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Paul Donovan (1962- ) was born in Anaheim, California. The son of an Assemblies of God minister, he grew up in a "highly mobile" environment, and moved often around Southern California. He graduated from California State University, San Bernardino, and taught high school English for fifteen years. His first book, "Harold Finn - Ninja Warrior, The Warrior Within", is a young adult action/adventure book that follows the life of a young accountant who is forced to deal with his destiny, as well as some significant life issues.
on Sep. 12, 2011 :
I wish they did half stars... would like to give it 3.5
I enjoyed this book, it was a good story but for my liking seemed to finish mid way through. It's always good to leave the reader wanting more but this to me felt more like half a book rather than leaving open for a sequel.
Having said that, it's a very readable book with enjoyable and identifiable characters. I was easily engrossed and straight into the plot. As a YA novel am not sure how it would sit as the characters are older that the "typical YA reader" and if they do identify with these characters then maybe the book could have held their attention as a longer novel (Back to my original point).
But that is really my only downside to the book, well worth a read, but maybe wait for the sequel and read as one!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2011 :
Harold Finn—Ninja Warrior by Paul Donovan is a fast, fun read, with quirky characters that easily held my attention right from the first page. Harold appears to be an average, somewhat bumbling, office nerd at the beginning, but we soon learn he is much more than that. After he and his lifelong friend Connie stop for Chinese food one night on their way home from work, Mr Doshi, the owner, tells Harold he is the Ninja Warrior, one they have been waiting for.
These characters remind me a lot of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” stories by Christopher Golden in the fun way they interact with one another. Harold becomes the Ninja Warrior in much the same way Buffy became the vampire slayer. It’s the way these characters work off each other that makes the novel so much fun to read, a perceived lightness to otherwise dark and dangerous circumstances.
When Connie’s parents are killed under odd conditions, Harold must hope he has learned enough from Mr Doshie to keep him and Connie alive. Their boss, Kendall Kirch, doesn’t care who he has to eliminate in order to proceed with his evil plans, even pulling the plug on his own father at the hospital. He ordered Connie’s parents killed and will think nothing of adding her and Harold to the list.
I would have liked more information to be given about this mysterious warrior—where did he originate from, why Harold? Was he born the chosen warrior, or did it come later on in life? This part was more or less passed over, but even so, the characters still each had separate 3D personalities and I was easily able to picture the scenes. There were some issues with editing that I found mildly irritating. I felt the text could have used one more round of editing to catch the occasional typo and a few issues with punctuation before it was released to the public. Though I took note when I ran into these places, they weren’t enough to seriously take away from my enjoyment of the story. Without the editing issues taken into account I very likely would have given Harold Finn, Ninja Warrior five stars instead of four. A highly entertaining read and I recommend you take a look. For sure I’ll be watching for the next novel by Paul Donovan starring Harold Finn and Connie Stinson.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 26, 2011 :
This book was awesome! The prologue immediately caught my attention. Harold Finn-Ninja Warrior was a quick and easy read. It was fun and exciting. I looked forward to getting off work each day so I could get home and finish reading it. Great job Paul...I look forward to reading the next installment!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on June 26, 2011 :
When I first picked up Paul Donovan's "Harold Finn - Ninja Warrior: The Warrior Within" I expected long complicated bits of dialogue spoken through clenched teeth under the moonlight. Maybe a couple of sword fights that end with one ninja dramatically standing while the other one practically explodes. This novel manages to miss all of those cliches and turn out to be a very entertaining story. It is the perfect mix of a buddy story, detective story, and 1980's martial arts film.
The plot follows Harold Finn and Connie Stinson as they try to piece together a mystery surrounding her parents. At times the plot feels more like a Miss Marple novel than a ninja story. As the events unfold Donovan manages to merge the feeling of a buddy detective story with a 1980's martial arts film quite well. There are over the top villains, car chases, clues hidden away in odd places, and plenty of comic relief.
The plot of the story wouldn't be all that interesting if it weren't for the characters. Some of the characters do come off a little bit cardboard (especially the villains), but that is part of the story's charm. By far the strongest characters in the novel are the two main characters, Harold and Connie. Their interactions with each other never feel forced and it feels like they have a very real friendship.
Some of the eastern religious themes of the book are actually where the problems show up. It isn't anything that will detract from the story, but the repeated themes of fate and fear sometimes feel a little bit forced. On the one hand it works well with the martial arts film feel of the novel, but on the other hand it sometimes comes off as awkward.
This is a very enjoyable novel and it is well worth the read. It has a short coming or two, but the character interactions and fun feel of the work more than makes up for it. If you're looking for something enjoyable to read this book certainly fits the bill.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)