Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny by Justin Hill

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny by Justin Hill
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Another life-altering quest, another struggle between honor and lust for power, another generation of warriors forging alliances and enmities. The adventure, romance, and artistry of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon continues in this novelized companion to the first ever Netflix debut film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny based on the novel by Wang Dulu.

Seventeen years after the legendary fighter Mubai dies protecting the world-conquering sword The Green Destiny, four great warriors are called together to guard the formidable weapon once more. The forces surrounding the sword irrevocably altered the life of Shulien, Mubai’s lover, but seventeen years later she is still honor-bound to defend the blade from the power-hungry warlord Hades Dai. The young fighters Wei-fang and Snow Vase, switched at birth, also have heritages and inheritances that inextricably link them to both each other and the fate of the sword. And Silent Wolf, Shulien’s former fiancé, returns from presumed death to thwart Hades Dai—and rekindle an emotionally isolated Shulien’s feelings.

Jam-packed with all the hallmarks of an epic adventure—sacrifice, battles, betrayal, vengeance, redemption, and destiny—this saga also explores the deeper meaning of true heroism and virtue. As Wei-fang and Snow Vase search for identity and forge their places in the world of warriors and heroes, Shu-lien and Silent Wolf struggle to reconcile both the traditions and heartbreak of the past with a fragile hope for the future.

Seventeen years have passed since Shulien last set foot in the world at large. Much has changed since then, but even more has stayed irrevocably the same. The lust for power as it battles against honor is an eternal war about to reignite with a group of new, young warriors hungry for fame and honor.

Shulien is a holdover from the first novel and she was by far my favorite. Her way of looking at things was different than anything I’d ever encountered before. She placed herself into exile only to be dragged out into the thick of it, just like any heroine would be in a time of crisis. She handles her forced return to society well, even if she can be a touch cranky at times.

The would-be pairing of Snow Vase and Wei-Fang is an old story, one that we’re all familiar with. They’re on different sides of the battle and yet, are drawn to one another. At first, Snow Vase really got on my nerves. But as I came to understand all she was putting at risk and the mother she was trying to make proud, it all seemed to make sense. Also, once she meets Shulien and later, Wei-Fang, she becomes a more well-rounded character. Wei-Fang is a typical boy. All he wants is to be a great warrior and almost immediately gets himself into trouble because of it. They make one of the best matched couples I’ve seen lately.

Having never read or seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this novel was a new experience for me. Although not my usual reading fare, I found the characters interesting and the story full of action and adventure. I always tend to enjoy novels that visit the next generation, bring the past into the new chapter. The sword play was so well written that even someone unknowledgeable in such arts was easily able to imagine the flow of metal and bodies as the opponents fought. An intriguing and fascinating look at life in a long ago world.

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