Opening line–”Daiyu looked over the assortment of jewelry at the old woman’s booth and didn’t see anything she liked.”
First of all, I loved the cover. The designer had obviously read the book, or knew enough about it to be true to details like the color of Kalen’s hair. It had just the right feel, and it made me happy.
I liked the book itself. It felt very sold, well-written, well thought out. I liked the fact that it was multi-cultural without that feeling forced. The idea of an alternate universe where the equivalent of China is the dominant culture was fascinating, although I’m not entirely sure that I bought the interaction between the different groups in that world.
If this sounds a little lukewarm, I guess that’s because it is. I did like it. I found it an enjoyable read. And yet, I was never wowed, never blown away by the writing or the setting. The characters never made me really fall in love with them. I did very much like the fact that Daiyu takes the time to consider whether the people she finds herself with are trustworthy or not, instead of blindly following whatever they tell her to do.
I think part of my…problem is too definite a word…difficulty? with the book was that I didn’t buy into the romance. It seemed just a little forced, like it was there because it was supposed to be, somehow.
Final verdict? Interesting, well-written book, with a nicely done inclusion of other cultures.
Book source: public library
Book information: Viking, 2009