Saturday 7 June 2014

Black Warrior

Black Warrior by Tiffiny Hall (HarperCollins)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9780732294557
Reviewed by Sharon McGuinness

Author Tiffiny Hall believes that the greatest superpower you can ever possess is confidence and self belief. 

Inspired to write the Roxy Ran series because many of her taekwondo students experienced bullying, ‘Black Warrior’ is the third and final in the series, which is aimed at upper primary and early high school students. Author Hall writes with authority as she holds a black belt in Taekwondo.

Black Warrior follows on from ‘White Warrior’ and ‘Red Samurai’ and having read both books will help as background to the series final. We are thrown into the story from the beginning, learning that  Roxy Ran and her sister Elektra must live together without killing each other – literally, as Roxy is a ninja and Elektra has just come out as a samurai, a sworn enemy of the Ninja clan. Hero, the school bully is being bullied himself and we identify that the school is divided into Gate One and Gate Two students.  Roxy has some unanswered questions about her father whom she has not met and her mother refuses to discuss with her, other than branding him as ‘poison’.

Trouble is near as there is a fire and crater in front of the school, then unrest increases as many citizens of the town Lanternwood disappear. A tiger dragon with blazing eyes threatens Roxy, then her friend Cinnamon disappears. When she eventually returns, however, she has changed. The Ninja and Samurai need to unite in order to save the town, leading Roxy to finally meet her father, who is intent on revenge. Just when Roxy needs her powers most, they are lost and she is a mere mortal. In the exciting climax, Roxy must face her fears and find the power within herself and lift the curse over her father. Only then are her powers restored.

Finally, issues from the previous books are resolved – we find out why Hero is often referred to as a mummy’s boy and Jackson  opens up about the illness of his brother Morgan. The symbols of difference and discrimination, represented by Gate One and Gate Two are finally destroyed.

“There are no bullies or victims, no samurai versus ninja, no cool and uncool – just kids.” 

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