectly. He does meet others along the way though, one such man, a genie who takes exception to his shrinking their rivers, but once he explains why he did this, the genie forgives him and even helps him in his journey further than he expected. The question is; is the genie truly helpful,or does he have an ulterior motive?
Only the reader will be able to figure that one out, and have fun doing so.
Kuang-Su is a brave enough boy who seems to have what it takes to get the jade mortar and pestle for her mother in order to win her hand, but time will tell if her mother will keep her end of the bargain if he finds and brings it home. He has to battle several dangerous obstacles, but with the help for the things the mother and daughter gave him, he could stand a good enough chance of succeeding in his mission. Kuang-Su is prepared to cross alligator infested rivers, face cruel genies and fight powerful dragons just to win the love of the girl he has set his eyes on - Ling Ling. He is a honourable boy who does not see why a young girl like her who is pretty and innocent should have to marry a wizened old Mandarin who might not even care for her like he would. Ling Ling in turn would like nothing more than to marry the boy even though he does not have riches, while her mother has other ideas, knowing how poor he is, she has no real intention of his marrying her daughter and wants to elevate her family's position by having her marry a Mandarin.
The Jaws of Death by Malachy Doyle is quick to read and is a fast-paced Chinese style adventure novel that is also very easy to read for those who have dyslexia or other learning difficulties as it leaves out those problem big words associated with other modern novels. It is currently available from Barrington Stoke, the country's leading children’s and young adult’s book publishers in the UK who exclusively publish novels for those with dyslexia in mind. The Jaws of Death is a modern fairy tale that can be read by boys or girls and is aimed at children of ten or above, is educational and at the same time fun. The book also has the names of colours in the story so that your children can get used to their different names throughout the novel.
Review by Sandra Scholes
8/10 from 1 reviews
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