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Four Fiends (Countdown to Dammerung) by…
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Four Fiends (Countdown to Dammerung)

by Nikki Bennett

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Four young people are drawn together from four corners of the world to discover the Yellow Dragon and the case of the missing Guardians. Each has a task ahead that will challenge their self-perceptions and their very existence. Who will be first? How will they cope? What will the danger be? How can they prepare? With the aid of some very ordinary-looking objects and some memories that have been blanked up till now, they find the way to overcome their foes – the fiendish Fiends – and return order to the world.

I loved the way each of the four were very different, yet very normal, with concerns about their purpose in life, their relations with others, and their families. They were totally recognisable, and their cultural diversity made that even more interesting. There is a wonderful mix of fables and mythology mixed in here, to make a satisfying whole, at least as far as I was concerned. The writing is exciting and imaginative, places recognisable yet foreign, and the tasks and their achievement beautifully thought out. Some of the more cryptic clues had a spin on them that was both clever and sound, since a magical being’s words should always be oblique and capable of different interpretations, but still be precise.

This is a delightful read, with an international twist that adds to the pleasure. Well done, Nikki Bennett – more please! ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
Four young people are drawn together from four corners of the world to discover the Yellow Dragon and the case of the missing Guardians. Each has a task ahead that will challenge their self-perceptions and their very existence. Who will be first? How will they cope? What will the danger be? How can they prepare? With the aid of some very ordinary-looking objects and some memories that have been blanked up till now, they find the way to overcome their foes – the fiendish Fiends – and return order to the world.

I loved the way each of the four were very different, yet very normal, with concerns about their purpose in life, their relations with others, and their families. They were totally recognisable, and their cultural diversity made that even more interesting. There is a wonderful mix of fables and mythology mixed in here, to make a satisfying whole, at least as far as I was concerned. The writing is exciting and imaginative, places recognisable yet foreign, and the tasks and their achievement beautifully thought out. Some of the more cryptic clues had a spin on them that was both clever and sound, since a magical being’s words should always be oblique and capable of different interpretations, but still be precise.

This is a delightful read, with an international twist that adds to the pleasure. Well done, Nikki Bennett – more please! ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
Four Fiends features a story about a GoldenDragon trapped upon a small island and four unlikely kids from culturally diverse regions of the world who join forces to rescue the missing four guardians; the Vermillion Bird, the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, and the Black Tortoise. With special powers provided to them by the Golden Dragon, the kids will go on a magical journey in a richly devine world detailing some history's most ancient folklore, while sharing with readers their ultimate struggles as they work against the Four Fiends; Gluttony, Chaos, Ignorance, and Deviousness.

See full review at http://www.musingwithcrayolakym.com/3/post/2014/05/four-fiends-blog-tour.html ( )
  crayolakym | May 10, 2014 |
http://sarityahalomi.blogspot.com/201...

Lol, I must start my review the same way as Dick Leonardo from Bookroom Reviews - When I first read the Title of this book I read it as Four Friends. So I started reading and looked back at the title again and realized it was actually FIENDS.....I guess it meant to be... but you will have to read the book to understand what i mean,

And now......Nikki Bennett has written a middle grade tale filled with magic and mythology from diverse cultures; interesting and engaging characters who teens can relate to and empathize with; and an interesting and engaging plot that will keep you glued to the pages until the very end. The plot very well written. Far from cliche and quire often unpredictable.

"Ages ago, before humans sailed the seven seas, before saber toothed tigers roamed ancient valleys, even before the dinosaurs stomped through history, a golden dragon lived on a small island in a vast sea This magical creature had one great limitation—it was bound to the island and could not leave it. However, it had four friends that traveled where they pleased, and using the dragon’s great wisdom these Four protected the world.

The Vermillion Bird roosted in the Southern lands, the Azure Dragon guarded the Eastern realms, the White Tiger prowled the Western wilds, and the Black Tortoise shared its knowledge with those in the North. Occasionally they visited the dragon to report the latest news and ask for advice.

Suddenly, the Four vanished. Something terrible had happened to the dragon’s friends. They needed to be rescued. But the dragon could not leave its island. It needed someone who could find the Guardians. And save the World......

4 Guardians of the Compass (Picture credit: Xiyu)The four guardians -In the Chinese mythology - They represent a four Symbols that were given human names after Daoism became popular. The Azure Dragon has the name Meng Zhang , the Vermilion Bird was called Ling Guang , the White Tiger Jian Bing , and the Black Turtle Zhi Ming . under the watchful eye and wisdom of the Golden Dragon, each protecting the four corners of the world

Jinjing Vesta Cook - Jinjing meant clear, like crystal, and Vesta was a Roman goddess. Cook came from her father, an Englishman who moved to Hong Kong, married a pretty lady from Kowloon. Jinjing was gigantic, chunky, shy and awkward all at once and others bully her. Only her grandfather(gon-gon)—loved her just the way she was. Gon-gon worked in an antique shop, and every day after school she took the escalator to his shop. There she learned about antiques —their history, how they were made, what they were worth. Jinjing loved the shop’s smells—the rich aroma of wood, the dry tang of paint on canvas, the dusty fragrance of objects crammed with ancient secrets and mysterious pasts.

One day, at a quiet garden untouched by Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle. A flash of blinding light pulsed out of the tunnel.

She used to think about dragons that they are mostly good especially Chinese dragons.

Pietro - Italy - Pietro loved taking dares and many times it got him into troubles. He also love to visit Chiesa di Santo Augusto—the Church of St. Augustus. The church sat on a promontory overlooking the emerald Adriatic Sea. Nobody went inside anymore—it was a crumbling structure almost a thousand years old. His father has an olive orchard which he help to harvest. in the church he found a glowing worm that nobody saw beside him. They though he was making up story, which he did from time to time. He kept in his room and even though he didn’t eat anything, he grew and grew.

Kate - USA - She wasn’t afraid of boys—they were afraid of her. It had something to do with her wavy red hair and her perky smile and the fact that she thought all boys were morons who didn’t deserve the time of day. She found her replacement pet- Bo - on an “educational trip” to the Cape May lighthouse. He also he invisible to everyone except her and even though he didn’t eat anything, he grew and grew. Also he was hollow inside, its body contained no guts or brains or heart, or anything except a huge mouth on one end and a long hollow tube inside. It also had an electric charge.

One day, when a boy picked on her friend, her pet had completely covered her trough his mouth. She could move her arms and her legs easy enough, so she took a step towards the glowering boy, and send him back with electrifying shock.

She used to think about dragons that they are evil, breathe fire, capture maidens, charbroil knights

Saburo - Japan - Found Oni at a shrine perched on the mountain behind his village. In the Japanese mythology, the Oni were large, bulky, ogre-like demons with horns growing out of their heads. They carried heavy clubs and wore loincloths of tiger skins. Other kids thought they were scary. Saburo found them fascinating. His Oni wasn’t a demon, though. Saburo thought maybe he was a worm. A strange, green worm. When Saburo was little his mother ran their car off the road and Saburo’s hip and legs were broken. Several operations later he still limped and his legs always ached. He couldn’t run with the other kids or play sports very well, and his balance was so bad that he stopped riding his bike. Other kids teased him relentlessly because of that. His mother decided he should strengthen his legs, and so every weekend she made him climb the mountain. At first he only got a little way. Each time he got a little further, and soon he could trudge to the top. One day Oni shot with him off a cliff and plopped into the icy sea. Saburo didn’t feel the cold or the wetness. He was warm and toasty and dry and he could breathe.

The Yellow dragon - Very big it coiled around a rocky hill, with whippy tail with a tuft of hair at the end. Has a fiery eyes and a blocky yellow head. Sharp horns protruded from the head, and two long whiskers snaked away from either side of the red nostrils. Its whiskers undulated in the air, moving as if on their own accord (Jinjing thought that it is definitely a Chinese dragon. He looks just like the dragon statues in her grandfather shop). Every so often the tuft burst into a golden flame that traveled up its spines, until it entirely was ablaze.

The Four Fiends - “Gluttony, Chaos, Ignorance and Deviousness.

In fact a the story is about overcoming weaknesses and strengths and sometimes using them. It is also a story about friendship and the ways in which it can overcome barriers. As the story progresses, each child in turn must take the lead and conduct one rescue. And, to their surprise, it is not their strengths that they must use, but their weaknesses. How each discovers his or her weakness, and what they do with them, again....it is a part of the pleasure of reading the story. ( )
  yahalomi65 | May 10, 2014 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Book description
Jinjing, a socially awkward, insecure and fearful girl living in Hong Kong, is about as far from a brave hero as you can get. But when a legendary golden dragon pulls Jinjing and three other kids—dishonest Pietro from Italy, moody Saburo from Japan and overconfident Kate from America--into another dimension, Jinjing discovers courage and strength she never knew she possessed.

A group of horrible monsters—the Four Fiends—have kidnapped the Earth’s Guardians. These ancient creatures protect the world from harm, and while they’re missing, life on Earth will spiral into chaos. The Golden Dragon tasks Jinjing and her new friends to find the Fiends and rescue the Guardians.

Now, Jinjing must unlock the courage hidden deep inside and lead the others through faraway lands in their quest to confront the Fiends. Can they pull together and save the Guardians? Or will their personal struggles overwhelm their combined strengths and doom the world?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 148189854X, Paperback)

Jinjing, an insecure and fearful girl living in Hong Kong, is about as far from a brave hero as you can get. But when a legendary golden dragon pulls Jinjing and three other kids—dishonest Pietro from Italy, moody Saburo from Japan and overconfident Kate from America--into another dimension, Jinjing discovers courage and strength she never knew she possessed. A group of horrible monsters—the Four Fiends—have kidnapped the Earth’s Guardians. These ancient protectors keep the world from harm, and while they’re missing, life on Earth will spiral into chaos. The Golden Dragon tasks Jinjing and her new friends to find the Fiends and rescue the Guardians. Now, Jinjing must unlock the courage hidden deep inside and lead the others through faraway lands in their quest to confront the Fiends. Can they pull together and save the Guardians? Or will their personal struggles overwhelm their combined strengths and doom the world?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:01 -0400)

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