Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions
Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions is author Henry Lien’s colorful, inventive, thrill-packed follow-up to his highly acclaimed 2018 fantasy novel/audiobook, Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword. The original story’s headstrong, impulsive, smart-mouthed title character is back, along with her brilliant younger brother, Cricket; her friends, Hisashi and Doi; her mean-girl rival, Suki; her wise and demanding sensei instructors, and a mysterious young refugee named Yinmei, who may or may not be an enemy spy. At the center of the story is the impending invasion of the sanctuary city of Pearl and its illustrious Academy of Skate and Sword by Princess Dowager of nearby Shin. As tensions mount, Peasprout and her courageous teammates in the battle band, Nobody and the Fire Chickens join forces to defeat the other competitors in a series of wu liu skating competitions and defend Pearl from destruction. Along the way, Peasprout discovers the secret of Pearl, the true identity of the Princess Dowager, the crippling effects of prejudice and fear, and the painful demands of leadership. With its ancient Oracles, Coiling Water Dragons, and ominous Western Belch and its constant references to Japanese and East Asian culture (senseis, koans, chi, shamisens), Battle of Champions provides advanced young listeners with an imaginative landscape as rich and inviting as the fantasy worlds found in Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Read and occasionally sung with a breathless energy by actress Nancy Wu, the audiobook’s action sequences are exhilarating, and, in spite of the story’s fantastic settings, the conflicts, misunderstandings, and affections between the teenage characters are believable and true to life.
David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.