Author: Sharon Shinn
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Copy provided by: Other Shelf Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):
As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring—and tells her that “black jade” translates to “Daiyu”—she buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it’s more than that; it’s magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There’s only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever. . .
Why I read this: It's been on my want-to-read list for a while and when I saw it on tour with Other Shelf Tours I signed up. It's my first Sharon Shinn novel - an author I've been meaning to read.
Plot: Definitely intriguing in nature. Daiyu ends up in a different world with the majority of people like herself - Chinese. She is told she must help put a stop to a charming politician in that world so that he will not cause it harm as it has been seen in other worlds. The worlds that exist are fairly parallel, although seemingly set in different time periods. Daiyu is just thrown into the plot and I felt like there wasn't enough background on the character guiding her to really make it a solid plot. The main plot seemed to subside to the romance developing between Daiyu and Kalen, which seems to come forwards as the real focus of the book.
Characters: I couldn't connect to Daiyu. She didn't seem to react at all to being pulled into this new realm and never seemed to miss her own world and family. I felt she was a bit bland and there was really no build up to connect to her. Kalen, Daiyu's love interest, also seems a bit flat character-wise. He has all the perfect aspects of a love interest without any flaws or anything that makes him stand out. She just simply starts to like him because of proximity. Not exactly a spicy love interest either.
Relatability: I couldn't connect to the characters and wasn't too gung-ho about the plot. It felt a little too formulaic and only the different situations made the book move along, not the main premise. I did enjoy these situations though and although this book fell short in a few different aspects, it was still an entertaining read.
Cover Commentary: Very pretty and definitely gives off the feeling of Chinese culture.
Rating: 3/5 Roses
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