Tuesday 22 May 2012

143. Tales of the Blue Jade Book 2: The Mapmaker's Apprentice by Peter Cooper

Tales of the Blue Jade Book 2: The Mapmaker's Apprentice by Peter Cooper
Published May 2012 Scholastic

From the publisher:

Dillen, Koto and Tajni are free of their cruel masters and ready for their next adventure. Dillen is drawn to a respected mapmaker's appeal for an apprentice and hopes to be chosen. But many others want the job, and the test for them all is to undertake a journey to a mountain pass haunted by a fearsome creature said to be the size of a barn and able to move like a hunting snake. Dillen and his friends soon discover they have an even more perilous mission on their hands, one that could be the end for all of them ...

Dillen is ready to start his new life.  Koto is tending stables at a local inn, where Tajni cooks and Dillen is currently serving drinks.  His dream however is to become a mapmaker, so when there is word that the mapmaker Master Liao is looking for an apprentice Dillen believes his luck has changed.  His dream is somewhat crushed when he reaches Master Liao's only to find he is not the only boy with dreams of becoming a mapmaker.  To chose his apprentice, Master Liao sends the eager boys on a quest to the border of the empire where an abandon watchtower sits, there the boys must climb to the top of the tower to see what is written on the wall. The first boy to come back and tell Master Liao what is written on the wall will become his apprentice.  This journey may seem simple enough, but the roads leading to the tower are closed because there is a monster killing travellers who dare pass.

This small fact doesn't deter Dillen, who with the help of Koto and Tajni begins the trek to the tower.  As with book one, the group are met with all kinds of challenges on their journey.  They are faced with rock demons disguised as monks, and are saved by a sendokai with a white tiger.  They are robbed of all of their belongings, nearly swindled by a shukun, who ends up helping them on their journey. They defeat the koorai, with their eyes blazing with blue light.  They meet up with some familiar characters from book 1...and Dillen finally finds out what is so special about the beautiful feather Heito gave him at Ganran.

There is action aplenty in this book, and it will be hard to put down.  As well as the fast paced nature there are also strong themes of friendship, honour, kindness, loyalty and generosity of spirit.  We see the friendship between the three characters grow stronger in this book and in the decisions that they have to make, we are given a deeper insight into their true characters.

The question is...does Dillen make it to the tower, and is he the first to return to Master Liao?  You will just have to read the book to find out!

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 10+
Read it if you like: Tales of the Blue Jade Book 1: Ghost of Ping Ling

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