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October 17, 2023

The Girl From Wudang by PJ Caldas ~ a Review

by MK French

Yinyin was raised in the sacred mountains of Wudang, focused on tai chi and the dao. Balancing her yang with yin was too difficult there, and she moves to the Bay Area to become a professional fighter. When there, she's told about an experiment that connects brains directly to the "Brainternet," which would allow her to not only become a better fighter but to stop having the headaches that leave her almost suicidal from their intensity. Everything comes with a price, and the connection would allow others to access secrets that Yinyin was sworn to protect.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of technothriller The Girl From Wudang
October 2023; Tuttle Publishing; 978-0804856928
ebook, print (352 pages); technothriller

The Girl From Wudang
is billed as a novel about artificial intelligence, martial arts, and immortality, not something you'd expect to be rolled all together into one story. We open with a fight, which turns very bloody very quickly, definitely not what we would expect of tai chi. Yinyin even acknowledges that, as most of us would think of the slow, flowing movements that elderly do in parks to stay active. What she does is very much not park movements. She uses her knowledge in a fight club, smashing her opposition at every turn, and snippets of flashbacks during the fight as we're inside her head. We see how terrible her headaches are, and the lengths she goes to for the pain to stop, and how alone she is in America. The scientists she meets who talk to her about nanotech and linking minds are creepy and condescending at once. They're the type of people that I avoid in real life, but she's so desperate to stop the migraines that she's willing to take part in their experiments and lace her brain with bots to try to rewire the areas that lead to the migraines, even if it makes all of her thoughts readable to the scientists and the project.

There are footnotes throughout the text referencing the articles that inspired aspects of the story and the ideas that the author had while putting the book together. It displays the foundations for the plot, which are solid. I found the scientists so irritating and difficult to find any empathy for. Simon especially was a creep, and I eventually cringed anytime he had time on the page. I hated seeing him, and the constant back and forth between the present and Yinyin's past made it convoluted to follow. It might be how our minds work, and this is ultimately about how her mind is monitored and then altered by the nanobots and the project. It took a turn for the worse very quickly, and I was curious about what would happen even with how much I disliked the characters. I liked how it all came back to the Dao, to spiritualism, to connection in the name of peace and the betterment of humanity.

Buy The Girl From Wudang at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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