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The Long Way Paperback – October 2, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
"A Criminal Magic" by Lee Kelly
THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly's new magical realism, crossover novel and casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties. Learn more
$11.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fine historical fantasy tale featuring a memorable, tenacious protagonist." --Kirkus Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The year is 1856. Leung Chi-Yen knows no life outside the squalid brothels and slums of Canton, China, where her mother abandoned her long ago. But even that world is rapidly changing, becoming less and less hospitable to a spirited, independent girl. Ever increasing numbers of sailors and soldiers have begun arriving from across the sea, forcing their will upon her fellow countrymen--and soon, it seems, upon Chi-Yen herself.
And so in a time of war, in a place without hope, she takes a desperate chance by allying herself with a failed monk and his naive apprentice. What follows is an epic adventure that takes the trio far across the ocean to the frontiers of North America and beyond.
Pursued by a sinister Englishman intent on capturing an ancient relic belonging to the Temple of Seven Dragons, Chi-Yen must rely on her own wits and bravery to protect herself and her companions in this strange and sometimes hostile new land. Add a living, breathing dragon into the mix, and the stakes have never been higher.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Baaa Press (October 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940776007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940776002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,783,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
By the time I was closing in on the end of The Long Way I had grown so fond of -- so warmly attached to this story -- that I felt compelled to nominate it for a Goodreads Choice this year, and I still feel invested personally, to some degree, in whether this story will reach as wide an audience as my hopes would dictate (please read this, dear reader! :).

I am always driven to promote literary fiction I think is really worthwhile from my own reading and study. But, in this case, I just love this book from my heart along with and beside my mind. It engaged me in the type of complete imaginative immersion that has made reading the only activity that could excite my mind and soothe my spirit consistently since as a young girl I finally read well enough to spend hours and hours engrossed in novels (nothing hard or deep for my age--Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter's Club, etc).

This is just a good old-fashioned, mind-transporting tale. I always enjoy reading, but this gave me a pure, unmitigated pleasure I associate with another time, place...self even!

The very wide relatability and endearing nature of the young girl we meet at the start of the story and follow throughout the adventures of The Long Way certainly was instrumental in captivating my imagination and emotional investment. Also, it's really kind of magical how this brainchild of the writers takes the reader on such a varied and rich adventure in only 259 numbered pages, in my copy anyhow...The title must be at least partly ironic because it felt a bit more epic than not to me...the novel opens one kind of story in a given environment, which bears no resemblance to the circumstances surrounding the action of the last few pages -- that's for sure!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I got this ARC from NetGalley and this is my honest review.

1,5

Chi-yen is a girl in 19th century Canton who lives in a brothel as a servant girl,where life is harsh and often brutal and even more so for someone whose blue eyes clearly tell the world that she is mixed race due to her prostitue mother becoming pregnant by a foreigner.
Chi-Yen cant remember much about her mother apart from some words of wisdom she shared with her

"To live a happy life you must always be the second ugliest girl in the house."

So she keeps ugly and this plan works well enough until her mothers strategy fails and she is noticed by a costumer there is only one thing to do- run away but of course she has nowhere to go so she returns pretty soon.

But luckily she is given a respite from having become a prostitute for a while.

Then we meet Sin-Feng who is a young apprentice monk at the Temple of Seven Dragons who often has to come by the brothel to pick up his master Liu Kun who is always intoxicated either from opium or alcohol.

All their lives are upset when there is a rebellion against the western foreigners living in the city and The temple of the Seven Dragons is destroyed,the monks killed and the treasure of the monks is sought by the evil Basil Malvenue (names to run away from really fast) who is on a mission to secure the it at all costs on behalf of Queen Victoria

Escaping with the treasure that is actually dragons egg and with instructions to take it to San Francisco they are on their way to the new country pursued by Basil Malvenue.

This was a lot more dull than I expected.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The fluidity of the words, and the flow of storytelling, drew me in immediately. I was surprised and delighted by all the different settings The Long Way ushered me through. The words created an indelible visualization of a time and land long gone. I won't soon forget the people Chi-Yen met along the way. I still get an uneasy feeling in my stomach when I pull up an image of Basil Malvenue, and I am sure to miss Chi-Yen for more than a few days! (Until I see her again.) (hopefully!) I don't believe I have ever felt so connected to a dragon before. I longed to be 'in' the story, riding the dragon myself - to touch and see with my own hands and eyes, rather than my mind's eye. Beautiful imagery creates those types of cravings...one can visualize it so well in the mind, you ache for the reality of the thing described! The sense of awe and humility the dragon inspired in certain characters touched me. And what a great gift, to carry this sense of wonder with me in reality, to daydream about dragons, and to champion the strength of a young girl. Thank you! - Carrie Mason
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a big fan of history, I came to this book with high expectations. Ray and Vannier met them all. The story unfolds with great timing. Letting the details of the moment settle on the pallet. Weaving the reader into the story and underpinning the surreal with a wonderful mix of history and adventure. What begins as a rich tale for the ages, expands and captures the imagination. I can not wait to read the sequal.
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Format: Paperback
The Long Way stretches from Canton to San Francisco, from the Opium Wars to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad and here there be dragons. The novel follows Chi-Yen, the young, mixed race daughter of a prostitute, whose efforts to survive the outbreak of the Opium Wars leads her to the apprentice, Sin-Feng, and his drunken master, Liu Kun. They are the last survivors of the Temple of the Seven Dragons and have been charged with protecting a sacred treasure. Chased around the world by East India Trading Company's Basil Malvenue, their quest will unlock secrets and a power that could shift the fate of empires.

Ray and Vannier have filled the novel with an impressive amount of historical detail. This is a secret history, and they have made the effort to ensure the history is as accurate as a story with dragons can be. They breath life into both their Chinese and Old West settings, making them feel dirty, gritty, dangerous, and, most importantly, real. Equal care has been taken with Chi-Yen. We meet her as a downtrodden, world-weary preteen, wise and clever beyond her years. Her journey is the backbone of the novel. The reader experiences events largely as she does. Sin-Feng and Liu Kun are less well drawn. The relationship between the three is strained and develops largely unseen.

The novel covers a large span of time and geography. This is one of its strengths, but also its greatest weakness. The plot is not as intricate or as well realized as either the setting or the characters, and on several occasions jumps forward in time suddenly. This was slightly jarring but didn't adversely effect the flow of the story. During the gap, however, all three of the main character, and even the villain, undergo drastic changes and development that is unfortunately glossed over.
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