When I read the first "Jing: King of Bandits" I thought it was a cute series to read if you had nothing better to do, but not much more. Jing was a likable enough character, but he was as boring as a brick. The stories were interesting, yet there was no major story going on to tie things together to make the series a page turner. And while I enjoyed the humorous romps Jing and Kir shared, there was never any tention or suspense in the series since Jing really only had one attack: Kir Royal. The first series was harmless fun, but not much more. And now we have "Jing: King of Bandits - Twilight Tales," the sequel to the original Jing series. Unlike the first Jing series, which which had a strange and fun world to explore, the world in "Twilight Tales" is darker and more sinister. Jing is a few years older, Kir is still his best friend and ultimate weapon (and still has trouble shutting up once in awhile), and the two are both still going on adventures to steal the world's best treasure's (well, best treasures depending on who you are). Jing's skills as a thief haven't evolved much since we first set our eye's on him, but the world Jing enhabits certainly has.
The world in the first Jing series looked like a world Tim Burton would create, yet it was lively enough that is was a strange yet fun world. There were lots of likable characters to discover, the cities had so much life in them, and even the gothic villains were fun to look at. The world in "Twilight Tales" still looks like a world Tim Burton would create, but the world is now a dark, sinister, evil place at times, and the new creatures are so strange looking that they either look creepy or just plain ugly. It should also be noted that there is not beautiful girl in this series so far (man Jing, you really[initialized] should have stuck with the good looking sharp shooter from the first series). As for the treasure hunts, they're still as simple as they were in the first series. Jing eye's something, someone stands in their way, mayhem follows, and when we start to get bored of the story (or lack therefor) Jing straps Kir on his arm and uses his "Kir Royal" attack to save the day. The formula may not have changed one bit since we last saw Jing, which includes pacing, characterization, and story twists, but since this new series goes out of its was to make the world and creatures dark and sinister the stories are no longer FUN to read! All the stories play out the same way as the first series except they play out the same way without any of the charm the first series had. I give you a story description of this series since (like the first series) there really isn't a main story to describe...in fact, this series is basically the same thing as the first series.
However this new series isn't fun to read...at all. "Jing: King of Bandits - Twilight Tales" may feature the same characters, same storyline (and pacing), and same way of doing things, but the darker setting and mood is more likely to make people read this series and have them feeling sick. The new creatures are so ugly and sinister I can't stand to look at them, and the improved artwork seems like a waste since the art in this series creates places that we want to get away from rather then explore. If you thought Shaguille O'Neils acting in "Kazam" was ugly, then the mess that is contained withen this book will absolutly STUN you! "Jing: King of Bandits - Twilight Tales" is a MAJOR step back for the Jing character! The series is not fun, it's not charming, and I doubt too many people will like this. People new to Jing will not like how ugly and unattractive this series is, while people who are fans of Jing's first series will be put off by the new tone this series has. It's a lose lose situation, and if there is a third instalment in Jing's life I would hope that the author goes back to making this series fun again, because as it stands now I don't think Jing is ever really going to work as a dark gothic series...at least, not without a story to back it up.