The Jaws of Death

This short book tells the tale of the recently trained warrior Kwang-Su, who must undertake an almost impossible quest in order to win the hand of Ling-Ling, the girl he loves. The story is pleasingly old-fashioned in its telling and no surprise to find it based on an ancient Chinese myth. In many ways it is reminiscent of the updates of Greek and Roman myths by the likes of Enid Blyton and is a good introduction to the Eastern style of storytelling for those looking to read something a little bit different.

The author does a good job bridging the gap between respecting the myth and modernising it. The narrative is simple and action-packed with no time to waste on superfluous description or backstory for after a few pages we are plunged right into the middle of Kwang-Su’s adventure. The characters are drawn over the course of a well-chosen line or two and there is plenty of peril and moments of humour.

Aided by some dynamic manga-style, black-and-white illustrations by Nana Li, this is an easy-to-follow story that will appeal to the younger reader.