Maisie Chan is the winner of the 2022 Children’s & YA Jhalak Prize. Her debut Tiger Warrior series is engaging, albeit a bit prescriptive, though her background as a storyteller shines through in each book. 

All three begin with a prologue where the villain is introduced, revealing their diabolical plan. We get a taste of the character before we see the plot. We are introduced to a Demon with nine-tails, the Nian beast, and the Dragon King.

In book one, Jack is poised to face the Dragon King in an epic fight. The second book contains back matter: tables, defined zodiac signs and even a word search. The last book has a Q&A with the author along with a full description of each zodiac animal. Humorously drawn, round-eyed characters in action sequences are in a hybrid text format which works well.

Words inform, making it ideal for early chapter and early literacy. Kids may be confused, though, by the British English. Vocabulary such as “trotter,” “juddered” and phrases like “raring to go” may be obstacles to comprehension. Parental guidance is needed. Recommended for second- and third-graders, this adventure series that will interest children who are into videogames like Persona or books like The Lightning Thief.

Tiger Warrior: Attack of the Dragon King by Maisie Chan (2023)

Jack loved to play videogames. Defeating dragons with his avatar inside castles was as close as he got to being part of a real adventure. Jack’s world changes, however, when his Yeye reveals his secret, showing off melee skills that can only come from the most experienced fighter.

Quickly, Jack learns he comes from a long lineage of Tiger Warriors, just like his father and Yeye. He inherits the Jade Coin, the most precious object in the Universe. With it, he is able to conjure up a portal to a magical kingdom.

He meets Princess Li and dragons of all types along the way. Can they protect the villagers from the Dragon King?

Tiger Warrior: War of the Fox Demons by Maisie Chan (2023)

In the sequel, War of the Fox Demons, Jack has to save the Summer Palace from a new formidable enemy who wants to take over the entire Jade Kingdom. A detour to the library for necessary research would help him focus.

In this second installment, we get a better sense of how each animal sign works and how Jack harnesses their powers, gaining strength to fight for good. He becomes more adept at using the Jade Coin. Jack teams up with Princess Li once again — this time with a mission to save the Summer Palace from plummeting into an eternal winter.

 

Tiger Warrior: Rise of the Lion Beast by Maisie Chan (2023)

The third installment, Rise of the Lion Beast, Jack’s nemesis, the Dragon King returns and summons the Nian to do his bidding. Nian is a formidable and legendary monster capable of destroying village, eating crops and people.

Jack is whisked away from Lunar New Year celebrations to protect the Jade Kingdom. He continues to familiarize himself with the zodiac animals, tapping their powers for appropriate combat. The cliffhanger promises there will be more to come.

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