Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords*
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Blurb from goodreads:
“The Emperor, His Bride and the Dragon Robe” is a wonderful fairy tale set in ancient China. It tells the story of a brave young emperor and two beautiful young women, who are suddenly thrust the incredible, once-in-a-life-time opportunity of marrying the emperor and becoming the next empress of China. Their journeys take them from their humble homes to the grand palace where their lives are forever changed for the better, and, at times, even for the worse as the competition to win the emperor’s heart intensifies. The young women meet their unexpected challenges in very different ways. But their struggle is the depiction of the fight between good and evil.
The author was inspired by her two sons, who were born in China, to write the story. She also credits writing the book to having lived in China for many years and being warmly embraced by the Chinese people who have willingly shared their rich culture with her.
“The Emperor, His Bride and the Dragon Robe” (limited print edition) was launched at Expo 2010 Shanghai, the largest World Expo ever. In 2013, English and Chinese copies were presented as state gifts to the President of China by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
I've always loved fairy tales and mythology so this title plus its cover called to me. I immediately requested it and was pleased when the publisher approved my request. The artwork in this story is just gorgeous. There's not a lot of detail but what there is complements the text nicely. The color and shading had a watercolor feel yet also reminded me at times of Impressionism. I could sit and just look at the pictures. In fact, I did so in my classroom at rest time (class of 4 and 5 year olds) and one of my 4 year old boys loved the pictures, kept saying they were beautiful. He also had questions about some of the pictures and was excited to see dragons in some of the pictures. We didn't have a chance to read the text.
Later, at home, I read the text. It's definitely not for preschoolers, but more appropriate for 7 or 8 years on up. The length and subject matter would likely bore most younger children. It's a love story with treachery and morals and a bit of action mixed in. It's pretty heavy on morals, it could have used a lighter touch and there were a fair number of typos and wrong words. The story is original and not a retelling but has the feel of an old fashioned fairy tale. It follows a traditional format with trials to be overcome and a princess to be won. One woman is lovely but evil and proud while the other is lovely, kind, and pure. The emperor is brave and strong, the women physically lovely, and there are sorcerers, magic, and dragons. The action is a little slow and the characters lack depth but it's a decent enough story and I loved the illustrations. If you don't mind the moralizing and the slow pace, it's not a bad story and the illustrations are gorgeous.