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Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.

Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#1 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 12 Feb 2017, 17:47

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Stirring Li Chao" by S.E. Brandenburg.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by greenstripedgiraffe
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Stirring Li Chao is a fascinating read for anyone interested in learning more about Daoism or Confucius. I personally know very little of China's multi-faceted history, so reading this book was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The main story centers around Li Chao, who through various circumstances, finds himself on an incredible journey through China. His ultimate goals include finding relatives he has never met and heading to America in search of fortune. Li Chao does not wish for fortune only for the sake of gaining wealth. In the Chinese mindset, one must always honor the family; Li Chao's way of doing this is to bring back fortune for the benefit of his family.

The author allows an intimate look into the mindset of a Chinese Daoist. This is either intriguing or frustrating, depending on the reader's outlook. If the reader merely wants quick entertainment, this is not the book to pick up. Rather, Stirring Li Chao is filled with philosophical pondering as Li Chao searches for wisdom and gleans all there is to know from perspectives other than his own. His journey is somewhat miraculous, as it appears that some hand is guiding and protecting him through multiple perilous situations.

Another theme the author explores is differences between various Chinese factions in the mid-1800's. The reigning emperor comes from the Manchu family. China is the midst of a struggle with Britain over trade rights and the legality of the opium trade. The gospel message spread by missionaries has been taken up as a political war cry by the Taiping rebels. Meanwhile, in another area of China the Hakka and Punti families are feuding. While on his journey, Li Chao encounters all of these groups. Each time he seeks to be humble and learn.

Li Chao's journey takes on philosophical, historical, and spiritual significance. For me, the beauty of this book was learning so much about this time period in China. The author weaves in many Chinese proverbs, which helps to provide a richness and depth to the story. I find the pace to be fairly slow, although it feels right for the subject matter. The main characters are developed very well. I don't wish to give away spoilers, but some may feel the ending was not properly resolved. However, I feel that Stirring Li Chao is more about the journey than about how it ends, so I feel that the ending fits with the character of the book.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed learning so much about this segment of history. As a westerner, I realize that I do not understand the Chinese mindset. China's civilization is ancient and has much to teach the student of history. I recommend this book fairly highly, but with the caveat that it is a weighty work. Some may not enjoy this style.

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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#2 by Wasif Ahmed
» 13 Feb 2017, 09:34

A great and well written review. I am glad you loved it. This doesn't seem like a read I might enjoy though.
Congratulations to the author on getting the highest possible rating!😊
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#3 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 13 Feb 2017, 10:10

Wasif Ahmed wrote:A great and well written review. I am glad you loved it. This doesn't seem like a read I might enjoy though.
Congratulations to the author on getting the highest possible rating!😊


Thank you for your kind words! I don't think this book is for everyone, but for someone looking for a leisurely read and a look into China's history, I feel this is well-written.
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 13 Feb 2017, 10:19

This is a nice review. I've never really been interested in China or its history. I'm not sure why, but for someone looking for that, it sounds like a great book. Thanks.
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#5 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 14 Feb 2017, 21:54

kandscreeley wrote:This is a nice review. I've never really been interested in China or its history. I'm not sure why, but for someone looking for that, it sounds like a great book. Thanks.



Thank you for your kind comments!
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#6 by kimmyschemy06
» 15 Feb 2017, 02:31

Sounds like a great read. I found the history of China very interesting and this book seems to have an abundance of Chinese historical facts. Great job on the review. Congratulations to S.E. Brandenburg on such an obviously well written book.
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#7 by LivreAmour217
» 15 Feb 2017, 08:57

Great review! A book that both entertains and educates--sounds like a worthwhile read! I'm going to put this one on my "to read" list!
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#8 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 15 Feb 2017, 09:24

kimmyschemy06 and LivreAmour217 - I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was not a quick read; it took me much longer than normal to come to the end :lol2: The reward came when I finished, though. I felt that I had gained knowledge about a people group that would not easily be forgotten. :techie-studyingbrown:
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#9 by bookowlie
» 15 Feb 2017, 10:03

Great review! The book sounds very thought-provoking. Chinese proverbs have always intrigued me, so it's nice that the author incorporated them into the story.
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#10 by hsimone
» 15 Feb 2017, 15:22

What a great review! I also do not know much about China and its culture and history, but this seems like a great read to learn. It also seems like a very thought-provoking book with this statement: "Li Chao's journey takes on philosophical, historical, and spiritual significance." Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#11 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 16 Feb 2017, 11:23

Thank you for your kind compliments, Bookowlie and hsimone!
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Re: Official Review: Stirring Li Chao by S.E. Brandenburg

Post Number:#12 by godreaujea
» 11 May 2017, 16:55

Thank you for the awesome review! I feel like this isn't really up my alley so I might pass on it, but it does seem to have a unique concept!
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