27 June, 2024

The Legendary Mo Seto by A Y Chan - [Book Review]

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Book Details:

Title: The Legendary Mo Seto

Author: A Y Chan

Genre: Children's book, Middle grade fiction

Publisher: Aladdin

Print Length: 320 pages

Source: A free review copy from the author


A fast-paced, high-kicking debut that’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Stand Up, Yumi Chung as a young taekwondo artist uses an ancient book to help save her dreams—and her father.

Twelve-year-old Modesty “Mo” Seto dreams of being a taekwondo champion. Even though her mom disapproves, Mo can always count on her dad, who is her number one fan and biggest supporter. Lately, Mo has been on a losing streak, and it doesn’t help that she keeps losing to her archnemesis, Dax, who’s much bigger than her. If only she were faster, stronger, not so petite. Mo can’t even lean on her dad like usual with how distracted he’s been lately.

When Mo learns about the chance to audition to star alongside her idol and legendary martial artist and movie star Cody Kwok, she knows this her chance to prove to her dad, to the world, and to herself that she can compete with anyone, no matter her size. Unfortunately, Dax is auditioning, too. As Mo and her nemesis progress to callbacks, someone attempts to sabotage the movie set and Mo’s dad disappears—and both events seem linked to a mysterious book, the Book of Joy.

The book contains information on Xiaoxi Fu, a secret dance-like martial art developed by Mo’s ancestral grandmother. Armed with these secret moves and an unexpected ally, Mo embarks on a high-octane adventure to rescue her father, save the movie, and discover an unexpected joy in being small.

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My Review:

This is the story of a 12 year old girl Mo Seto/ Modesty, an ambitious person training to be a Taekwondo Champion. She loses against Dax in the championship and is disappointed when her father also disappears from her life temporarily. 

She finds one book about an ancient martial art at home and gets intrigued about the link between the martial art and her grandfather. With help from her friend Nacho, she tries to translate and understand the technique shown in the book.

She gets an opportunity to audition for a movie by her favorite actor Cody Kwok. Since her dad is not there to guide her and her mom is not interested in martial arts, she gets into audition by lying about her height.

Is Cody Kwok really a hero in real life? Can she realize her dream of working with her favorite actor? Where is her dad and what's the connection to the book and his disappearance? The remaining story answers all these questions.

What I loved?

The plot, characterization, narrative and twists are all very well done. The last half of the book seems like a good thriller. 

Characters are genuine, honest and relatable. I love Modesty - her attitude of taking risks, and her determination to achieve something. Nacho is a lovely friend that anyone would be fortunate to have. Dax, Jun and Cody are all relatable to the persons we see in our daily lives. 

I love the message from the story. A good and inspiring read for middle graders.

My Rating: 5/5

PS: I received a review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Until next time,

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