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''Dark Heavens'' is a trilogy of novels (''White Tiger'', ''Red Phoenix'', and ''Blue Dragon'') by Kylie Chan. It has a sequel, the ''Journey to Wudang'' trilogy of ''Earth to Hell'', ''Hell to Heaven'' and ''Heaven to Wudang''. ''Dark Serpent'', the first book in the third trilogy, ''Celestial Battle'' was released in April 2013, with ''Demon Child'' and ''Black Jade'' to follow. Set in the same universe is ''Small Shen'' a book in hybrid prose/comic format, illustrated by Queenie Chan (best known for ''Manga/TheDreaming''), which explores Jade and Gold's backstory.

When 28-year-old Emma Donahoe becomes a nanny to John Chenís daughter, Simone, she does not expect to be drawn into a world of martial arts, magic, and extreme danger, where both gods and demons can exist in the mortal world.

Emma gradually realises that John Chen is no ordinary businessman and that nearly all the demons in hell would like to see him dead. John and his American bodyguard, Leo, begin to teach Emma their particular brand of martial arts and special defensive techniques Ö they also begin to realise that there is something that is different about Emma but exactly what it is, nobody can say.

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!!This book series provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Emma Donahoe, after she starts learning martial arts. Also, Lady Win Chun, though she never actually makes an appearance, is implied to be this. [[spoiler: During Heaven to Wudang, Xuan Wu is unable to assume male form for a time. During this period she is definitely an ActionGirl.]]
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Demons, though if they repent, they can swear loyalty to an Immortal... in the eventual hope of attaining perfection in a few hundred years and becoming human.
* AscendedDemon: Demons can climb above their station. Normally, this is done through taming them with the Fire Essence Pill, which enslaves them to their new master until they develop free will and Ascend to human status. [[spoiler: It's very rare, but possible, for a demon to turn to the Celestial by its own will. The only known examples of this happening are Xuan Wu and the part-demon Emma.]]
* AwesomeButImpractical: [[spoiler: Emma is able to generate an ultra-rare black chi, which can instantly annihilate demons, or turn them human... sometimes. Other times, it does nothing at all. Eventually, Emma decides it's too unreliable and stops using it... [[ChekhovsGun for now]].]]
* AuthorAvatar: Emma Donahoe's nationality and appearance bear remarkable similarities to the author's.
* BadassGay: Leo. He's in love with John Chen and later Martin, and despite being terminally ill with AIDS, he's probably the strongest true mortal in the series. [[spoiler: At the end of the first trilogy, the latter stops being true.]]
* BeyondTheImpossible: When Xuan Wu is asked to make a sphere of water as cold as he can, he has to severely limit himself to avoid destroying the world by lowering the temperature to Absolute Zero. "Absolute Zero" is a theoretical temperature that is supposedly impossible to reach and yet he has to hold himself back from it.
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Kwan Yin is the Lady of Mercy. Accordingly, she often ends up protecting demons knowing full well that they're going to turn around and go right back to hurting people. It's what she is. She also can't help Heaven when the Demon King declares war, because a Buddha doesn't get involved in wars.
* BoisterousBruiser: The White Tiger. His favorite things in life (in no particular order) are fighting, eating and screwing.
* BreakTheCutie: Simone.
* BrickJoke: Consider the twist at the end of Heaven to Wudang. And then go back to the very first line of the entire series.
* BuffySpeak: "Demon stuff".
* CantHaveSexEver: Certainly puts Literature/{{Twilight}} in perspective. Although [[spoiler: they get around it a few times.]]
* CannotSpitItOut: John and Leo towards Emma in the first book. Regarding pretty much everything.
* CelestialBureaucracy: The series is based on a mish-mash of Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese folk religion.
* DarkIsNotEvil: One of Xuan Wu's official titles is "Emperor of the Dark Northern Heavens", or just "The Dark Lord" for short.
* DeathIsCheap: By the second trilogy death is just a minor nuisance to most of the main characters with the exception of [[spoiler: Emma and Simone,]] as most other main characters are immortal.
* DefeatEqualsExplosion: Demons.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Leo is a mortal with no divine blood, and is unable to practice energy work [[HandicappedBadass because he's HIV-positive]]. [[spoiler: At the end of the first series, he dies and is Raised to Immortality. Incidentally, the latter fixes his HIV problem and allows him to engage in chi work.]]
* EnlightenmentSuperpowers: Through following the Tao, a human can gain the control of chi necessary to perform [[KiAttacks superhuman feats]], or even be raised to {{Immortality}} upon death.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Even other demons are surprised at Simon Wong's complete lack of anything resembling honour or morals.
** The Demon King does not condone rape, [[spoiler: due to her experiences when she was human]].
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Kwan Yin, a Bodhisattva, is normally referred to as "Mercy", this being her divine role.
* ExoticExtendedMarriage: This is Chinese Heaven, so not all deities are monogamous. Bai Hu, for example, has over a hundred wives and they keep a strict schedule over how often each of them gets to screw him.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The Demon King [[NobleDemon always keeps his word, deals honorably with Emma and John]], and is generally a FriendlyEnemy to them despite the fact that he's constantly assaulting Wudang and will sentence prisoners to ColdBloodedTorture at the hands of the Snake Mothers. It's just what he does as Demon King, after all. [[spoiler: Except that ''absolutely none of this is true''. All that honor and friendliness is an act that he runs throughout the first two trilogies, while he uses his alternate identity as Kitty Kwok to engage in the most reprehensible acts of depraved [[MadScientist Mad Science]] she can think of. And in ''Heaven to Wudang'', he finally discards his affability and his honor to finally capture the Dark Serpent, Xuan Wu's female half.]]
* TheFourGods: Chinese version, including the fifth, Huang Long.
* GambitRoulette: [[spoiler: Emma's entire life was set up so that she'd turn into a DeathSeeker heroine and become John's troublesome love interest, despite her not even living in Hong Kong for most of it.]]
* GirlOnGirlIsHot: After [[spoiler: John returns to Emma in female form]], Bai Hu takes about one minute to figure out that they've been having sex. His first thought is to [[GenderBender gender-bend]] and try to get in on it, and his second thought is to get a video camera.
* HalfHumanHybrid: [[spoiler: Emma, Rhonda. Much to the latter's misfortune.]] Simone and Michael also qualify (Half-Shen). In Michael's words; "And I really am half goddamn Tiger!"
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler: In ''Demon Child'', Simone kills Emma to free her from the Serpent. However, she attains the Tao and is raised to Immortality by Xuan Wu.]]
* IfItsYouItsOkay: [[spoiler: Emma is heterosexual and in love with John, who is also Xuan Wu. Xuan Wu is [[GenderBender capable of assuming either gender]], though John had been "firmly male" for the past thirty years before meeting Emma, and he identifies as male. However, [[ItMakesSenseInContext because of circumstances]], in ''Heaven to Wudang'' John is stuck in a female ModeLock upon reuniting with Emma. Emma promptly has sex with her, and when John asks if Emma would be interested in occasionally sleeping with Female!John, she's okay with the idea.]]
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Simone in the fourth and most of the fifth books.
* {{Immortality}}: A major plot element is the question of humans attaining Immortality, either by following the Tao and cultivating themselves, or by drinking the Elixir of Immortality, which is usually gotten by marrying a deity with sufficient rank to order them Raised. [[spoiler: Leo and Michael are both Raised by attaining the Tao upon their deaths.]] In ''Demon Child'', [[spoiler: Emma Raises Simone through the Elixir as Simone is mortally wounded, and upon her own death, attains Immortality and is raised by Xuan Wu.]]
* ImmortalLifeIsCheap: When a god or Immortal dies, they just get a short time-out in Hell (and not even in torment; they just go to the waiting room until their case is judged), and Celestial culture understands this. Accordingly, fights to the death are not unknown and executions are seen as a fairly minor punishment (one that Emma repeatedly and deservedly threatens the White Tiger with in the second trilogy). John Chen is an exception: [[spoiler: when he dies, he's out of commission for several years, because he'd spent far too long without assuming Celestial Form]].
* ImmortalityImmorality: Kitty Kwok wants to attain Immortality without seeking the Way and going through the process. Instead, she's a MadScientist who performs her experiments on humans and demons in an attempt to win it herself.
* IReadItForTheArticles: In ''Dark Serpent'', Simone decides she doesn't want a khopesh because it was used in "[[Series/GameOfThrones Game of Boobs]]". John decides he must watch the show... for the depiction of the khopesh.
* JerkassFacade: [[spoiler: Qing Long.]]
* LimitedWardrobe: Mr. Chen wears black. All the time.
* LoveTriangle: Subverted and averted. [[spoiler: Emma believes Jade's dislike of her to be jealousy over Mr. Chen. Actually, Jade just thinks she's a gold-digging bitch.]] Also, The Tiger really, ''really'' wants Emma to be Wife #102.
** Leo has long been in love with John, but was good friends with John's first wife Michelle, and now Emma. He then starts a relationship with John's son Martin, while still in love with John.
* TheMasquerade: Subverted. Pretty much everyone has heard of Pak Tai, God of the Water... they just don't expect him to own a high-rise in Happy Valley.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: Pretty much any human/Shen relationship. Notably Emma/John, Rhonda/Bai Hu, and Gold/Amy. However, [[SubvertedTrope subverting this trope]] is possible, as a powerful enough god can just Raise their spouse (as John has promised to do for Emma). DoubleSubverted with [[spoiler: Rhonda. Bai Hu tries to Raise her, but because she's half-demon and doesn't know it, she explodes when given the Elixir.]]
* MightyWhitey: A young, white Australian nanny with no previous training goes to Hong Kong, develops superhuman martial-arts skills and magic ''qi'' powers in just a couple of years (certainly by the end of the first book in the first trilogy), beats up demons and generally proves herself the equal of Chinese ''gods'', never mind mere mortals.
** One post on the forums also wondered about Rhonda and Michelle, both white women who attracted the attention of male Shen, and asked the question, what is so special about these three seemingly normal white women?
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: ''Dark Serpent'' reveals that [[spoiler: the western gods did this repeatedly, until in the end they just gave up.]]
* NumberTwo: A "Number One" is an Emperor, General or other dignitary's highest-ranking son. (Not necessarily the eldest.) They serve this function, acting in place of their fathers when they aren't around. Bai Hu eventually selects [[spoiler: Michael]] as his Number One, and a major plot of the first trilogy is about the villain's plan to become the Demon King's Number One by bringing his father the head of Xuan Wu.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: When someone dies, Immortal or not, they have to go to Hell for a meeting with Judge Pao. Even the Jade Emperor can't force him to expedite the hearing, and he doesn't - the only time in which he does bend the rules is when Hell has been invaded by demons. [[spoiler: It's revealed that he's a CorruptBureaucrat as well, in that he has been censured for illegally finding every woman whose case crossed his desk Unworthy of Immortality, even if they've attained the position - as he tries to do to Emma, before the Dark Lord intervenes.]]
* ThePlan: Oh God.
* PluckyGirl: Emma does not know the meaning of fear. When the lives of the ones she loves are on the line, she won't even blink at laying down her life, and when she's in danger, she keeps a cool head and will damned well get out of it. [[spoiler: Also a DeconstructedTrope. She's got such superheroic characteristics because they were programmed into her by the BigBad, to the point of being a DeathSeeker, because this causes trouble for John and those around him.]]
* PowerLevels: Demons are rated by levels. For comparison, a level fifty is pretty heavy.
* Really700YearsOld: a large part of the cast are Taoist Immortals, with John Chen himself being over four thousand (Emma comments once that The Golden Boy, a mere 500-something stone, is 'far too young for her')
* RedBaron: Leo is known as "the Black Lion".
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Discussed at length. Also serves as a BerserkButton for John.
* ScaryBlackMan: Leo.
* [[spoiler: SheIsTheKing: The Demon King was female during her human lifetime.]]
* ShoutOut[=/=]MemeticMutation:
** The first time Emma [[spoiler: transforms into a snake]], she's [[spoiler: [[SnakesOnAPlane on a plane]]]]. Leo, of course, is there to point out that she's a [[spoiler: motherfucking snake]]. John later complains of a similar joke regarding his serpent half.
** There are also frequent {{Shout Out}}s to geek favourites such as ''Literature/GoodOmens'', ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', ''Series/DoctorWho'' and others. Kylie Chan is obviously OneOfUs.
* StayingAlive: {{Lampshaded}} when an official in the courts of Hell complains about Emma's Retainers constantly getting killed.
* SupernaturalMartialArts: Of course.
* TakingYouWithMe: A variation occurs in Earth to Hell, the BigBad of the book attacks Emma when she is alone at the end of the book, she is unable to defeat him [[spoiler: because if she gets any demon essence on her she will fully transform into a extremely powerful demon, luckily Leo returns just in time to take the demon down.]]
* TomatoInTheMirror:
** Demon copies. A copy believes themself to be the person they're imitating, but they're actually demons, and [[ManchurianAgent implanted with commands, usually including a self-destruct]], for specific situations. When not acting under these commands, they act perfectly like the person they're copying.
** [[spoiler: Emma Donahoe is a descendant of a Western snake demon bloodline who was modified and manipulated from birth as part of a massively intricate plot. Many of her most heroic characteristics were, in fact, originally built into her by the BigBad]].
* TookALevelInBadass: Emma takes several levels over the course of the series.
* TranslatorMicrobes: One of the benefits of living in the Chen household.
* TwoferTokenMinority: Leo. Black, gay, and human. [[spoiler: The last one ceases to be a problem following the end of Earth to Hell.]] Also, HIV-positive, [[spoiler: and later paraplegic]].
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Leo really doesn't like them. And look who he ended up working for. And also water.
* WorldOfSnark: Friendship, in this world, means constantly insulting each other.
* WrongContextMagic: It quickly becomes clear that Emma is not 100% human. She's not a conventional Shen or demon either. What the hell she actually is, however, is unclear and becomes a major question in the second trilogy.

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