1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not perfect but still an imaginative read,
This review is from: River of Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As alternate-histories go this was an entertaining read made all the more interesting by the setting (China). Books on China, both fiction and non-fiction have certainly been a growth industry in recent years and this trend shows no sign of tailing off. In fact, quite the opposite. However, this is not a new alt-world. It also featured in the author's previous novel 'Under Heaven'. Does this matter? Arguably it does in one sense because it means the context is not as fresh and intriguing as it might otherwise have been (although on the plus side it is 400 years later so it doesn't matter too much so perhaps my argumentation here is rather tenuous and unmerited - I guess it all comes down to whether or not you enjoy 'sequels' which I don't). My major criticism of the novel is the rather disppassionate nature of the prose. For me the author's voice was too detached and there was a consequent lack of emotional engagement with the characters. I suspect fans will disagree and argue that the cool and dispassionate nature of the prose is what makes the novel work. Yet the characters are incredibly well rounded and believable and the plot is intriguing. Overall, not perfect by any means but certainly imaginative and well worth reading.