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The Secrets of Jin-Shei Paperback – 6 Sep 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (6 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007163746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007163748
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 846,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'The Secrets of Jin-Shei is a completely original – and a completely magical piece of literature' Joanne Harris

About the Author

Alma Alexander was born in New Zealand, grew up in Australia and now lives in the USA


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 April 2005
Format: Paperback
This was such a fantastic read for me. From the very first page, I was hooked; Alexander's prose is poetical and evocative of a magical place and time.
The story follows a group of young girls, all different in age, as they grow up into adulthood. These girls are all from different social classes and positions in their society; medieval China. However, they are also linked - through jin-shei. Jin-shei is a secret society of women, bound to each other not by blood but by loyalty that makes them sisters of the heart. This special bond may mean that they merely share their secrets in life, their passions, and their upsets, just as any close friends do. However, their loyalty may be tested in harder ways and a favour asked in the name of jin-shei cannot be ignored.
As the girls pass into adulthood and they begin to find their place in the world, this bond begins to be tested as one of their number becomes the Dragon Empress. In her new place of power she lusts after complete control of her state. But the loyalties of her jin-shei sisters is really put to the test when she beigns to lust after the impossible; immortality. Suddenly, their seemingly idyllic world is a place of intrigue, treason, gossip and many dangers. Will the jin-shei group survive?
This book is fantastic for those people who enjoy complete new worlds where they can escape into for a while. There are essences of religion and philosophy, magic (dark and good), love and hate, and tragedy. It is a complex book as it follows quite a few characters. However, all the characters seemed very real to me, each one had personalities which had good and weaker sides. I really enjoyed this book, it is magical. . .
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "guinea_fowl" on 19 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
I absolutley loved The Secrets Of Jin-Shei! It was so sweet, and I found myself really attatched to the characters. It's all about a special 'society' that only women in this certain part of medeival China have, called Jin-Shei. They have their own secret language that is passed down from mother to daughter, and must never be shown to men. Also, they have unique bonds to each other, that are more powerful than the Gods.
This AMAZING book is about a circle of girls as they grow into women, tied together by the sacred bond of Jin-Shei. But there are secrets that should never be told, secrets that if brought to light could mean the end of the Jin-Shei circle.
I would recommend this book who loves to read about oriental stuff. Some parts were so sad they had me in tears! Whenever I felt that the story was getting the teeeeensiest bit dull, (and I mean teeeeensiest!) I was reeled back in, just by a single paragraph! I have no critcisms whatsoever about this book, it's deffinatley one of my favourites. Read it now!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By reena khan on 15 Jun 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a bit of a complicated read to start with as the plot is based on a number of main Characters. They all come in & fold together perfectly.. sending you into a wold of loyalty, obsession, love, magic, political unrest & the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.. the Jin Shei..
This is a wonderful read, i coulndt put it down & I mourned when it finished..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doogie on 12 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
I have fallen in love with this book...I have just in minute finished it and felt compelled to write a review on it.
I chose this book because I thoroughly enjoyed the book called `Empress Orchard' and this book came up in the recommendations on this site. The recommendations really do work!

This book is slightly different from the other Chinese and Japanese books I have read. It is more mystical which brings a new enjoyment to it.
The story is about 7 girls who are all different in each way but are brought together through the name of `Jin-Shei' sisterhood. At the beginning I found it hard to keep track of the 7 main characters but once they all came together through the sisterhood I found the story compelling and enchanting. There were so many twists and turns for these girls that I didn't want to leave a chapter half read.
A wonderful read and sorry that I finished the book as my lunch time read won't be the same. I will be buying more of Alma Alexander books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "simillaria" on 4 Mar 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had been looking for a good book to read for a while, and was just beginning to despair, when by lucky chance an advanced reader's edition of The Secrets of Jin-Shei fell into my hands. The description on the back was so promising I began to read immediately. The preview left me enchanted. The first chapter got me hooked. By the third chapter, I was completely in awe, and completely caught up in the story. The characters are feministic, individual, intelligent, and complex. Each girl in the jin-shie circle is special, and ads something to the complex weave of the story. The distinctive background of each girl is reflected in her personality. I was surprised to find women in roles that seemed to me as would be traditionally for men in an ancient Chinese Empire. Though the story is exiting and suspenseful, it is graceful and full of heartbreaking beauty, like a poem or an elegant work of art. The end of the story, set years after the beginning, is reflective, looks back on all the characters and the parts they played in the jin-shie. It is wistful in recollection of the sunny days of youth. The setting is at the coming of night, both literally and symbolically. It is a beautiful ending to a beautiful story. I enjoyed reading it immensely, and recommend it to all, especially feminist, fans of epic fantasy, myths, or Tamora Pierce, and all women, young or old.
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