Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit.
Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.'
Read onward for SPOILER FREE MUSINGS.
This was a good book.
The setting and mythology is fascinating and the story unexpected, the characters interesting and effective too.
It was kind of beautiful.
Weirdly enough it took me a little while to get into this one.
Not because the beginning was slow in any way, but because I got massive instant romance vibes between the protagonist and the love interest. And I am not particularly down for that.
Actually it kind of put me off the whole thing (which is pretty terrible considering it is only the smallest aspect of the story) except then....it kind of turns out very different to what I expected.
In a really welcome way.
In an unexpected way.
I think the book plays with your expectations and turns things upside down in a really nice way. So that element of the romance really worked for me.
Things just aren’t quite as obvious as they seem.
Things I enjoyed immensely about this story:
The setting is pretty lovely.
The cultural melting pot that is Malaya, the way all these different cultures and beliefs and superstitions exist so strongly within one city (Malacca), clashing in some ways, co-existing in others.
I felt the descriptions were very immersive, the house the protagonist lives in was old and creaking, the servants who lived with her felt like real people, the way the food and clothes and surroundings are described is beautiful.
And the mythology!
This book delves into a fascinating underworld based on Chinese mythology, the idea of hungry ghosts left wandering, homeless with no one left to remember them... turning them into something else.
The protagonist travels all the way into the underworld accompanied by a mysterious stranger, attempting to free herself from the unwanted attentions of a ghost, and it’s a pretty interesting ride.
I was really satisfied at the end of this book, mainly due to the excellent and vivid world-building, the protagonist herself, a character I really liked and emphasised with, and the romance elements, which hit me side-on for a change, so that was fun.
There is also a rather great kiss scene too, which, sigh, shouldn’t sway me either way, but as I said, I am a total sucker for the romantic elements within any story if presented well. And I thought this one was presented well.
A beautiful book. One that lingered on my mind for quite some time after I finished.
Has anyone else read this one?
What did you think?