Posted in book reviews

Wings of a Flying Tiger by Iris Yang

This may be the weirdest review I’ve ever written. Probably not for anyone reading it, but definitely for me personally.

Why? I’m glad you asked!

Okay, you probably didn’t, but I’m gonna tell you anyway…

I’m not normally big on war/battle scenes outside of the fantasy genre. I have no idea why, but give me a smoked orc, a decapitated goblin, burnt elf flesh – even a highly bloody GOT battle – and I’m all in! But a real life battle scene? Machine guns, fighter jets, human vs. human in a horrific and pointless war??? Nope. Can’t do it.

But of course, that’s exactly how Wings of a Flying Tiger began — with a jet fighter shoot out and a pilot seeing his best friend being shot out of the sky while trying to parachute to safety… right before his own plane is brought down! This is NOT my kinda thing!!

So why did I love this book SO much???

Wings of a Flying Tiger by Iris YangWings of a Flying Tiger by Iris Yang
Published by Open Books on May 20, 2018
ISBN: 194859806X
Pages: 254
Source: Open Books
Goodreads
five-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

World War Two. Japanese occupied China. One cousin's courage, another's determination to help a wounded American pilot.

In the summer of 1942, Danny Hardy bails out of his fighter plane into a remote region of western China. With multiple injuries, malaria, and Japanese troops searching for him, the American pilot’s odds of survival are slim.

Jasmine Bai, an art student who had been saved by Americans during the notorious Nanking Massacre, seems an unlikely heroine to rescue the wounded Flying Tiger. Daisy Bai, Jasmine’s younger cousin, also falls in love with the courageous American.

With the help of Daisy’s brother, an entire village opens its arms to heal a Flying Tiger with injured wings, but as a result of their charity the serenity of their community is forever shattered.

Love, sacrifice, kindness, and bravery all play a part in this heroic tale that takes place during one of the darkest hours of Chinese history.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free from Open Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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My Thoughts on Wings of a Flying Tiger:

I’m going to try my best to write a spoiler-free review, but it’s going to be tough. There’s so much I want to say about this book! At the same time, I don’t want to give too much of the story away or ruin any twists.

Let’s get this out of the way first – This book takes place during an incredibly brutal war. There are LOTS OF TRIGGERS: rape/sexual assault; extreme violence and lots of dead bodies; in-depth depictions of war scenes and horribly cruel crimes. But if you can make it through all that, you’re probably going to add Wings of a Flying Tiger to your favorites!

The Story:

While the violence is horrific, the story itself is compelling, well-written, and super fast-paced! I found myself pausing so my heart had time to slow down.

Yes, the story takes place in a war. Yes, it’s gruesome. Yet it’s also filled with hope, love, and joy.

The main character, Jasmine Bai, leaves school to travel home to convince her parents to leave Nanking before the Japanese invade. But her warning comes too late and she finds herself in the middle of Japanese-controlled territory! She ends up taking refuge at an all-women college inside the International Safety Zone, a 2-mile stretch that’s supposed to offer safety to the surviving civilians. But the Japanese military doesn’t obey the rules of the zone for very long!

Just when it seems Jasmine’s life might regain some level of safety and “normalcy,” her life is shaken up yet again when she and her cousin come upon a Flying Tiger (an American pilot volunteering to fight for China against the Japanese) named Danny.

The Characters:

The characters in Wings of a Flying Tiger are part of what keeps the story flowing at such a fast and engaging pace. They’re so well-written it’s hard not to find yourself completely enthralled with them, wondering what’s going to happen next and how they’ll get out of their current predicament.

Jasmine and her cousin, Daisy, are sweet and innocent in the beginning of the novel and somehow manage to maintain some of that in the most brutal of situations. Daisy especially seems sheltered from the harshness of the war as the two girls go through life just trying to survive.

The Fighting Tiger, Danny, is suffering from PTSD (obviously not referred to as that in the book) and struggles with nightmares while at the same time being anxious to get back to the fight after his plane is brought down. If I talk too much more about Danny, I’m afraid I’ll ruin some things so I’ll just end right there on him.

There are plenty of other supporting characters, good and bad. Everyone I either loved or hated.

Final Thoughts:

This was an incredibly hard book to read. Not because the story, writing, characters, or anything like that was “bad,” but because the story, writing, characters, and scenes were so good! The story takes place in the middle of a war, while Japanese soldiers are committing the most horrible atrocities imaginable — and the author doesn’t back down from that. She writes it in all its horridness. Normally, I can’t stomach this stuff…

So I cannot believe how much I loved this book. The entire time spent reading I either cried, laughed, experienced joy, pain, relief, fear, love or hate. And I felt emotionally spent by the time I reached the end. But sometimes, the best books just do that you!

What do you think? Have you read Wings of a Flying Tiger?

Have you ever read a book that had all the stuff you hate reading, yet loved the book anyway? Leave me a comment below and thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet!

five-stars
Posted in book reviews

The Autobiography of Satan

The Autobiography of SatanThe Autobiography of Satan: Authorized Edition by William A. Glasser
Published by Open Books on February 21, 2017
Pages: 161
Source: Open Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

This is the story of Satan's many struggles, across the history of Human existence, to unshackle the Human mind, and open the gates to forbidden knowledge.

From the moment of his first emergence as a single spark in the dimness of prehistory, to the more enlightening force into which he evolves across the full span of human existence, Satan, as he now clearly illustrates, has been urging human beings to open their eyes to the world around them, and to continue seeking, with unfettered minds, for ultimate answers, yet to be found. To do so he must struggle against the persistent attempts to stifle that urge by the "spoon feeders," as he calls them, individuals who have insisted, within every age, and often with a bloody fist, that they, and they alone, are the possessors of the only beliefs that every human being should accept and live by, without question. As Satan traces the history of their many attempts to stop human beings from thinking for themselves, he also takes his readers on a search for the ultimate source of all evil in this world. Readers will obviously enter the book with the standard concept of Satan as a supernatural figure of evil. They will leave the book, however, with a better understanding of how such mind-twisting concepts have been used to keep people away from the "forbidden" knowledge that lies beyond the borders of entrenched beliefs.

I received this book for free from Open Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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My Thoughts on The Autobiography of Satan:

Poor, pitiful Satan. He’s been so misunderstood and gotten a really bad rap all these centuries. And he’s stayed so quiet and continued to take the blame for all the evil in the world, but is it really fair? He believes it’s high time we all hear him out!

Similar to the Screwtape Story?

The first thing that came to my mind when I began reading The Autobiography of Satan, was C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape Letters is one of my favorite Lewis books and I saw a lot of similarities between the two.

The Screwtape Letters are the correspondence between two demons regarding winning the fate of one Christian. But The Autobiography of Satan is Satan’s side of every story ever told about him in every religion. (Although, he seems to go back to the Garden of Eden story more than any other.)

And he claims we’ve gotten him ALL wrong.

Like the demons, who believe their side is the “right” side in The Screwtape Letters, so Satan believe he’s the hero in his own story in his autobiography.

Satan’s side of the good vs. evil story…

So Satan transcribes the “real” story to his scribe, Wag, who I assume is some lower level demon. When I realized that W.A.G. is the initials of the author, I laughed out loud.

As Satan retells stories of himself throughout the ages, his tales are broken up by conversations between him and Wag. These conversations were some of my favorite parts of the book! Wag isn’t exactly happy with being chosen to record Satan’s story, and he doesn’t seem to find it all that interesting either… and he’s not quiet about it!

The whole book centers around our perceived reality of good and evil, and Satan’s trying to convince the world that they’ve misjudged him. He’s just trying to open up our minds and give us all the knowledge we’re missing out on! There’s a lot of history and myth surrounding his background and he just wants to set the record straight!

As he says at the start…

Your distorted sense of me has persisted for much too long now, and to your own detriment, I might add, for it has been used incessantly to scare you into an unquestioning state of submission. There have been far too many twisted accounts of me, both mythic and legendary — and all, of course, unauthorized.

Satan

Turns out, he really doesn’t like being portrayed with horns and a tail all the time, either!

Who’s going to enjoy this book…

While I really enjoyed this story, it’s not going to be for everyone. If you’re the type to take things a little too seriously, you’re probably not going to like this book. But if you enjoy a bit of satire and a good dark comedy, this is definitely going to be right up your alley!

There were times when I felt like I got a little too bogged down in a history lesson, but I actually appreciated the detail and it totally fit with Satan’s personality. After all, this is his chance to finally defend himself (and get rid of that horrible image of a red being with horns and a tail) and he needs to make sure we understand exactly where he’s coming from!

I wasn’t really a huge fan of the ending. I’d rate it a full 4 stars if the last chapter just wasn’t there, honestly. But with it, it’s a 3.5 from me.

So I recommend The Autobiography of Satan to fans of The Screwtape Letters and anyone who enjoys a historical satire.

So those are my thoughts, what do you think about The Autobiography of Satan? Have you read it? Leave me a comment below!

three-half-stars