3 out of 4 stars
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Dew on Ginkgo Leaves by Todd Shuler takes place in Imperial China. Jade Flower and her husband are a part of the emperor's special battalion, a troop of warriors consisting only of married couples. However, Jade's husband is killed during a battle, but not by an enemy's blade. Jade knows at once that something is suspicious and vows to find his murderer and avenge his death. However, when she returns to the imperial palace, she is matched to a similarly widowed warrior before they set off on a more important mission -- one that, if they do not succeed, could end the emperor's reign for good.
I love Asian cultures and am always in the mood to read books that take place in Asia. From the summary, Dew on Ginkgo Leaves promised me action, suspense, and romance, and it did not disappoint. The book captivated me in the first few pages and wouldn't let me put it down. I honestly had to pace myself so that I could enjoy it longer. Shuler did a good job of balancing action with plot. He also sprinkled in bits of cultural detail that gave the world the characters lived in an exotic touch.
However, there were a few issues that stuck out to me. Jade's husband's name is Wu Lei. Her new partner's name is Yu Luan. However, her full name is Jade Flower. I didn't understand why literally every other character had a Chinese name except for her. Also, I thought that she, the emperor, and the empress acted out of character at times. Even though Jade is a warrior, there are times when she acts overly weak and emotional. I found her hard to like when she acted bullheaded for no good reason, except perhaps to make her new partner, Luan, look so much better in comparison. Finally, with regards to the book's editing, I did find over ten mistakes that could have easily been resolved with another round of proofreading.
Although I nit-picked at the book's characters, I did enjoy Dew on Ginkgo Leaves and would eagerly pick up the second book in the series. Although quite a lot happens in the first book, there are a few mysteries that Jade and Yuan have yet to solve. And, of course, as they continue to fight together, their relationship is sure to take some twists and turns.
As a heroine, Jade has a few flaws. Also, the book could have used another round of proofreading to make it the best it could possibly be. That is why I would rate Dew on Ginkgo Leaves 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical tales set in exotic lands with a mixture of both action and romance. If you like political intrigue and a little bit of suspense, you are sure to enjoy this book as well. Despite the action there is not a lot of gore, so I believe it is suitable for all ages. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in Jade and Yuan's story.
Dew on Ginkgo Leaves
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