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Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

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Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#1  Postby GKCfan » 01 Jan 2014, 20:38

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Dance of the Spirits" by Catherine Aerie.]

Book Cover for 9780989690928
The Dance of the Spirits is a historical novel set during the Korean War. The Korean War has been largely overlooked in culture and literature, aside from M*A*S*H. After reading this novel, individuals are much more likely to remember some of the details of this conflict.

The Dance of the Spirits might be referred to as a love story, and indeed an unlikely relationship between an American soldier and a Chinese female medic is an important component of the story, but the heart of the story comes from the development of the book’s central character, Jasmine, a Chinese girl from a privileged background whose life is turned upside down and inside out, first due to her father’s repeated infidelities, then from the Communist revolution that first impoverishes her family and then practically enslaves her by compelling Jasmine to serve in the Korean War.

Jasmine’s backstory fills most of the first two-thirds of the novel. The book is always well-written and always interesting, and the narrative serves to make her both a strong character and sympathetic. Jasmine’s story is a particularly compelling means of depicting the turmoil and tragedy brought about by the revolution, as one young woman’s tribulations are used to illustrate how a society was transformed and a culture was radically altered.

In contrast, her paramour, the American soldier Wesley, plays more of a supporting role, and they barely have twenty pages together. Wesley has some wonderful scenes, particularly the one where he disrupts an attempted brainwashing session by the Communist Chinese and turns it into a lecture about Christian values and the glories of traditional Chinese culture. Wesley is a really interesting and likeable character, but his portions of the book are dwarfed by Jasmine’s. The book’s main drawback is the absence of a backstory for Wesley. After all, Jasmine’s backstory does a terrific job of explaining how she became the woman she is, as her treatment by her father and his concubines shaped her attitudes and independence. It would have been interesting to see a bit of Wesley’s backstory in America, so we could understand how he became a man who could survive the physical and mental horrors of a prisoner of war camp.

The last pages of the book are a bit rushed, as they flash forward and explain the fates of the main characters a bit more quickly than necessary. An entire chapter isn’t necessary, but a couple of additional pages of concise writing could have done much to explain how a seemingly difficult situation could have been thoroughly resolved.

These minor quibbles underscore the fact that this is a very good book that ought to be just a little bit longer. The Dance of the Spirits is a really enjoyable character study about a woman attempting to survive in a very dangerous world.

I give this book three out of four stars.

***
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#2  Postby catherineaerie » 04 Jan 2014, 23:34

Thank you greatly for the review and critiques!
I hope that the webmaster forwarded you my email explaining why the story ends in this way. If not, please let me know and I will send you through email.
I am still garnering reviews and will surely consider your opinion to see if I can improve myself.

Again, many thanks!
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#3  Postby GKCfan » 16 Jan 2014, 03:18

You're welcome! I'm afraid I didn't get your message about the ending, though.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#4  Postby catherineaerie » 17 Jan 2014, 10:34

Good morning,
I don't know your email, if you can provide one, I can send you my explanation for the book ending. Thank you again for your review and comments.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#5  Postby GKCfan » 18 Jan 2014, 02:15

Hi! Could you please send me a message through the Onlinebookclub.org message system (see the PM at the top bar)? Once again, you're welcome!
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#6  Postby catherineaerie » 19 Jan 2014, 00:37

Hi!
I tried to send you message via PM, but got this error message after I used your GKCfan as title
"Some users couldn’t be added as they have disabled private message receipt."
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#7  Postby GKCfan » 19 Jan 2014, 03:41

Hi! Could you please ask Scott to forward the message to me? Thanks. I really appreciate it.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#8  Postby catherineaerie » 19 Jan 2014, 11:32

Yes, I just sent to Scott.
Have a good day.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#9  Postby GKCfan » 19 Jan 2014, 14:50

Thank you! I hope that you have a good day as well!
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#10  Postby Cyborg1964 » 03 Mar 2014, 01:33

Historical novels tend to be very good , if you like history (and I do). The best part about them is the different point of view. Once I get the hang e-books I'm going to look this one up.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#11  Postby JenniferBoyce » 08 Mar 2014, 08:34

Wow, this sounds like a really fascinating read! I will certainly be checking this book out. Who, if you could say, would you recommend this book for?
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#12  Postby GKCfan » 08 Mar 2014, 14:53

If you like historical romances (or military history, or Asian history, or if you just enjoy good novels, I recommend this book.
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Re: Official Review: The Dance of the Spirits

Post Number:#13  Postby QueenCat » 27 Mar 2014, 10:01

I cannot say I enjoyed reading this book but I can say I'm starting to understand why my father would not talk about his time stationed during the Korean War. Very disturbing and violent. But then that is war! It is with the read.
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