Okay, the title was a bit tongue in cheek, but the content is not. Tim Maleeny's Stealing the Dragon is a fresh and original debut. Gosh, and this year is a great year for debuts! It's well-crafted storytelling, through and through.
I mean, who isn't crazy about a female ninja assassin?
It's the sort of book that makes you say, "Oh cool! Now that's the kind of book I've been looking for!"
Okay, it makes me say that. But I bet you'll like it, too.
- 1.) How to be Fresh #1: Give a hard-nosed detective a sidekick who is a female ninja assassin. He lives for honesty; she lives for justice.
- 1.) How to be Fresh #2: Make said ninja assassin a lesbian.
- 3.) How to be Fresh #3: Keep said sidekick offstage--except for intriguing backstory--for three quarters of the book.
- 4.) How to Break the Rules #1: Open with a dream that is backstory, too. Talk about a double whammy. Then use the scene to hint at a character so intriguing and mysterious, that you can't help but keep reading.
- 5.) How to Break the Rules #2: Make a good half of the book in italicized backstory, but make it so interesting that you couldn't put it down if you tried.
- 6.) How to Break the Rules #3: Write a hard-boiled mystery/thriller (whatever) that is half-told through the eyes of a child training to be a ninja assassin.
- 7.) How to be Quirky #1: Describe fascinating sidekick as, "part demon, part heavenly spirit," (87) or "Dirty Harry in a leotard." (97)
- 8.) How to be Quirky #2: Throw in an earthy reporter who will spend no more than three hours a day indoors and refuses to eat sugar.
- 9.) How to be Quirky #3: Add a computer genius called "Sloth," who is so good he's almost part computer himself.
- 10.) How to be Original #1: Instead of Jack Bauer, try more exotic torture scenes: snake pits, locked rooms full of scorpions, ...
- 11.) How to be Original #2: Cool martial arts tricks with somersaults and wooden swords. They can be really cool in books, if described well. (And they are in this book.)
- 12.) How to be Gripping: Mix quirk and gore, love and death, loyalty and betrayal.
- 13.) How to Prove Your Skill: Make me cry in public. What a story!