Double Whammy Book Reviews: Ancient China in all its glory!

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The Moon in the Palace Rating: 2.5/5

I read the first book in the duology The Moon in the Palace and wasn’t too impressed. I liked it just fine but it wasn’t a page turner for me. I kept reading because I was curious and the subject was very well researched, you can tell the author put a lot of work and energy into the manuscript, but I wasn’t drawn into the era like I usually like to be when reading historical fiction. The descriptions weren’t descriptive enough, I felt like if you omitted the names of the characters, the story could have been set anywhere in the world, old or modern. I couldn’t picture the lead characters, or the settings that the author placed them in, making it hard for the story to leave the 2D world and become 3D for me and because of that, the novel didn’t come to life.

I give it 2.5/5 for the character development, the smooth progression of story, the intense amount of research that was required to make this novel work. Sad because with a little bit more work, I would have enjoyed the novel even more, but given that it is the debut novel of the author and she picked such a heavy subject, well done I say mate. #cheerio #toodles #g’day mate #imdone #ipromise

I read the second book of the duology The Empress of the Bright Moon because

A. I had it

B. I wanted to know how Wu’s prophecy got fulfilled

C. I still had trouble believing this was a true story

D. I’m a morbid masochist and can’t help but put myself through this

The Empress of the Bright Moon Rating: 3.75/5

The author's skill grew leaps and bounds for the second book and I’m glad I gave it a chance. I got drawn in immediately and although she did a little better job at setting the scenes and surroundings, I still wasn’t entirely sold. It was the characters and story that held me; I found myself raging with impotence at the book, annoyed with the characters for not striking while the iron was hot, or for being too naïve and trustworthy.

Spoiler alert: I cursed at the book when the Empress hurt Hope, I cried with Wu when her daughter died, I laughed with glee when Wu was made a lady.

All out loud mind you. Habibi was not amused to be woken up by my cursing at the book at 1 in the morning. I couldn’t help it though. Olden day China had nincompoops running around.

I love to hate at books. I love the feeling of hating to be helpless while reading a book. The fact that I can't do anything or help anyone - I can merely turn the page and bit my lip, hoping that everything works out in the end. I can’t slap the impertinence off someone’s face or give someone advice, all I can do is be a mute spectator. I hate it. Told ya. #masochist.

I'll tell you why I love being tortured so. I love when a good novel can affect me, get me worked up and involved, rooting for the hero/heroine or maybe even for the villain at times. Because that means the author has done their job, catching hold of my attention and pulling me in, weaving me into the story and getting me invested. I don't understand people who hold their emotions under control when watching a movie or reading a book. (I'm looking at you Habibi)

What is the point of reading or watching something without getting involved? Or letting it affect you? Why are people so afraid of emotions? Or feelings? Why? Why? Whhhhy?

Full Disclosure: I skip ahead, read the ending and assuage my fears, then leisurely go back and read the book. Yes I know. No I will not stop. I get too worked up and can't enjoy the book if I'm too worried about what will happen.


I give The Empress Of The Bright Moon a 3.75/5. I’m so happy the author is honing her craft and the results are evident for all to see. I look forward to her next novel as I am optimistic she can only get better from here.