Monday, May 8, 2017

Review : The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Title : The Ghost Bride
Author : Yangsze Choo
Publication date : August 6th 2013 by William Morrow

I bet you also find the title intriguing. Well, how common it is for a ghost to get married? Ah! And the cover, people! Look at it! It's clearly for us to admire. Intriguing title and a pretty cover is a combo for a high expectation for me and I kind of believe this was going to be a lovely read.

Set in the 1800s of Malaya (now Malaysia) Li Lan was a girl from a quite rich family, but her family fell apart because her father's love of opium. So he told her, that there was this silly offer from a rich family that wanted her to be a ghost bride to their deceased son, Lim Tian Ching.

Just like any book with cliche, Lim Tian Chin was portrayed as a spoiler brat that even after his death, he still pestered the livings. He haunted Li Lan in her dreams, intimidating her to become his bride and he wouldn't stop until he got what he wanted. So, Li Lan looked for help, and this one witch doctor gave her a potion which induced her suspended animation thus led her spirit the into the ghost world. I forgot what it was called, but you get the idea.

The Ghost Bride has a strong opening chapter that got me hooked instantly. Choo clearly did a lot of effort infusing Chinese mythology into her book and I have to admit it is done very well. Other than that, I regretfully classified this book as a "meh" read. The only thing that got my interest is the mythology since we bookworms are somewhat a little more familiar with Western folklore. So, a Chinese version might seem like a breath of fresh air.

My interest stops there.

I didn't find anything special in this book. If you expect a love story from a different world (the living and the dead, that is) be prepared to be disappointed. I didn't expect the book to be that way, but I was still disappointed. Li Lan was a typical damsel in distress, the kind of heroine I loath the most.
"Don't cry." I felt his arms around me, and I buried my face in his chest. The rain began to fall again, so dense it was like a curtain around us. Yet I did not get wet.
"Listen," he said. "When Everyone around you has died and it becomes too hard to go on pretending, I shall come for you."
Didn't care about her. Instead of having a supernatural adventure, all she did was hiding and eavesdropping and the dead people's business. Ah, and there's the cheesiest love triangle ever, making this book even more unbearable for me.
"Well, if you were caught spying on Master Awyoung, it would help to look a little more alluring."
"Are you planning for me to be interrogated by him as well?"
"It might be quite useful."
"I hate you." I said before I could stop myself.
He seemed to be genuinely surprised. "Most women say they love me."
As you can see, the dialogue if far from catchy. This book can do better, it has a unique characteristic, but sill lacks of depth and complexity. It doesn't give any memorable impression, when you reach the last page, that's it. No thinking required, no "what did I've just read?" kind of question, nothing.

2 rating for The Ghost Bride. Don't blame my high expectation, it just fails to impress me. I am sorry I did not like it. Have you read any books with mythology? Did you like it?