Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jet Li's Fevered Dream

Title: The Destroyer #115: Misfortune Teller
Author: I honestly can't tell.

I am not proud of having read this book, but since it's the one that gave me the idea for this blog, I felt it was only fair to make it the first post.

Imagine, if you will, a literary version of a movie directed, written, and produced by Jet Li, with the able assistance of some of the Crouching Tiger people and whoever was resposible for Bruce Willis's sly comments after dispatching bad guys in any of his pre-Sixth Sense movies. Try to keep in mind while conjuring this imagery that I shudder to think what the word "literary" thinks about being used in this context.

This series, published by Eagle Books (yeah, I haven't heard of them either, but they apparently have a lot of series like this), revolves around Chiun, a Korean, and Remo, his adopted "white son." These two are the Masters of Sinanju, which is both the name of Chiun's home village, where he apparently has more money then God, but doesn't bother to spend any of it, and of the martial art they practice. This is where the crouching tiger comes in. Let's be clear: I love action novels, I love a well-written fight scene, and I've always wanted to develop some skill in martial arts even though, as a geek, I don't get into a whole lot of fights that don't involve double-clicking the other combatants. However, as a geek, I also have a certain respect for the laws of physics, many of which are disregarded in the art of Sinanju. Chiun and Remo are also, for some reason, agents of a super-secret US agency known as CURE (no word on that acronym's definition), which employs them as spies/assassins/rather violent diplomats.

Misfortune Teller revolves around Chiun's falling in with a cult leader who predicts the coming of pyon ha-da, when all people will become Korean, there will be no more night-time (again with the physics!!), and the extremely racist Chiun will no longer have to be slightly ashamed of his white son's honky skin. The cult leader turns out to be infected by a demon which our heroes apparently encountered previously, but they don't realize that until the closing chapters, after they have dealt with its attempt to take over the world, or at least south-east Asia. Oh, and there are appearances by the heads of state of both Koreas, each involving Remo shoving them around.

The worst part? I found myself wondering about what role that demon played in their past, and I actually wanted to find out. Literary treasure? No. But I had fun reading it, even when I was laughing at, rather than with. Keep in mind that I enjoy a lot of admittedly bad movies. Don't seek the book out, but if you get it for free at a friend's garage sale, it will occupy a day or so when it's too hot to move.

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posted by reyn at 1:35 PM


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hi! I'm one of those people you don't know who is starting this blog with you : ). I'm making my first post tonight, so I just wanted to wave in greeting and say hello.

8/02/2006 10:39 PM  

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