Song of The Crimson Flower (ARC)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Released: Nomvember 5th, 2019
Format: e-ARC (Netgalley)
Characters: Lan, Bao, Commander Wei, Mistress Vy, …
Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.
Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest’s Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao begin to break the spell that’s been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?
When I started reading this book, there were few obvious themes appear, which was great but I was also almost sure I wouldn’t like the female main character, Lan and would be very conflicted about her role and personality in the story. HOWEVER, after the romance sparked between Lan and Bao, the male main character who had fallen in love with Lan since their childhood, I fell in love with the characters.
Julie C. Dao has this amazing writing style that would immediately draw one into her tale. There was something so magical with how Julie strings those words and spin them into a beautifully written story. I was also drawn to the romance between Lan and Bao. I live for their journey, little teasing and their little gestures, which slowly building up to a cute love story.
One of the main themes in the story was obviously feminism, whereby back in the days, women’s sole purpose was just to be married off and they couldn’t even choose their own spouse, as everything was decided by the family. There is also a theme on the differences between the nobleman and the poor ones. There’s obviously a huge gap in between them and the poor ones were always being mistreated.
Overall, I really enjoyed the magical, dark and mysterious journey of Lan and Bao discovering the truth and I adore the chemistry between the two as well as other characters.
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About the Author
Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.
Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.