Book Review: Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

Sunday 30 April 2023

 Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for the advance reader copy of Yellowface by R. F. Kuang.

The story follows authors June Hayward and Athena Liu both were at the same year of Yale, both had their debut published on the same year. However Athena is classed as a literary darling and June didn't even get a paperback release on her book.

When June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident she impulsively steals her just finished experimental novel on the unsung contributions of Chinese labourers to the British and French during World War 1.

June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent. She gets a new publisher and rebrands as Juniper Song complete with a new ethnically ambiguous author photo. After all doesn't this piece of history need to be told no matter who by.

However June is stuck in Athena's shadow  and evidence emerges threatening to bring June's successes down around her. How far will June go to protect her secret?

After struggling to get through Babel I thought I would give another of Rebecca's books a go and I am glad that I did.

I finished this book in a day and found it an enjoyable read which raises debate and social commentary on alot of important topics surrounding the publishing industry and diversity.

I really enjoyed the in depth look into the background of the publishing industry. This book is told from June's perspective in first person and while you know that it is not going to end well you just cannot stop reading.

June is not a saint she is two faced and dishonest and it is amazing the lengths she goes too to manipulate those around her and the narrative to keep hold of the success she has achieved from the stolen manuscript.

I also found it fascinating how we learnt more about Athena's character as the book went on through the perspective of June and how her character is crafted through these experiences and memories.

This book definitely felt like a social commentary on how the world of publishing works and an authors struggles within it and I was gripped by this! 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to seeing what R. F. Kuang comes out with next! 

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Shanghai Immortal by A. Y. Chao

Shanghai Immortal by A. Y. Chao

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advance reader copy of Shanghai Immortal in exchange for an honest review.

Shanghai Immortal follows Lady Jing who is half vampire and half hulijing fox spirit. Pawned to the King of Hell by her mother when she was a child she has spent the past ninety years running errands, trying to control her temper and dodging the cruel taunts of the other hulijing courtiers.

When she hears of their plot to steal a dragon pearl from the king she seizes her chance to expose them.

However she has been tasked to watch over a mortal who is helping the King set up the Central Bank of Hell. With him in tow she starts searching for answers however as things start to get more dangerous she begins to question if this is worth the risk.

I really enjoyed this book I thought the ideas throughout were quite original, the world building was good and the characters were well crafted.

I really enjoyed Jings character despite her childish tendencies at the start and her relationship with Mr Lee throughout the book made this a sweet read. 

I noticed this was classed as adult fiction which was surprising as it read more YA despite the swear words used throughout. 

However that did not stop my enjoyment of this book. 

A fun story for fantasy fans with interesting world building and enjoyable characters. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. 

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Babel by R. F. Kuang

Thursday 6 April 2023

Babel by R. F. Kuang

3.5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Audio for the Audiobook version of Babel by R. F. Kuang to read in exchange for an honest review.

Babel is set in 1828 and follows Robin Swift an orphan from Canton brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. Here he is trained in Latin, Ancient Greek and Chinese to prepare him for the day he will attend Oxford University and the institute of translation known as Babel.

The tower is the world's center for translation and magic, specifically silver working which is the art of finding lost translation using enchanted silver bars.

For Robin Oxford is a utopia but as his time there continues he realises that as a Chinese boy in Britain he is betraying his motherland. As his time progresses he is recruited by the elusive Hermes society an organisation dedicated to stopping imperial expansion and the unjust war against China.

My thoughts on this book were mixed areas of the title I vastly enjoyed and I was wrapped up in the story other areas I felt could be cut down or not included at all.

This was an incredibly long audio book at 14 hours and it took me a while to finish it. The audio narration was very good I will say that but due to the length and wordiness of the book this title at points dragged, mostly due to a vast amount of reputation from the author or I suppose wordiness of sentences.

I wanted to love it as I had heard such great things but I had to deduct stars for that alone.

Overall I really enjoyed the characters and the group dynamic between Robin, Rami, Letty, and Victoire. This portion of the story I found incredibly interesting. However I am not sure I would ever reread this title again.

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for a copy of A River Enchanted to read in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows Jack Tamerlaine who has been studying music for 10 years on the mainland away from the isle of Cadence. However when you young girls start disappearing from the isle Jack is summoned back by the heiress and his former nemesis Adaira.

She wants him to play for the spirits that rule the isle, wind, fire, earth and water as they only answer to a bard's music. She hopes the spirits can help them find the missing girls.

However upon working together it turns out the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they expected with the secrets of Cadence threatening to reveal themselves.

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel, I had been in a bit of a reading slump and this book brought me straight out with it's charm and whimsy.

I loved the magical world Ross created and the characters within it and the inspiration from Scottish folk tales. I felt the main characters were well developed and I enjoyed the switch of perspectives throughout and found that I couldn't put the book down waiting for the mysteries to unravel themselves.

A title I would definitely recommend and luckily for me the sequel is already out so I shall be getting that to read next. 

Thanks for Reading! 

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