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.