Reviewed by Savvy Karin

Title: Wandering Warrior
Author: Da Chen
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 336 pages
Grade Reading Level: Grade 8+

Summary: Luka is a young 11 year old boy destined to be the most successful emperor. He has five moles on each foot, which is how this leader-to-be will be recognized. He is being raised by the monk Atami, as he is orphaned. Later he finds out who his parents are which is central to the story.

Of course, first he will have to learn the art of fighting Yin Gong, defeat the cruel emperor, rescue a maiden, fight mythological creatures as well as be befriended by them, be imprisoned… you get the idea. Along the way, he is befriended by two thieves, is helped (and betrayed) by a fur dealer, rescues his mentor(s), defeats another boy (and gains his help)…

If he reveals himself, the cruel emperor Ghengi and his Mogo warriors will kill him to maintain their own rule of China.

Why I started this book:

I decided to see if our library had a copy of this book, after coming across a review I had kept from 2003 where the headline for Nicholas Thomas’ review in the USA Today, read:

Whiz-bang action at every turn
‘Wandering Warrior’ is China’s answer to Potter


  • It has a very cute illustration on the cover.
  • It sounds as though the book was setting the stage for a series of books, but I don’t believe they have been written.“Rebuild Xi-Ling. We must first find our 18 lost warriors. Each is in possession of one unique Xi-Ling art. Without them, the collective wisdom of our tradition will be lost forever. … Twelve of our treasures are still missing, not counting your dagger. Each weapon is blessed with rare magic and unique power…”That sounds quite fascinating to me, more so than this first book.


  • This is considered a YA book, but it is surely not a children’s book. It is too sophisticated and complex. It is filled with adventure, excitement, mythological creatures and the hard life of living in those days, but for me, at least, it didn’t hold the thrall of the Potter books.
  • I wish I knew enough to know what parts of the book are authentic and which are fanciful, outside of the mythological creatures.

Last Minute Thoughts: It didn’t hold my interest, but it might hold the interest of a boy.

Buy: Wandering Warrior

Rating: 2.5 Treasure Chests

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