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Friday, March 23, 2007

Book Review: Ninja by Racy Li

I originally won this in the Debut A Debut Contest at Writing Aspirations for my review of Tower of Shadows by Drew Bowling--basically I was randomly picked out of a hat. I had originally thought to possible read this book for the contest, but decided to pick a 'safer' book due to its critical acclaim and what not. Now I know why I don't listen to critics and should be listening to the little guy inside my head.Now, Ninja is not your typical science fiction style novel. Actually, it's so far from what I normally read that I can't necessarily recommend it to anyone unless they are the type who enjoys this style of literature. What style is that? Erotica. And not just normal erotica, but some strange mixture of urban fantasy, scifi, and naughty erotic fiction. Having said that it has to be mentioned that because Ninja is erotica, there is heavy emphasis on sex and its related topics--graphic sex scenes, etc. I had to initially come into this book with a very open mind. Would I have normally picked this up (or downloaded it as it is an e-book)? I can't say. If it were just an erotic novel without any of the nifty scifi stuff in it, I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance. However, because Ninja has so much scifi and fantasy woven into the steamy love story I managed to plow right through it with my interest peaked.
Synopsis (Racy Li's version): In a parallel world of alchemy, demons and superheroes, even the most ordinary may harbor the most extraordinary of secrets. Liz Blackwell leads a double life, as an attorney by day, and a freelance spy on the side. Unknown to her, her geeky secretary Kent Alistair is the mysterious superhero known simply as “Ninja.” In the middle of an international game of crime wars, demons and mystical objects, can these two people learn to trust each other before it is too late?

Now, this world is a rather interesting one when it comes to genres. On one hand you have a world set after an alien invasion by a species known as the Joran, which in turn releases all the magic energy that creates all these superheroes, etc. On the other you have superheroes such as "Ninja", most of which are supposed to be registered by the government--well a certain entity of it. Then you also have magic and such. All this is woven into the world Li has created. Personally I thought she did a fine job pulling all these very opposite genre related ideas together.
Writing wise, Li is a decent writer. I found some grammatical errors and spelling errors, but otherwise I was not at any point confused by what she was saying or attempting to portray. The sex scenes were...well....steamy to say the least. For my tastes certain scenes were a little more risqué than I am comfortable with. Again, this is personal taste. Perhaps you like such scenes and would enjoy them a lot more than I did.
I think some of my favorite parts of the the book were in the descriptions of Ninja and his abilities. She has taken what we commonly know as a ninja and added on very powerful and magical based abilities. Ninja's can pass through shadow unseen for example, and not just "hiding" but actually practically invisible. So you learn really quick that in order to stop a ninja you have to have LOTS OF LIGHTS. There's other things too, such as how alchemists access their abilities, what they can control, how dangerous they are, etc.
The book ends pretty much giving you the hint that there will be a sequel, or should be. I am curious to see how all pans out in the end if such a book is written.
So if you are into erotica, this book is for you. If you can't handle erotica, avoid it. If you've always wanted a very futuristic or fantastic setting mixed with hot, steamy, and wildly passionate sex scenes and a strong--and very human--love story, then you should definitely check it out. You can find her website here.

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