Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend by Justin Hill, Wang Dulu


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
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: The Green Legend 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 fiancĂ©, 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.

MY TAKE:
I love wuxia films and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my favorite films.

In Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the story picks up seventeen years later from the events of the film. Duke Te has died and Shulien must retrieve the Green Destiny sword from his household before Hades Dai gets his hands on it. Complicating the mix are Silent Wolf, Shulien's betrothed; Wei-fang, the son of a concubine; and Snow Vase, the daughter of Jiaolong (Jen Yu in the movie).

This book feels much like your standard wuxia films, but it did have some interesting twists to it. There were magical elements here that were more prominent than from what I remember from the first film. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that, as my favorite parts of the movie were the action scenes, and adding some more mystical elements to it may or may not work for the good of the film.

Speaking of action scenes, there are some pretty good ones here. There are also new warriors introduced here, which vaguely reminded me of Hero (the Jet Li movie).

As for the characters we know and love, there are only two left at this point: Shulien and Jiaolong. I was never really a fan of Jiaolong in the movie, but I started to like her a little bit here. Shulien is still my favorite character because of her grace, discipline and composure, which have not disappeared with age.

The appearance of Silent Wolf was a surprise and I was prepared not to like him. He won me over, though, and I think he and Shulien can work things out. The two youngsters, Wei-fang and Snow Vase, weren't my favorites. Wei-fang was impulsive and proud, and I didn't like him at first. Snow Vase, on the other hand, was too much like Jiaolong, who I'm not a fan of either.

Overall, I think it's a good story, and I'm interested to see how it plays out on the big screen.

Thanks to NetGalley and Weinstein Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The fight scenes are worthy of the legend.
  2. You get to learn more about the characters from the original book and movie.
  3. There are some beautiful, introspective lines here.

THE BAD:

  1. It's harder to get the full effect of the fight scenes on paper compared to seeing it on screen. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You loved the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon movie.
  2. You like wuxia films and novels.
  3. You wondered what happened to Shulien and Jiaolong after the end of the movie. 

RATING:
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