So this is one of those books that I feel didn’t quite live up to its potential. It really had some awesome things going for it, number one being that it takes place in ancient China. On top of that, it has some Chinese mythology and fantasy elements going on, which were pretty fascinating. And I really liked the storyline with Zhong Ye, the bad guy, and thought that whole thing was cool in a creepy way.
But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.
It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.
But . . . the writing never quite won me over—it never seemed to gain any real depth or insight. And honestly, the conversations usually came off as pretty trite to me. Plus, Ai Ling had a tendency to annoy me, which never bodes well for my opinion of a book. Although, I am willing to admit that it might just be a personality clash for me rather than any true flaw in her character. But really, the thing that annoyed me the most about the book *spoiler alert* is that Ai Ling gets all hot and heavy with the bad guy but doesn’t even hold hands with Chen Yong, the dreamboat. I mean, what’s up with that? It’s probably really superficial of me to care, but I need at least a tiny hint of romantic resolution in my stories, and I definitely didn’t get it here. *end spoiler*
Overall, I thought the book was alright, but I’m not sure if it would’ve held my attention if it hadn’t had all the cool Chinese stuff going for it. I’m fairly tempted to check out the next book in the series to see if it improves—because I do think it has potential. Also because I need me some romantic resolution.
Rating: 3 / 5