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By day, Jacques Antoine is a professor at a small college in the southwest, by night he writes action-adventure stories. At first, he wrote "kung fu" tales just for his daughter, when she was a little ninja studying karate. As she grew up, the tales evolved into full-length novels focusing on the dilemmas of young adults, but always set against the background of martial arts adventures. When he's not writing or teaching, he enjoys walking his dogs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside Santa Fe.
The Emily Kane Stories are based on the central insight of Japanese martial arts, captured in the little word "sen." It means, roughly, initiative. It can take many forms, and is visible in all walks of life. In Karate, "go no sen" means "counter-attack." But in other contexts it might also refer to resilience, or responsiveness, or a deliberate choice. The common element lies in the insight that responsiveness or deliberation is not the same as passivity, and neither is aggression necessarily a sign of initiative. True initiative lies deeper than the difference between activity and passivity.
Sadie S. Forsythe
on Dec. 09, 2012 :
Sen No Sen is the sequel to Go No Sen and follows Emily as she continues to try and maintain a normal life despite being hunted by a number of international covert operatives. It is apparent from the very beginning that Emily is struggling with how to balance her own strengths with both the life she wishes to lead and the dangers she can't seem to escape. Her difficulties are easy to relate to as is her love for those around her.
Antoine's writing is comfortable. It flows smoothly from the violence Emily is forced to inhabit to the peace she is trying to protect, effectively mimicking the very internal dilemma Emily is facing. I particularly liked the pacing and writing style.
Like Go No Sen, Sen No Sen includes quite a lot of martial arts theory. It is as much about the proper mind set of a fight as the proper physical conditioning. It wasn't quite as heavy as in the first book and I found it enjoyable. I appreciated the little bit of Japanese mythology that comes in at the end of the book.
Anyone who is interested in martial arts will likely like this book, as will those who like strong female YA characters. I would recommend reading Go No Sen first however.
(reviewed the day of purchase)