I bought this book 🙂
The Ghost Bride by Yangzee Choo
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Adult
Release Date: 8.06.2013
Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.
Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.
After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
I came across this book while browsing the interwebs for my The Diverse Books Tag, and while it didn’t make the cut for that particular post, I was drawn to it (I think it was sparkles, not gonna lie). I’m interested in books with Asian folklore, mostly because I’ve read so many fantasy stories with the same supernatural twist that it gets boring after awhile. I needed a change in my life.
Plus, it is Halloween, so I wanted to read a book with a supernatural element! Ghosts sounded perfect! I do have a long list of books I need to read, but when I saw this in my local book store, I couldn’t resist!
First of all, I really did enjoy this book, however it was lacking in many departments. The beginning was slow, not quite painfully so, but I almost didn’t get through the first 30 pages. It just went on and on about her family, and all their woes. You see, they were once a rich and powerful family, but fate had another path for them; unfortunate circumstances left them barely scraping by.
Our heroine, Pan Li Lan, was raised without her mother, and her father was a scholar of sorts, so she grew up educated. She is always making comments about how different life would have been had she been a boy. Unfortunately she was born in Malaya, the nineteenth century name for Malaysia, and was expected to get married and have a family.
Enter the Lim family, and she gets a marriage offer to marry the ghost of their dead son. Then her adventure begins.
I loved the fact that this book was set in historical Malaysia, and that it explored so much local myth, and Chinese legends. It even talks about local customs such as the binding of Chinese woman’s feet. In Malaya they Chinese noblewoman didn’t do it because they saw it as barbaric. There are a lot of hidden gems in the book.
However, the relationships in this book were trash. Li Lan has three suitors, Lim Tian Ching, Tian Bai, and Er Lang. She spends the most amount of time with Tain Bai, but their relationship is extremely superficial. She was always running away from Tian Ching, and running with Er Lang. Were I to grade this book simply on romance alone, it would receive a flat out zero.
However, there’s more to this book than romance and just the folklore alone is enough reason to give this book a read.
Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 hearts!
Cover: 5 hearts
Characters: 3 hearts
Writing: 5 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Creativity: 5 hearts