The Moon In The Palace

This was just pointless on so many levels. I expected a more deeper novel, and this is about Wu Zetian. And well, nothing happened in the first hundred pages or so.

I did want to know what the author thought of her. And although her portrayal was plausible, since the novel starts when she was a girl. Not a woman condemned to the nunnery, not a woman who has seized power. But it is also its greatest flaw.

Because nothing happened, and I don’t see how this girl can be Wu Zetian. She lacked the ambition, the aggressiveness that was well known during her time. A reason why she was passed over for Lady Xu. And I expected someone more bold, since she readily took her place in court. Her life was rather miserable after her father’s death, and the only thing it served to was to make her rather angry and wanting to take revenge. And that she had no hopes for ever marrying well. That did happen in this case.

Also, I highly doubt her sister married a merchant. I really doubted it. Tang Dynasty merchants will have problems finding a wife since they are regarded as the most lowly of them all, even poor girls like her sister will be better off married to a poor farmer. It was that bad for merchants. They could not enter imperial examinations, and their girls could never expect to serve in court. There were all sorts of discrimination against them. So, I highly doubt so.

But this is about Emperor Wu Zetian. I could accept it for any other Empress but not her. Even when going she exhibited some character that she will bring to adulthood.

I just find it pointless that it had to focus so much on the relationship between them rather than exploring her character. Her thoughts in a deeper level.

And this is where it just failed. Of you want to read one which is really doing Wu Zetian justice, checked out Empress by Shan Sa.

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A Treacherous Curse 

In a strange way, this completely captured my attention. The mystery was different as was the main characters in a very very good way. 

Veronica was defining relatable, and even entertaining to read through. She was a woman who didn’t try to complain or show how difficult her life was. I barely knew anything about her, but she is a detective who does all the work expected of her. She investigated everything thoroughly. And all her words were rather memorable. 

As for Stoker, who is her partner is also nonetheless interesting. It isn’t a romance, they remain very very platonic. While it reveals a lot about Stoker and what his past was, which was something interesting. 

Again the novel shows that almost no one caused the death of a particular person. Just plenty of people with different motives who happened to drive him to his eventual death. 

The ending was rather fulfilling as it was, since Veronica does have a place for herself not to mention the fact that Stoker also gained closer. As for the dialogue regarding Caroline de Morgan. It was entertaining and so right as it was. 

Overall, I really really enjoyed this work. It was satisfying yet differently structured from most mystery novels set in this time period. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Golemn And The Jinni

I think that this was okay overall and that the beginning was it’s strongest. The writing really came to life there, and I did enjoy it at the beginning.

However towards the end, I didn’t enjoy it as much anymore. As I did feel that the plot was a little too slow to my tastes, and that it took a long time before the two main characters even met.

Although they were characterized rather well, but they often faded into the background since the writing is in omniscient and does do a good exploration of the side characters who are rather well fleshed out, but the main characters lack a huge presence there.

The writing was one of its strongest points initially, where I found it funny and full of life. And it continued staying so for most of the book, it really amplified the style quite well.

Overall, I really enjoyed the writing style of the author and how it fleshed out most of the characters. However the rest was not really as intriguing.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Emilia

This was a truly satisfying tale. Of a woman who survived being in the concentration camps and managed to leave there.

I really do like the accuracy of how the women are treated, horrible to the point that several times I felt like wanting to throw this book. And that I cared so deeply for Emilia. Unlike most who survive because of either their goodness, Emilia isn’t. She sells her body, for the sake for her family and eventually herself. Field whore, but she knows how to stay alive and that I think is most important. That she stayed alive. I did like Emilia for her true beliefs, and that eventually she had a long road to heal which she will eventually do.

But most of all, this is dark and heartbreaking tale. I really like how the account was so devastating to Emilia, who will lose a lot, everything. Even the ability to bear children, that will be taken away from her too. But I like that she was able to move on, and eventually able to find someone new.

The ending part was the hope that I wanted. She lived, and settled down into Russia and eventually became a much kinder person. All the while managing to eventually get her own family, in her own way and mend her wounds too. Eventually even extending kindness onto her enemies. To me, that is the most important.

This isn’t a tale that any should enjoy, but it is one that has to be heard. Hence, I wholeheartedly recommend this.

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Stone Sky

Now this was a very satisfying conclusion. I was in love with the first book and the same for the second happened. Here, is where it truly ends.

But it isn’t just about the moon returning, but also about Essun’s tale of motherhood and need for her children. She starts by searching for her daughter, only to be changing the world instead. Here is no different, except that she has to catch the moon.

Most importantly, the most important character was the narrator. It makes sense why it was written in second person, since there will be a final narrator. Who will sum everything up. This tale is one of completeness at the end, where all the lost ties are wind up. And delivering one of a mother finding her daughter, and eventually her past catches up with her and in the midst of a season too.

The writing was the one which drew me in, as did the worldbuilding for its uniqueness. The way that a season was created and functioned, that at the end, a new world will work and function.

The ending, was open enough that I like it. Hopeful, and working towards a better world. Essun reunited with Nassun at last, and their relationship. Nassun has taken revenge on her own father, since Essun trained her. All the while, also changing. But the ending, was how I believe that it should end, one where the world can be changed rather than seeing it become a miracle.

After a tale of loss for mostly Essun, and eventually discovering and having to deal with one obstacle after another. I really feel for her, as she goes through all this with only one intention: find her daughter. And that she had to do all that to be reunited with her own daughter.

And finally, this trilogy is not suitable for everybody. However, it is a worthwhile tale overall. And that I will be continuing with the author’s other works.

5 out of 5

The Unity Game

This just wasn’t to my expectations. I did expect a writing with a tighter plot than this. And that the beginning just did not grab me while it still could.

And that I don’t think it really touched much of the philosophical aspect of the writing as it was. I just didn’t feel intrigued or even interested in it.

The main characters just wasn’t to my taste at all, I found them bland and forgettable. And as always, when this makes me unable to read it I just cannot continue on.

Overall, this just wasn’t written for me and I just didn’t enjoy it. Feel free to check it out as well, I just never really liked this work at all.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Wolf Of Oren-Yaro

This was a strangely enticing book. It isn’t about a young Queen or a king. It is a middle aged woman who had a son, and well frankly I really liked how the author portrayed her.

She wasn’t portrayed as perfect, but full of flaws and weaknesses. And she constantly ran into all sorts of obstacles because she was stubborn or didn’t know how thing worked there. I really enjoyed how her personal character is rather interesting, uncompromising but never brutal. All the while she has many personal flaws which takes her to interesting places.

The intrigue to me was the best of this all. It was how conspiracies, every country looking to her as some sort of stepping stone to ruling Oren-Yaro. Even when she already has an heir. This takes the intrigue of it to a really dark level, with plenty of villains here turn out to be fascinating people, and the machinations all well done.

It is between Rayyel, who has some reasons why he wanted to know about and is opposing Taleyian. And the Prince Yueback, who is an intriguing villain nonetheless.

I will also fall in love with Khine, who is a mix of con artist and semi good person. Again, I just cannot turn back but become enamoured by him and I completely understand why Taleyian will fall in love with him. I will too, if you ask me.

Overall, this was just enjoyable to this extent. The intrigue, the setting which I say is very Asian inspired given the names. And last but not least, the main character who is a queen, but has her own flaws, struggles to control her court. I really enjoyed reading this tale for all it gave me, and I will recommend it to those who have a love of intrigue with characters who are likely to put power first.

Rating: 5 out of 5