Saturday, 15 January 2011

Mountain Dragon: Aspiration by Bradley Clemmons

Title: Mountain Dragon: A New Myth of the Enlightened Feminine - Aspiration
Author: Bradley Clemmons
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Published: Sept 2010
ISBN: 9781432744021
Author website: http://www.outskirtspress.com/BradleyClemmons

Rating: 3/5

The cover on this shows the main character, and is a colourful, yet true reflection of how I picture her. My review does contain a spoilers, up to about 120 odd pages in.
The story begins with Tak and his 'family' of bandits, who have agreed their next caravan target to loot.  On their arrival all is not as they hoped - Ali Khan, a bandit without morals - has looted, killed and mutilated the caravan encampment.  Tak and his bandits set about cremating the remains, in doing so, Tak finds Sam-Pa Drub Mo, whimpering in the wreckage.  She is the only survivor, and is 5 years old.

Tak takes Sam-Pa and a mutual understanding is that he is her new father.  Sam-Pa adjusts to life without her family extremely well after such a traumatic ordeal, allowing Tak to name her Jor-mo.  She sees herself not as a victim, but as someone moving forward and not standing still.  For a 5 year old she is very advanced.  As a parent to a child of a similar age, I find her characteristics and advanced will to accept so easily a little incomprehensible.  Her many skills include learning rapidly, and also sewing her own clothes with little guidance.  She is a genuinly trusting person, and from the outset she is accepted easily into Tak's family of bandits.

Jor-mo has got a beautiful way about her.  She almost seems like an animal whisperer, as she acts like a magnet to needy animals.  Her relationship with the bandits is interesting.  She effortlessly brings laughter and encourages them to share both their knowledge and trust.  From this she learns martial arts, and is looking forward to learning something from each of the bandits.  There are many life lessons in this.  Jor-mo seems to enchant those around her, and they treat her like she's a deity or princess, showering her with gifts.  

There are some concepts in this that don't touch true with me.  Tak talks to Jor-mo about the love of his life, and how to begin with they fought, but then they "were soon kissing and making love"...this made me cringe.  It's not something I would say to my (almost) 5 year old.  When he is then spurned by his love he tells explains to Jor-mo that he "considered jumping off a high cliff"...again, I wouldn't say something so shocking to a 5 year old.  Jor-mo seems in many respects to be treated a lot older than the age the author indicates, this could be attributed to her circumstances though.

 I did find that it was not a smooth read, feeling a bit drawn out in places and the language used slowed down reading for me.  Unfortunately during storytelling by the bandits, which went on for more than 6 pages, I lost interest and couldn't get back into the rhythm of the story, as much as I wanted to, so I've read 125 pages and couldn't go further.

There are some really beautiful descriptions and auras from the characters in this book.  Jor-mo is a lovely character, and I can see how she will easily become a diplomat and champion for whatever balance needs restoring.  Tak is an interesting mentor considering his lifestyle, but none the less, he is very loving and considerate to Jor-mo.  

Book Synopsis:
The first things that hit them - and this was well before they reached the site of the caravan's encampment - was the stench.  The smell of death was heavy in the air...

A dark, evil force, able to strike with overwhelming power has descended into the western deserts of the Middle Kingdom.  With one blow he has shattered the political hopes of two great nations.  One little child survives, a child who has the potential and who will one day have the strength to make all the warring factions of this region stop and take notice.

This riveting saga spans lifetimes, weaving spirituality, magic and the bonds of love and karma.  In this opening volume as we meet our heroine the reader is propelled with her journey of mastery and enlightenment.

Source - A review copy was received in exchange for an honest review.