Summary: (goodreads) No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.
But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.
It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.
Review: I've finally gotten my hands on this one. The library has always been my absolutely best friend in books.
This fantasy book is filled with so much action and unimaginable landscapes. The enemies of Ai Ling enter our world to fight against her and they clearly are really out of place in this setting, but then the setting itself changes to being another world. The description of what the other beings look like is detailed and paint quite a warped image of them. The description was incredible and images were vivid.
Ai Ling is a strong-willed person who is surprisingly composed in front of all types of monsters, figurative and literal. Her independence sets her on a path that will force her to grow up faster than she should have to, and she will learn so much about who she really is, but it will require all of her wits and also physical strength to achieve her goal.
I liked it a whole lot! But I was a tad put off by the lack of characterization. It took me most of the book to connect with Ai Ling while I felt closer to Chen Yong really quickly. Character driven stories appeal more to me, so if you are more for plot and adventure and constantly something happening, this one doesn't lack that. Overall, a compelling storyline that has me scrambling for the second installment in spite of the characters.
Rating: 1 2 3 4 5