Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Shaolin Burning Shaolin Burning
by Ant Sang

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang is an example of that curious literary form: the graphic novel or for the old fuddy duddies in our midst a comic book (with the emphasis on the book).

Shaolin Burning tells, in pictures and words, the story of the destruction of the Shaolin temple and the birth of wing chun kung fu. The story follows the life of Plum Blossom who born on the night the temple was destroyed and the Monk Who Doubts – a possible sixth survivor of the temple’s destruction. Plum Blossom wants to know why Monk Who Doubts killed her friend, while Monk Who Doubts wages a personal vendetta against the Manchu invaders.

In part history book and part dramatisation of the genesis of wing chun kung fu this was a curious read and reminded me strongly of The Cartoon History of the Universe series with the one part history to one part drama exposition style (and this is no mean comparison, let me assure you). Ant Sang has a flowing illustrative style and conveys in a few frames, image and speech bubbles the story essentials. If I have a suggestion for improvement for Shaolin Burning that would be that it form the start of a series about the history of kung fu and related martial arts – one book is not enough.

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