Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: Two Sons of China by Andrew Lam

Two Sons of China by Andrew Lam
Published by: Bondfire Books
Published on: December 5, 2013
Page Count: 468
Genre: Historical fiction
My Reading Format: Kindle provided by the author
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle edition

My Review:

Lieutenant David Parker, an American born to missionaries in China, has a distinct advantage: he's an American soldier in China able to speak the language and have the cultural understanding needed to work well with his fellow Chinese soldiers during World War II. Parker and his fellow soldiers are on a mission to ward off their Japanese invaders. However, China's government is losing interest in the war and Parker has been stuck at a desk job for longer than he'd like. Parker is able to join up with Dixie Mission, a group of Chinese and American soldiers that are headed through the countryside toward Yenan, a known hotspot for Communists. Not all of the Chinese soldiers welcome Parker and his fellow American soldiers. One in particular, guerrilla soldier Lin Yuen, wants to keep Parker at a distance while he carries out their mission. The walls that keep these men apart begin to come down after several shared and horrific experiences. Parker and Lin soon come to depend upon one another and form a lasting friendship. 

I have to confess that though I'm fascinated with World War II, most of what I know about it centers around the involvement of the United States and European countries. I know only a little about what occurred in the Pacific, and outside of Europe. I was very interested to learn more. Though I need to do more learning about China's involvement in World War II, this book gave me a window in on the complexities of the issue. In addition, I need to read more about the 1949 revolution because I began to see how these two conflicts relate in Two Sons of China.

I liked the action in this book. The anticipation really kept me going. I liked reading about the missions of Parker and his men, and their camaraderie. I knew the group could happen upon Japanese soldiers at any moment; waiting for that had me holding my breath. I liked David Parker, the protagonist, but I wanted his character to be developed further. I saw his weaknesses, which helped him feel realistic, but David's overcoming his addition felt shallow. Katherine was a strong, well-developed character but her relationship with her friend An Li felt forced and unrealistic. I was suspicious of An Li from the beginning and I struggled with my feelings that Katherine would have been smart enough to steer clear of trusting people by sniffing out their less-than-genuine intentions.

I'd recommend this book for a World War II enthusiast who likes a boots-on-the-ground kind of story, particularly for one interested (like me) in knowing more about the parts of the war we don't always hear as much about. 
Three and a half out of five stars

If you liked this book, you’ll like Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

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