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Jade Tiger    by Jenn Reese order for
Jade Tiger
by Jenn Reese
Order:  USA  Can
Juno, 2006 (2006)
Paperback, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Shan Westfall is a woman on a mission. Driven by her half-Chinese, half-American heritage, she's taken it upon herself to search the world for a series of powerful jade sculptures. Together, the jade animals make up the Jade Circle, a mystical and very powerful artifact guarded by a secret society of female martial artists. Shan's mother was the leader of this society, but the animals were stolen in a ruthless attack on their sanctuary.

Only one of the statues is still safe. A small but powerful tiger, it remains in Shan's possession and rules her abilities. Together with Professor Ian Dashell (an archaeologist) and his friend Daniel Buckley, Shan must fight her way through myriad obstacles - both human and magical - to once again unite the tiger with its brothers: crane, snake, leopard and dragon.

Jade Tiger is the debut offering of Juno Press, a new publishing house that provides 'fantasy with a focus on the female.' If Reese's novel is any indication of the type of books we can expect from Juno, fantasy lovers everywhere can rejoice. This beautifully written novel is filled with everything a reader craves: adventure, romance, a worthy quest, characters we can root for and plenty of magic, myth and paranormal intrigue.

Reese has a spectacular handle on all things martial-arts related, but nowhere is that knowledge more impressive than when she's choreographing fight scenes. Each one of Shan's round-kicks and back-flips seems to leap off the page. It's impossible to put this book down while the heroine is busy tangling with the bad guys ... and heating up the pages as she gets to know Ian. The book is filled with non-stop action, which would almost be too much if not for the wonderful downtime that allows the heroine a chance to unwind and learn a bit about her unlikely companion. A must read for fans of Indiana Jones, Sidney Fox (of Relic Hunter fame) or Lara Croft, Jade Tiger is a wonderful debut.

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