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The Dragons of Heaven (Missy Masters #1)

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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  283 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather. She also got his preternatural control of shadows and his enduring legacy as the legendary vigilante superhero, Mr. Mystic.

After a little work, the costume fits OK, but Missy is far from experienced at fighting crime, so she journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the anc
...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Angry Robot
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Apr 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, netgalley, read-2015
Nobody becomes an adventure hero by accident. For me, it started with a revival showing of "Big Trouble in Little China" at the opening of the rebuilt Pagoda Palace in North Beach. Big Trouble ranked as one of my favorite movies of all time, and I roped a crew into going on the strength of my enthusiasm. Who can pass up the chance to see Kurt Russell as Jack Burton? Plus, spunky Kim Catrall. Yowza!
(Yes, Kim Cattrall's name is spelled wrong but my copy is an arc.)



Now this sounds like a fun book.
...more
Lata
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Likes:
-Lots of PoC characters, acknowledging that in N. America we live with many different cultures. 5 stars.
-lots of women, doing all sorts of things, talking to one another as friends, saving each other. 5 stars.
-lots of action, so story keeps moving. 4 stars.
-dragons. 4 stars.
-Charlotte's Web reference. 3 stars.
-did I mention there were dragons?

Dislikes:
-kind of dumb, big, world-ending plot. 2 stars.
-kind of dumb resolution to world-ending plot. 2 stars.
-a white person has to save all the sp
...more
Koeur
Apr 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
https://koeur.wordpress.com/2015/04/2...

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780857664341

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher Description: Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather. She also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr Mystic had:
...more
Peter Tieryas
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really fun book combining shadow magic, dragons, Asian culture, and some interesting characters.

"The space to think was a little less welcome when it turned out to be the same prison of misery I'd stayed in the last time I'd been to Shanghai... Was I seriously considering bearding the dragon in his lair? Again? With less of a plan than last time?"

It's a fast read and I can't wait to dive into the second book!
Rachel Cotterill
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Chinese fantasy with a female superhero masquerading as her grandfather, and a thread of Taoism. This sounded very much my kind of thing, and it was good fun, though I didn't love it the way I hoped I would. The plot weaves between two timelines ("then" and "now") in a way that was sometimes confusing, as the two plots had a number of things in common (not least the same antagonist), but at the same time I think these echoes and connections are kind of the point. Good fun.
Stacey
See Read-alikes on The Book Adventures.

In The Dragons of Heaven, Missy Masters is trying to live up to her grandfather's legacy as Mr. Masters, one of the original superheroes of the mid-twentieth century. We are introduced to her present-day struggles to be taken seriously and to defeat a Chinatown crime boss in San Francisco.

The narrative is split between the present-day and some time in Missy's past. It's also split between San Francisco and China. In one plot line, Missy is a superheroine f
...more
Mei-Lu
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pamala Switzler
Full disclosure: Alyc Helms is a friend of mine.

OK, I know I'm a bit biased but I LOVED THIS BOOK. As anybody who reads my reviews knows, I am a HUGE fan of supernatural/superhero fictions whether on television, in movies, in books or comics/graphic novels. So this book is right in my wheelhouse. But for all that it, it's rare when a book surprises me and this one really, really did. The book reads like the feminist granddaughter of Raymond Chandler's California Noir and Alan Moore's The Watchme
...more
Daniel
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
From my review for SkiffyandFanty.com:

The Dragons of Heaven is a fun read. It is a genre blend that combines urban fantasy with folkloric myth, the superhero comic, romance, and the complex family dynamics featured in ‘mainstream’ fiction. There is magical action driving the plot aplenty, there are moments of humor and pop culture reference. But there are also great doses of introspection, of character development for Missy, and deep themes at its core.

I particularly appreciated the way Helms wr
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Mike
This is something a bit different: a mashup of the superhero, martial arts and fantasy genres, with a touch of thriller for flavour. I enjoyed it, although the dual timeframe structure only just worked, and it needed better copy editing.

Let's get the copy editing out of the way first. One of the reasons that people publish with trad publishers like Angry Robot is presumably so that they can get editorial input that they couldn't afford to pay for. I don't know how much developmental editing thi
...more
Wendy
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Obligatory disclaimer: I know the author. Which certainly influenced how eager I was to read the book, but shouldn't much affect what I did or didn't enjoy about it. But add as many grains of salt to this review as you see fit.

So, let's start off with a minor niggle: there are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, and some of them are mentioned before you've really properly "met" them in the narrative. My advice? Don't sweat it. Everything will be explained in due course - just foc
...more
Debra Martin
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was first drawn to this book by the cover especially the dragon overlay. The story follows Missy Masters, a vigilante hero who assumes the guise of Mr. Mystic which was her grandfather's legacy. She roams the city correcting wrongs when she can, but there's more to Missy than her control of Shadows. To truly come into her powers, Missy travels to China, falls in love with her teacher Lung Haung, and becomes embroiled in politics of the nine dragon guardians of creation.

Ms. Helms tells the stor
...more
Cae Hawksmoor
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really rather enjoyed this! I normally don't go in for stuff that's mostly light with some humour thrown in, but I think a mixture of the characters and a need to know what happened next kept me coming back to it.

Personally, I loved the 'Now'/'Then' structure of the narrative, which meant I was always reading on to find out what happened next on one side of the time jump or another. I could have done with having some indication of the main character's age in the 'Now' quite early in the narra
...more
Victoria
Feb 11, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf, owned
I love urban fantasy, but this book just wasn't for me. Over the past few days I've picked it up, read a page or two and set it back down. Also the font was too small to read comfortably.
I'm sorry. I tried.
As I said this book wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. Give it a try.
Justin
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was suprised by the romance/emotion that developed. But it was very well done and many times I got extremely attached. Also said "that's not fair!" many times on behalf of the protagonist. Looking for the next book right now.

...

I'm now very sad to see book 2 is not out yet. This is why I only read completed series. waiting kills me.
Dragana
You can already guess that a dragon in a book title and on the cover meant instant interest from me. When I started reading I didn’t expect much, but The Dragons of Heaven exceeded my expectations.

LIKES

* Interesting setting. I always like to read about a world where super-heroes exist. Blame it on that little girl who watched in awe as Superman jumped over the tallest building. And Alyc Helms is more optimistic than Brandon Sanderson in Steelheart, people with super-powers are not all villains
...more
Roberta
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Originally posted on Roberta's Literary Ramblings

I received this as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Impression: It could have been much better.

Recommended for: Those who enjoy fantasy with a smattering of Chinese culture. That's who it's written for but I personally wouldn't recommend it.

As I said above, this book could have been so much better. It had the bones for something really great, but the presentation wasn't quite up to par. I didn't
...more
Beth Cato
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the heck out of this. I've read over a hundred urban fantasy novels and it's so easy for me to pick one up now and think, "I think I've read something really close to this before." Not so with The Dragons of Heaven. It feels like a combination of martial arts movie and superhero tale and urban fantasy, and that blend works very well.

Missy Masters is a superhero on the streets of San Francisco. Her heroic alter-ego is actually the hero Mr. Mystic--the persona created by her grandfather. S
...more
Andrea Blythe
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fic-fantasy, fiction
Missy Masters has the power to control shadows and uses this power to play a role as the vigilante superhero, Mr. Mystic. When a magical barrier suddenly appears around all of China and all of the official China towns of the world, it's up to her to find a way to take down the barrier — a challenge that leads her back into the past she left behind.

The book mixes up superhero novel with martial arts movies and dragon mythology in a fun, action packed urban fantasy. Where it differs from similar
...more
Elaine Aldred
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Missy Masters has inherited her grandfather’s ability to control shadows. It is an inheritance that made her to seek out and find Lung Huang who once mentored her grandfather. When Lung Huang’s brother and enemy raises a magical barrier cutting off China from the rest of the world, Missy has to attempt to take it down and in the process make some tough decisions.
The idea that Missy’s career as an adventure hero began at a revival showing of ‘Big Trouble in Little China’, immediately brought to m
...more
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
I wanted to love this book because it has a cool, and original sounding premise. There are super heroes, with dragons, and Asian myth lore, told through a female protagonist. Unfortunately, it’s told using a dual now and then narration that felt more like 2 different people.

The story starts with the now narrative, but it’s very confusing as to who everyone is, and what’s happening. Most of this is explained in the then narrative, but since the two narratives switch back and forth throughout the
...more
John
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I got terribly excited about this book. Promised a kick-ass female taking up the mantle of her grandfather's hero persona. And it delivered for the first several chapters. I might even have agreed that there was a "Big Trouble in Little China" vibe to it. But then it lost its head of steam. I finished it because I kept wanting it to return to the energy I enjoyed in the first few chapter. Sadly, I don't feel it ever recovered. A shame too...I really like the basic idea and think it had a promisi ...more
Brenna
Sep 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Warning: so-called "synopsis" of the book does not remotely prepare you for what it's ACTUALLY about. Deceived and disappointed.

I hate it when the awesome superhero book you think you're reading turns into a draco-political power struggle that centers around the protagonist getting pregnant with demigod twins whose entire purpose is as little more than bargaining chips in a poorly-conceived (did you see what I did there?) plot that spends more time on elaborate christening ceremonies than anythi
...more
Conna Condon
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So good I read it twice .... and am now eagerly awaiting Conclave to see how the story continues. The author has a wonderful way with words. There were times when I could not put the book down. I love the approach of getting to know Missy first as she is today (now) and then learning about how she came to be (then) cleverly weaving her past with her present. It so matches to how we learn about new people in our lives. I'm looking forward to Mr Mystic being in my life for many stories.
Rebecca Rosenberg
Well that was incredibly fun. I loved falling into the complex world in which this story exists, and I'm excited to see what comes next for Mr. Mystic.(And Missy Masters. And Skyrocket. I want more Skyrocket.) I definitely felt like the book gained steam as it went along, and I read the last four chapters without putting the book down.
Neile
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was fun. Then it got to be more fun. Then it was whoo this is fun what's going to happen now? And guess what, at the end I thought that was fun, too. But also rewarding and interesting, with lots of weird, inventive, and substantial surprises to keep me well entertained. Now I want #2.
Shelley
Apr 09, 2015 marked it as to-read
*Recvd via NetGalley 04/09/2015* Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Angry Robot
Jon Kaneko-James
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book -- I bought the follow-up immediately and spent two hours reading it when I'd intended to be working.

I will admit, I was slightly stalled by a series of long flashbacks starting at roughly the 40% mark. Partly because they came at a point where the narrative was clipping along very well and slowed things down, partly because I got a feel for where they were heading, which made the whole thing feel (initially) like an exercise in the inevitable.

With that said, once the flashback
...more
Courtney
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish things had progressed more linearly - rather than the constant jumping back and forth between present and past. I can kind of see why, allowing exposition in chunks to give you an overall sense of everything (maybe?), but it still made things super disjointed and allowed for a lot of things to just be left out. Like just skipping entire scenes that I felt just might be kind of important (view spoiler) ...more
Rachel
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, fantasy
I liked the writing style—I was particularly impressed with the way Helms incorporates pop culture references. Usually that kind of thing makes me roll my eyes, but her references were always germane and well-deployed.

I thought the plot was a huge bait-and-switch, though. It’s set up to be about someone trying to be a superhero (in a world where those exist, like celebrities), based on her grandfather’s old persona. In actuality, it’s about a mortal woman who gets involved with Chinese gods, and
...more
Stephen Graham
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Entertaining to have the world depend on the Chinese mythos rather than rehashing some other set. I can't really tell what bothered me more, the sense that this was a Mary Sue tale or the use of Mighty Whitey. Given Helms background in anthropology and the explicit call-out of Big Trouble in Little China, I would have expected something different. Still I'm tempted to go on to the next.
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Alyc Helms fled her doctoral program in anthropology and folklore when she realized she preferred fiction to academic writing. She dabbles in corsetry and costuming, dances Scottish Highland and Irish Ceili at Renaissance and Dickens fairs, gets her dander up about social justice issues, and games in all forms of media. She sometimes refers to her work as “critical theory fanfic,” which is a fancy ...more
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