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Hunt for Jade Dragon (Michael Vey #4), by Richard Paul Evans
So, I saw this at my store and was telling the vendor that I knew it was coming out soon but didn't realize just how soon when a fellow bookworm coworker who is a Mormon walked by and asked what book I was talking about. I said, "Oh! And speaking of Mormon authors . . ." while waving the book in his direction. I bought the book on my lunch hour.
And now to find out if anyone realizes that the Amacarra were speaking Mandarin in the first three books . . . .
I'm not sure if it was intentional on Evans's part or not, but the only character who knew the Amacarra well enough to start understanding their language, Tessa, was sent away almost as soon as she arrived in Taiwan. As a result, no, no one ever realizes that the Amacarra were speaking Mandarin. This was, as I'm sure you can expect, very frustrating for me.
"Hunt for Jade Dragon" opens with the Electroclan arriving at a ranch somewhere south. South of what is anyone's guess. South of the Mason-Dixon line, at least. But it could be south of the entire United States. We know that it's south because of the heat and the Joshua trees. At the ranch, Michael is reunited with his mother and Ostin with his parents. The Electroclan are also reunited with Grace and Tanner. Tanner has PTSD from all of the killing that Hatch had him do, which was actually kind of nice. Not that PTSD is nice. But the fact that Tanner has enough conscience to find killing people like that traumatic was a relief for me. I wasn't sure how many of Hatch's "Eagles" have that much of a conscience until that scene.
The Electroclan are fed and given a chance to rest and then are told what their next assignment (should, as they used to say on "Mission Impossible" they choose to accept it) is. A Chinese girl named Yulong, which translates as "Jade Dragon" (I am not so certain that "Dragon" is typical of Chinese girls' names, however. "Jade" is pretty good, though) has discovered the mistake that causes the MEI machine to kill and will make it reliably give babies electric powers. The Elgen are holding Jade Dragon prisoner in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The reason they haven't successfully gotten the formula from her, either by trickery, interrogation, or outright torture, is that Jade Dragon is nonverbal and the Elgen lack a psychic who could read her mind and get the information from her. Fortunately, as it turns out, the Electroclan does have a psychic. Speaking of Taylor, her twin, Tara, has a new (and potentially disastrous) new power.
The Resistance, as the organization headed up by the voice, call themselves, asks the Electroclan to go to Taiwan and rescue Jade Dragon from the Elgen. Michael, Taylor, Ostin, McKenna, Jack, Tessa, and Ian all agree to go. The Resistance also suggest that they take Nichelle with them, because her energy-dampening powers might come in handy. Nichelle does end up going with them, as it turns out, bringing their group to eight.
They have adventures of the cultural, culinary, and spy-thriller sort, and Michael makes what may be a terrible mistake that will have catastrophic consequences. The book moves very quickly from the ranch to Taiwan and then into the Elgen's territory to enact the rescue of the girl. The solution to the rescue of Jade Dragon was ingenious, but kind of lacked something since it was based on an event earlier in the same book. I wish that Evans had managed to separate the setup and payoff by more than the couple of chapters that pass here. It would have flowed more naturally that way.
Also, I just found out that Evans intends for this to be a seven-book series. He sets up one of the next events pretty well, but I do want to know where Evans will go from here.