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A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes Vol. 1

por Yong Jin

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Legends of the Condor Heroes (1)

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2711875,321 (3.64)8
THE CHINESE "LORD OF THE RINGS" - NOW IN ENGLISH FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE SERIES EVERY CHINESE READER HAS BEEN ENJOYING FOR DECADES - 300 MILLION COPIES SOLD. China: 1200 A.D. The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Half its territory and its historic capital lie in enemy hands; the peasants toil under the burden of the annual tribute demanded by the victors. Meanwhile, on the Mongolian steppe, a disparate nation of great warriors is about to be united by a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan's army. He is humble, loyal, perhaps not altogether wise, and is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way: privileged, cunning and flawlessly trained in the martial arts. Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China - to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing - to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn. Translated from the Chinese by Anna Holmwood Volume 2 - A Bond Undone - will be published in January 2019.… (mais)
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And then a hero is born...

After his father, a Song patriot, was murdered, Guo Jing and his mother fled to the plains and joined Ghengis Khan and his people. Loyal, humble and driven, he learned all he could from the warlord and his army in hopes of one day joining them in their cause.

With the help and guidance of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing returns to China to face his foe and carry out his destiny. But in a land divided by treachery and war, betrayal and ambition, he’ll have to put his courage and knowledge to the test to survive.

Thank you Goodreads and St. Martin's Press for a chance to read this!

I was excited when I first heard they were going to have this book translated into English and then I saw it on goodreads as a giveaway. I was so excited for a chance to win this. When I got the email saying that I won I couldn’t wait for it to arrive.

I was able to finish the book but it was and it wasn’t what I was expecting. The fight scenes were hard to follow. I think someone who is more familiar with different styles of fighting would enjoy them more. Some of the moves were hard to picture. It was slow in the beginning but picked up. All around it’s not a bad story. maybe down the road I will try reading this book again and will be able to see and appreciate it more. Happy reading everyone!! ( )
  jacashjoh | Jun 8, 2021 |
This is the first volume of one of the most popular Chinese martial arts novel series ever written, and it reads like an excellent novelization of a kung fu film, although of course it's really the other way around given how influential this series has been on depictions of martial arts in all forms of media ever since it was first published in the 50s. If you've ever seen a kung fu movie, chances are it borrows heavily from Yong's work in tone, setting, or spirit. Naturally wuxia/martial arts novels have had a long tradition dating back centuries before these books were written (in a pleasing fan-fiction-y touch it's revealed that the protagonist Guo Jing is a distant descendant of one of the characters in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Novels), but Yong's work is fully its own despite inhabiting the well-trodden, familiar universe of medieval China. Yong evidently didn't set out to reinvent the wheel in terms of wuxia tropes, but in much the same way that a genre classic like Harry Potter outshone a whole host of similar young wizard adventure novels by being the best version of that genre, Yong's work hits the optimal sweet spot of family drama, political turmoil, patriotism, and of course plenty of incredibly-named kung fu action.

Sometimes it occurs to me to describe novels as "comic-book-ish". Even the most resolutely naturalistic novels involve a certain amount of exaggeration and poetic license, but there's a particular way of simplifying the messiness of reality while simultaneously presenting complicated narratives with exaggerated human nature and (especially) physical traits that some authors use in their works which reminds me of comic books. Stories of noble, innocent heroes with mysterious dramatic backgrounds fighting sinister, irredeemable villains for life and death stakes while continuously threatened with various forms of supernatural peril will always be popular no matter the delivery format, and this fits that archetype to a T. Guo Jing is pure of heart but a little dim, naturally clumsy but willing to train hard, and as such practically the ideal protagonist, especially once the Seven Freaks begin to train him in the martial arts, each move more hilariously named than the last. The novel's setting during the Song Dynasty's struggles with the Jurchens on one hand and the Mongols on the other (a young, up-and-coming Genghis Khan is a major and sympathetic main character) also lends itself well to action, as the horrors unleashed by the collapse of central authority and the evils of foreign domination have been staples in Chinese fiction since forever. There's also plenty of humor, as the plot is full of farcical contrivances (everyone is related to someone else, there's tons of convenient coincidences, many scenes are done with a perfect comic sensibility). This volume ends on a cliffhanger, after Guo Jing has just discovered important details about his heritage, and even though I've seen some complaints about the translation, I found this a whole lot of fun. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and St Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I really wanted to like the story in this book. I know it’s translated from Chinese and that it would lose something from the original language, but I just feel that the prose is so clunky and amateurish. The story seems to jump around and there is no flow to it. The characters seem stunted and I don’t find myself drawn to them at all. I would really like to see a better translation of the book with less clunky prose. ( )
  Arkrayder | Aug 22, 2020 |
I stumbled by accident over an old review of this book when it was first published in the UK and I was intrigued. I love wuxia movies, so wuxia books sounded very delightful.
I was not disappointed!
The beginning is maybe a bit slow but it is picking up pace quickly and I was engrossed in the story.
Seeing the hero slowly evolving from a slow learner into a hero of his own is truly the beginning of an epic saga.
The only drawback is maybe the sometimes wooden sounding translation, when the text was not as smooth flowing sounding as it most likely is in the original. (too bad I won't be learning Chinese in this lifetime anymore, as I would love to read the original.)
Calling it a Chinese Lord of the Rings of course is bogus and lazy marketing. ( )
  Black-Lilly | Aug 5, 2020 |
Raised on the Mongolian steppes by his mother, both of whom were under the care of the future Genghis Khan, Guo Jing was unaware he was the son of a Song patriot who was brutally killed by the Song dynasty's enemy, the Jin. Only after he had been trained for several years by the Seven Heroes of the South was he told he was meant to travel into China to face an opponent trained by a master of kung fu, the son of his father's sworn brother. But Guo Jing travels with little understanding of who he is to face and why.

For years, I have shied away from reading books by Chinese authors and books about the Chinese even though I am Chinese American. But, for some reason, I felt like I ought to read this one. I am not as familiar with Chinese history as I should be. My education focused on Western history with only the lightest brushes of Eastern history. Perhaps the fact that this book is set during the Song dynasty in the 1200s made me feel this was a good one for me to read.

I prefer to write more balanced reviews that are as objective as I can make them. But, in this case, I was so strongly reminded of my childhood that that might not be possible. I somehow missed the fact that this is a kung fu book, written by a master of the kung fu novel who popularized them in China. The book description talks about Guo Jing being trained and having to fight an opponent. The cover depicts a warrior. You'd think I would have figured it out. Instead, it was all the fight scenes I kept reading. This book is littered with them. But of course it must be! It's a kung fu novel. What is a kung fu novel without kung fu? I do not enjoy violence. I do not enjoy books with copious amounts of fighting. But I didn't mind. Each fight scene reminded me of the old Chinese kung fu movies I used to watch with my dad. Granted, I never watched them closely, but, while reading, I could easily remember and imagine them. It was like having wisps of my childhood fed back into my brain. But what really struck me about the fight scenes in this book versus those in more Western novels was the respect given to and in the battles by the participants. They were different and so reminiscent of what I know of my heritage that I actually enjoyed fight scenes in a book for the first time ever.

But as much as I enjoyed and appreciated this novel, there were still a few things I didn't particularly care for. This first volume spans almost 20 years, so there are massive time jumps, and sometimes they're right in the middle of a chapter. It was a little disorienting. But, with those time jumps, come events that impact the present and future that then need to be told. I appreciate that the characters lived lives during the time jumps and what they did was important to the story, but those bits of information were seemingly dropped in the middle of the narrative when it became necessary for the reader to know that something had happened years before. I liked knowing what had happened because then it made the present story make more sense, but it did make the novel feel a little choppy. Lastly, the point of view shifted around between the two wives, Charity and Lily, in a strange, disproportionate way. This book is the first three volumes of the series put into one, but there is no delineation of this. The story simply runs together. After their husbands are attacked, the story follows Charity for a while, but then it switches to Lily, and then her son Guo Jing, and Charity and her child are seemingly forgotten.

My understanding is that Jin Yong's stories are incredibly popular in China, so perhaps my complaints are due to my Westernized upbringing. Still, the story is enjoyable and does not disappoint as a novel focused on the martial arts. I loved the Eastern feel of it, and loved how nostalgic it made me. Overall, this is a fun story full of adventure and excitement.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a free e-copy. All opinions are my own.
  The_Lily_Cafe | Jun 28, 2020 |
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THE CHINESE "LORD OF THE RINGS" - NOW IN ENGLISH FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE SERIES EVERY CHINESE READER HAS BEEN ENJOYING FOR DECADES - 300 MILLION COPIES SOLD. China: 1200 A.D. The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Half its territory and its historic capital lie in enemy hands; the peasants toil under the burden of the annual tribute demanded by the victors. Meanwhile, on the Mongolian steppe, a disparate nation of great warriors is about to be united by a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan's army. He is humble, loyal, perhaps not altogether wise, and is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way: privileged, cunning and flawlessly trained in the martial arts. Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China - to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing - to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn. Translated from the Chinese by Anna Holmwood Volume 2 - A Bond Undone - will be published in January 2019.

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