Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
It is 1852, a year after the events in Gunpowder Alchemy, the first novel in the Gunpowder Chronicles series set during China's Qing Dynasty. Jin Soling is now a physician to the Emperor's concubines and her former intended, Chen Chang-wei, is once again among the Engineers in the Ministry of Science. This time out, Soling and Chang-wei are on a secret mission to secure an alliance with Japan, despite the Shogunate's edicts against it.
I enjoyed the first book, but was left feeling rather ambivalent towards reading more. It turns out that it was one of those books whose story grows on you with time and with this second book, the characters have matured and the narrator has become more engaging.
Happily, the karakuri automatons introduced in the fairtytale retelling The Warlord and the Nightingale (.5 in the series) make a reappearance here. Even more happily, a certain scientist turned pirate introduced in the first book makes a brief reappearance as well.
I am greatly enjoying Jeannie Lin's take on Asian Steampunk. An expanded version of this review can be read on my WordPress blog at http://wp.me/p5Tcfi-bm
Oh, and definitely read the series in order, as this is not a stand alone novel.
This review refers to an ebook copy that I read, at no charge, courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. On the release date I purchased my own ebook copy, and an ebook copy of the first book as well. I just wish I could purchase printed editions.