Twitter Tumblr FlickrFacebookContact me
Now 2019 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP

Recent posts


Month in review

Reviews
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
The Extremely High Tide! by Kir Fox and and M. Shelley Coats
Fearless Mary by Tami Charles and Claire Almon
Fire Storm by Andrew Lane
The Hollow under the Tree by Cary Fagan
The Horse in Harry's Room by Syd Hoff
I Date Dead People by Ann Kerns and Janina Görrissen
In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
The Misfits Club by Kieran Mark Crowley
The Missing Magic by Kallie George
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer
My Little Pony Micro-Series: #7 Cutie Mark Crusaders by Ted Anderson
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #8: Princess Celestia by Georgia Ball
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
Rust: Soul in the Machine by Royden Lepp
A Script for Danger by Carolyn Keene
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Snake Bite by Andrew Lane
SOS at Night by M.A. Wilson
Tintin in Tibet by Hergé
The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein
Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 07)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 14)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 21)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 28)
December 2018 Sources
December 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FF6666: orphan going offroad towards home

FF6633: orphans going home along the Blue Highway

FF6600: Orphans looking for home on the Interstate

FF33FF: orphans in rural places surrounded by cornfields

FF33CC and FF3399: rural orphans in the maze and labyrinth

Road Narrative Update for December 2018

Previous month


Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Canadian Book Challenge: 2018-2019

Beat the Backlist 2019



Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.


Snake Bite: 01/30/19

Snake Bite

Snake Bite by Andrew Lane is the fifth Young Sherlock Holmes book. I originally read this before Fire Storm and spent most of the book baffled as to how exactly he ended up aboard a ship headed for China.

So that's how it opens. Sherlock realizes he's been kidnapped and sold to a dubious ship's captain. Since he's en route to China and tons of time to kill, he takes it upon himself to learn Chinese.

Cough cough. Sputter.

I'm not saying Sherlock couldn't learn a dialect and couldn't learn how to read the characters but what the book fails to drive home is that Chinese isn't a phonetic language. Chinese, the written form, is a picture based language that in Sherlock's time, would have been what the Taiwanese call "Traditional Chinese." It's made up of thousands of characters. In traditional form, some characters can have a dozen strokes.

If you know a bunch of written words, you can read anything written in any dialect because it's not phonetic. But, that still leaves learning how to speak the words in at least one dialect. Nowadays because Taiwan and Beijing both speak Mandarin, that's the dialect most often taught to foreign learners. But if you grow up a native speaker, if you're in the PRC, that'll be Mandarin and whatever your local dialect is. If you're growing up in a well established American Chinatown, it's you probably speak Cantonese. But those are just two of the five main dialects. All together there are about two hundred dialects. In Sherlock's time, pre-Cultural Revolution, he would have hit a bunch of them in his travels through this book.

I'm spending all this time talking about the challenge of learning Chinese because Sherlock does it in about what, twenty to fifty pages. (My daughter has been learning it her entire school career, seven years so far and she's "fluent" at the level of about a ten year old native speaker.

So once Sherlock has landed and has somehow made friends with the right people (English speaking people living in China), he ends up at the right place at the right time to solve an unsolvable murder.

The mystery involves a sociopath con-man and his daughter. He happens to have blue skin from a life time of drinking Colloidal silver. There are clues that hint at death by snake (ooo is that a lame reference to the Speckled Band?). And of course, everything is set against the Opium Wars.

The sixth book is Knife Edge (2013).

Two stars

Comments (0)


Name:
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Comment: