Let me first say that I am really excited about the fact that Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy, decided to take a leap of faith in writing such a different type of novel. I never read any of her novels, nor do I want to judge her entire writing style on this novel, that being said I have a lot of issues with this novel. This novel needs a lot of work especially in the design of world building; plot design, dialogue; and of course character development. This novel gets a solid rating of , the cultural back story of the novel is the reason the rating is at least 3 stars but the technical issues of the writing is what brings the star count to a complete stop, and I’ll explain why.
1. World Building
The novel tells us that there is a village living on the top of a mountain, where there is only three types of occupations in the village, artist; miners; and exports. The narrator makes this statement quite clear when she reveals to us that her sister who is an apprentices artist is losing her sight. The protagonist is afraid that she will then become the fourth occupation to the village which is a beggar. This is heart wrenching by its self BUT confusing, because when a miner carried away from the mine dead ALL OF A SUDDEN a fifth occupation approaches which is a PRIEST! So explain to me why her sister, who was going blind couldn’t just become a priestess? Instead the narrator thought it would better to have her sister become a servant in her own former home. Hmmm that seems to remind me of something, let me think . . . .
So yea that’s really strange, not to mention the random appearances of a king; soldiers, gun powerder, another village at the bottom of the mountain and so on. It just truly didn’t make much sense.
2. Oh Plot, where art plot?
I don’t get it. One minute it was about saving the village, maybe? Or the plot was about love. I really don’t know. At one point I thought the plot was about making a change for the better of all people but then Li Wei had to ask the elders permission to marry, but the fallow sentence stated that everyone was now equal. I really don’t know what the plot was at all.
I truly love the fact that the main communication between our protagonist and other character was sign langue. Even though sign language might seem like a standard language their still signs that are not understood between communicators. I also love the fact that the village of deaf citizen where not written as if they were impaired, most of the villagers were extremely active in their daily lives, it was only their blinds that truly impaired them.
4. Character relationship was missing.
When I say the character development is missing, I feel that the character relationship between readers is to short. I wanted to spend more time with the character so I could have become more attached to them. Their development was truly hit or miss with me because I didn’t understand their back story, their fore I couldn’t attach my emotions towards them. I understand that Mead gave us flashes of backstories to illustrate the relationship between character, however it didn’t give me relationship between them. I felt more like a creeper watching their intention rather than feeling the connection through them.
I feel that the novel could have been better if it wasn’t so short or perhaps if it would have been a doulogy. From reading an interview with Mean and Happy Ever After, Mead wanted this novel to be stand alone novel, even though she truly enjoys epic fantasy. I feel that even though she tried extremely hard to make this book a stand alone, i honestly wish she didn’t. If anything perhaps making it two book series would have given Mead more time to focus on her writing rather than focusing on the release of a single book.
I would still buy this book, and I will still love what I read I would just wish their was more to it. Perhaps if I research the Chinese Folklore of the novel I might get a better insight, but for now I am still wanting more.