Preorders for The Daughter of Dragons are coming soon. Enter the wildlands as Melisaria Blackfang encounters a dragon with a disturbing sickness, one that could bring about the end of dragon kind, unless she can master her Dragonspeaker powers in time.
My current novella, City of Kaiju, is available now in paperback on Amazon and ebook form on most major platforms, including Apple Books, Nook, Kobo, Libby, and more. Get your copy today.
I figured we’d start the new year with a bang, and what better way than with a fantastic story. Today we’re looking at Jinxed by Amy McCullough. You can buy it here. If you’re a fan of Pokemon and love futuristic sci-fi, then this story is right up your alley. So let’s get right into it.
Welcome to Monchaville
In the far future in nearby Toronto, bakus have replaced smartphones for both computing needs, and general companionship. Lacey Chu, who is a prodigy in her own right, is at first denied entry into Profectus, a powerful academy for anyone willing to work for Monica Chan, the President and CEO of Moncha Corp, the leader in baku development. However, a chance encounter sends Lacey on a wild adventure the two would never forget.
I wanted a good start to the new year and boy did I find one. This debuted early January and it’s already become one of my favorite middle-grade books. It’s got great writing, fantastic characters, a good and engaging plot, and one other thing I’ll get to in a bit. The cast is very diverse and well represented, plus everyone has their own personality and their own story to tell.
This is one of those rare stories that I couldn’t put down. Every time I read the book, I got lost in the world that I could definitely see possible. Smartphones, despite being the biggest game changer of the last decade, is not without its downsides. In this story, bakus are living computers that can do anything a smarthpone can, while also being a companion pet for anyone looking for some company. I hope some scientist is reading this very story and decides to make bakus soon. We may not get magical creatures, but we could get the next best thing. Robotic smart animals that do it all.
Now, there’s nothing like a soft, furry friend to set you at ease, and although my optimism for bakus being real exists, it does show signs that not everything is super perfect. Animals exist, but they’ve become wild now with their own packs and lives outside of humans. Plus, I’d imagine the worst I could deal with bakus would be to change their oil and give them a tune up every so often. Knowing our society, we’d be up to our kneecaps in 2,000 USD bills for repairs.
Maybe some other time.
But as far as the world, it’s believable. It’s not super wacky, there’s no cartoon logic or supernatural powers to explore. This actually seems plausible. If this were around at my age, I might have thought I would never live through such a thing. Now, I can’t wait to have a baku of my own. My own companion. My own Pokemon, so to speak.
Not to be confused with the manga series or the children’s action show, but Baku Battles are the main draw of the book, about a third of the way in, is baku battles, which immediately made me think of Pokemon. Knowing this made me want bakus even more, so I can truly live my dream as a trainer, with my own rabbit baku by my side. This made me smile. Sure, the idea is blatant, but it’s the execution that counts. It doesn’t use elemental typing, there aren’t unique takes on the animals. There’s no catching system to worry about. It’s companionship and battling.
It’s the stuff I dream about and it’s what kept me going. It really nails the nostalgia of watching Pokemon every weekday afternoon on Kids WB and thinking how cool it would be if Pokemon were real. I’d much rather be traveling with Pikachu, personally, but if bakus existed this decade or the next? I’ll take it.
It does get a little brutal, since realism is in play. It’s not just the bakus being knocked out. They get obliterated in style. This makes things tense for the heroes and it works to the point that a random battler can’t wastefully use their baku, go to the vet, and call it a day. The battlers must know how to repair their destroyed Baku. If not, then the other teams have the advantage. I would love to see leagues or even Gyms in this style.
The story does a really good job of holding me into this world. This is something that could very well be a possibility for us and I feel with enough advancements in technology, we could see such a thing happen.
The Mystery of Jinx
Being a cat lover myself, I fell in love with Jinx. She’s got personality and most of all, she behaves like a real cat. She barely listens, runs off on her own, gets into mischief, and has a snarky attitude. I loved seeing her relationship with Lacey grow. Finding out the origins of this unique baku was fun to watch, even though it took forever to get there.
Being the title character, she was at the center of everything. Lacey getting into Profectus, being on Tobias’s team, and her potential origins made her a wickedly smart character. I loved her interactions with the characters and the mystery surrounding her. It’s the perfect type of character for a grand adventure.
The one thing, while I won’t spoil the ending, is I discovered that this was a duology recently reprinted. Considering there are more adventures for Lacey and Jinx in Unleashed, I’ll be looking forward to that once it gets its own reprint.
I fell in love with this story. It made me want to read again and is the type of book to just sit down and breeze through, immersing yourself in a possible future and experience the wonder it has to offer. If you’re looking to start the new decade off right, I can’t think of anything better than this. Action, adventure, a colorful cast, tons of twists, a Pokemon-style world, and perfect for the younger audience. It’s hard to find anything wrong with this book and as a cat owner (more of a cat lender at this point since all of them were family cats), I can’t wait for part two.
That’s all for today. If you enjoyed this post, why not send me a Ko-Fi. The Silver Claw Inn runs on donations from proud supporters like you. Why spend money on a Starbucks Coffee when you can support budding authors such as myself? Every donation helps.
Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.