Book Review: The Ninja Daughter, by Tori Eldridge

#MeToo with ninjas in a pastiche feminist revenge fantasy.

The Ninja Daughter

Agora Books, 2019, 320 pages

The Ninja Daughter is an action-packed thriller about a Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja with Joy Luck Club family issues who fights the Los Angeles Ukrainian mob, sex traffickers, and her own family to save two desperate women and an innocent child.

After her sister is raped and murdered, Lily Wong dedicates her life and ninja skills to the protection of women. But her mission is complicated. Not only does she live above the Chinese restaurant owned by her Norwegian father and inspired by the recipes of her Chinese mother, but she has to hide her true self from her Hong Kong tiger mom, who is already disappointed at her less-than-feminine ways, and who would be horrified if she knew what she had become.

But when a woman and her son she escorted safely to an abused women’s shelter return home to dangerous consequences, Lily is forced to not only confront her family and her past, but team up with a mysterious - and very lethal - stranger to rescue them.

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Book Review: To Kill a Unicorn, by DC Palter

A Silicon Valley tale of techbros, teleportation, and elephants.

To Kill a Unicorn

Pandamoon Publishing, 2023, 354 pages

A wild, page-turning ride through the crazy, high-tech world of Silicon Valley, where startup founders aided by venture capitalists and blockchain tycoons are out to make their billions no matter what the cost. A unique novel with scenes in manga where a pair of aging elephants hold the key to stopping the murders.

SüprDüpr is the hottest startup in Silicon Valley until one of the company’s physicists disappears and hacker Ted Hara sets out to find his missing friend.

Led by a glamorous young scientist and funded by billionaire crypto investors, SüprDüpr promises to revolutionize transportation. But as Ted investigates the secretive company, nothing is what it seems.

Are the millions the company is spending building a homeless shelter truly corporate philanthropy? Or is the company a complex real estate scam? As the homeless residents of San Jose begin disappearing, too, it appears something far more sinister is happening downtown. But why was his friend searching for a pair of elephants before he disappeared?

Days away from the technology unveiling that will confer unimaginable riches on the company’s investors, Ted becomes trapped in a web of corruption protecting its founder. While avoiding the police, he has to find out why people are disappearing before it’s too late.

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Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017, by Ian Black

Another history of the Israel-Palestine Conflict with no solutions.

Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017

Grove Atlantic, Inc., 2017, 512 pages

In Enemies and Neighbors, Ian Black, who has spent over three decades covering events in the Middle East and is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics, offers a major new history of the Arab-Zionist conflict from 1917 to today. Laying the historical groundwork in the final decades of the Ottoman Era, when the first Zionist settlers arrived in the Holy Land, Black draws on a wide range of sources - from declassified documents to oral histories to his own vivid on-the-ground reporting - to recreate the major milestones in the most polarizing conflict of the modern age from both sides.

In the third year of World War I, the seed was planted for an inevitable clash: Jerusalem Governor Izzat Pasha surrendered to British troops and Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued a fateful document sympathizing with the establishment of "a national home for the Jewish people". The chronicle takes us through the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; the long shadow of the Nazi Holocaust; the war of 1948 - culminating in Israel's independence and the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe); the "cursed victory" of the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Palestinian re-awakening; the first and second Intifadas; the Oslo Accords; and other failed peace negotiations and continued violence up to 2017.

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