Friday, July 8, 2016

Golden Sword, Eagle Feathers by Wolong Sheng

I wanted to read this book after reading in a discussion, how the translator, Tjan ID, mentioned that the story was very exciting. The translator had translated many wuxia books and I like his style, so I believed his judgement. Here, the book was published into 4 parts - due to its long story. Today I finished reading them all and hoped that it would have been longer.

When I was reading the first part, I thought that the book was very action packed. The characters ran and fought over and over again After escaped from one enemy, another enemy was waiting ahead. It seemed that they never rest. Even I as a reader felt tired. I read this first part slowly. When I got to the end of the second book, the characters had grown on me. So when reading book 3 and 4, I almost couldn't it down and read until 3 o'clock in the morning, when I said to myself that I really needed to put it down and get some sleep.

This is the first book of Wolong Sheng I've read. After reading this book for days, of course I couldn't say that I didn't like it. I only hope that it had more dialogues so the characters could rest. They could be talking instead of fighting all the time.

The central character was a hero named Siau Ling, the only son of a rich retired official. When the story began, Siau Ling was a 12 year old weak boy. He suffered a strange illness so that he couldn't live until 20 years old. His parents saved a grave-wounded heroine, who months later died in the house. The heroine's only daughter, Gak Siau-cha, who was 4-5 years older than Siau Ling, came and took her mother's body away. Siau Ling begged to come with her because he also wanted to bury the body and he wanted to see the outside world, since he would be dead in a couple of years. After leaving the house, Gak Siau-cha and Siau Ling were chased by many people. It had been said that Gak Siau-cha's mother had had the only key to a place called 'The Forbidden Palace" [when I first read this I kept thinking of the palace in the Forbidden City. but it was not.]. The rumor said that ten great swordsmen had been trapped in that place and who could get into the place, he would inherit their kung-fu manuals.

After long chases, Siau Ling was separated from Gak Siau-cha. He fell into a river, was saved, brought into a cave in a mountain, where he fell off a cliff and ate 1000 year old rare mushrooms. He also met three great people who became his kung-fu teachers. During this time, his illness had been cured and he surely could live a long life. Five years later he appeared in the martial arts world as a handsome, brave young hero; and found that somebody else had been using his name. Soon he was tricked and became a member of the White Flower Village. The leader was an smart evil swordsman called Jen Bok-hong. When Siau Ling realized his mistake and wanted to break free, Jen Bok-hong caught his parents to threaten him.

But Siau Ling - who at this time should be about 17 years old - didn't gave up and kept fighting Jen Bok-hong. As the story went, we would learn how lucky our hero was. He was caught, poisoned, and almost died a couple of times... yet he could live until the end of the book - because he was the hero. It took 2 years for Siau Ling to became a greatly admired hero. In the beginning he was the only one who would stand up against Jen Bok-hong, but near the end of the book, almost all heroes supported him in his battle. He was supposed to be smart, but he was tricked again and again. Only in book 4 he indeed had learned a lot from his mistakes and showed the readers that he was smart.

Gak Siau-cha, after she and Siau Ling met again, had become an admired heroine. She lived in seclusion, but three high-skilled young handsome swordsmen were crazy about her, and the three would kill Siau Ling for he was the only obstacle if they wanted to marry Gak Siau-cha. But Siau Ling himself thought of Gak Siau-cha as his older sister. He was rather afraid of her, out of respect. "Siau Ling fears no heaven no earth, but he fears Gak Siau-cha."

Siau Ling himself, was described as very handsome. He was even more handsome than the 3 swordsmen who wanted Gak Siau-cha's hand. Plus, he was brave, sincere, righteous.... All females in this book fell in love with him - a situation which I never believe because every woman sees handsomeness differently. The journey of Siau Ling's love life was told very well here. He was not romantic and in his struggles against Jen Bok-hong he didn't have time for romance.

There was a golden sword appeared near the end of the book, and Siau Ling was saved by an eagle in a scene. So it took me a while to find this book's title in English. The Indonesian titles - for 4 books - are far from that.

I wanted to write more, but if you are reading this, you perhaps should read the book yourself - if you haven't. It's nice to read books from different cultures. They always have different expressions, different terms. Like if you are bored while watching an American movie - why the dialogues are dull and repetitive? Try watching a movie from another country.