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  • Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien
  • Elizabeth Bush
Lien, HenryPeasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword. Holt,
2018 [336p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-250-16569-5 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-16570-1 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-9

Fourteen-year-old Peasprout and her younger brother, Cricket, are proud to have been selected by the Empress Dowager of Shin to be goodwill ambassadors from Shin and study the martial art wu liu at the prestigious Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword in the city of Pearl. Their arrival does not go well, as the two are [End Page 343] considered country bumpkins by the Academy's sophisticated, well-to-do students. The siblings do derive some warmth from their acquaintance with twins Doi and Hisashi, and Peasprout finds a stern but vigilant mentor in Sensei Madame Liao. They soon discover, however, that they have been sent as pawns in a nasty rivalry between Shin and Pearl, and Peasprout is framed for vandalizing the Academy and acting as a spy for the Empress Dowager. Lien constructs a lovingly detailed world from East Asian motifs and potent imagination. The city of Pearl—constructed in toto out of a mysterious organic material—is traversed solely on skates by its citizens, and the fictional wu liu that flourishes there—acrobatic fighting conducted on springy ice skates—stands a good chance of elbowing aside quidditch as the next big novel-inspired sport. Peasprout's hubris and misplaced loyalties set her up as a heroine in line for comeuppance, and she gets her humbling by novel's end. The political struggles between Pearl and Shin remain unresolved, though, as do Peasprout's conflicted romantic feelings for both Doi and Hisashi, luring fans of martial arts, well-built worlds, and romance back for ensuing adventure. EB



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pp. 343-344
Launched on MUSE
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