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Spoilers below:

The Lotus PalaceThe Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wish Goodreads had a way to issue 'half-star' ratings. The Lotus Palace was a three and a-half star read, but as GR doesn't seem to think half a star counts, here we are, left with three.

THE GOOD:

I've been enjoying Jeannie Lin's work for a while now. Her settings are always evocative, and the North Hamlet is no exception. I really felt as if I were among the dusty streets and gambling dens.

Bai Huang and Yue-Ying were lively protagonists, and I enjoyed reading about them. Their relationship was charming, and had a simplicity that I appreciated. For a novel which hinges on the age-old 'star crossed lovers' trope, there is next to no overwhelming angst. And in fact, if there is any pining to be done, it's Lord Bai Huang who is the romantic, while the serving girl Yue-Ying remains stoically practical about matters. The couple complemented each other well.

THE BAD:

The murder mystery plot(read: excuse for the protagonists to meet), wasn't bad, but it did suffer from too many culprits. Just as I was certain the case was at an end, another villain would crawl out of the woodwork. It caused the resolution to drag.

Likewise, the romance plot suffered by having Bai Huang's pre-arranged fiancee neatly swept under the rug, to pave the way for a HEA ending. The Lotus Palace is a romance, and therefore must have the traditional ending. However, after driving so much of the conflict in the novel, it was a bit too easy to have the fiancee fall in love with the hero's brother. And off-screen, at that!


THE UGLY:

There is no ugly. Despite a few missteps toward the end, this was a fun, light read. I enjoyed the main characters and their families, and I hope that this series can continue in some way. I'd be interested to find out what lies in store for Bai Huang's sister, in particular.

View all my reviews
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