The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo | Book Review

Sunday, May 17, 2020

BLURB: Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition - the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he's dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife - a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang, Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world - before she becomes trapped there forever (Goodreads).
The problem with the dead was that they all wanted someone to listen to them.

Title: The Ghost Bride
Author: Yangsze Choo
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Fiction
Goodreads rating: 3.78
Pages: 390
Publication: August 1st 2013 by Hot Key Books
Source: Popular Bookstore
Reading Format: Paperback
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Review type: Non-spoilery
review
⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book sets in 1890s Malaya, to be exact in Malacca, during the early years of British colonialism and being a Malaysian, I learned about this era in history class in secondary school and it was one of my favourite eras to learn about. Although the historical aspect was not the main focus of this book, the fact that it was set during that era really appealed to me; it was the main reason I really wanted to read this and gratefully, this book didn't disappoint at all. I read this book for the historical aspect but I got served with a fantasy, paranormal, romance in addition to the historical aspect! Chinese superstition was the main focus of this book and growing up watching classic Chinese movies, I knew a little bit about this so I wasn't confused about the world-building at all. In fact, learning all these new things was a very exciting experience for me.
We Chinese did not like to give or receive certain gifts for superstitious reasons: knives, because they could sever a relationship; handkerchiefs, for they portended weeping; and clocks, as they were thought to measure out the days of your life.
Barely seventeen, I think Li Lan was a mature girl for her age. She was brave, very considering of her family situation and although she sometimes annoyed me when she swooned over one of the male characters in this book, she was still a likeable character. As she ventures out into the journey of finding the truth about the death of her dead supposed-to-be suitor and how to get rid of his ghost, I could vividly feel her anxiety and fear. The pacing of her story was quite slow (I wouldn't recommend this book for someone who loves plot-driven books) but it worked for me because I know that all the world-building and characters introduced would be crucial for the ending. Plus, the book was written with really beautiful prose and imagery so I didn't mind it being slow.
The Chinese considered the moon to be yin, feminine and full of negative energy, as opposed to the sun that was yang and exemplified masculinity. I liked the moon, with its soft silver beams. It was at once elusive and filled with trickery, so that lost objects that had rolled into the crevices of a room were rarely found, and books read in its light seemed to contain all sorts of fanciful stories that were never there the next morning.
What I wasn't really fond of about this book was how very few the scenes featuring Er Lang was😂 Even from the very beginning, I already knew that he was my type ehehe. Instead, I only got to see him in a few scenes in the second half of the book. I know he's supposed to be mysterious but come on author, I just wanted a little bit more of him.

Recommended for people who love: beautifully written book, breathtaking imagery, Chinese superstition, mythology, 1890s Malaya.

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