Thursday, February 20, 2020

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao - ADVISABLE

Song of the Crimson Flower (Rise of the Empress 2.5) by Julie C. Dao, 288 pages. Philomel Books (Penguin), 2019. $19
Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG (Characters wounded or killed in battle)                       



Lan stares out the window and dreams of her true love, Tam, and their upcoming marriage.  Being the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, Lan would please her family greatly if she were to marry him for he is the son of the town physician.  Lan soon learns that Tam is not actually the boy who has been playing the flute outside her window, but Bao, the poor physician's apprentice.  When Lan rejects Bao's love, he sails away on his boat until a spell is placed upon him which can only be broken by true love. Bound by the spell, Bao and Lan must journey across the continent while encountering many royal people along the way.  War is raging all around them as they try to break the spell, find Bao's family and stop the war.     

Dao writes a captivating and enchanting fantasy full of love, war and betrayal.  I was drawn into it from the start.  Dao doesn't leave you in suspense long which is why this is such a quick read.  Secrets and deceptions are revealed quickly which keeps the reader eager to find out more.  Forbidden love is always enthralling to read about while the reader is continually wondering how the two characters with ever get together.  Lan and Bao have an exciting ending that could lead to another book.       

Jessica Nelson Librarian      

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