This review is probably the most confusing review I’ve ever written especially the last part so APOLOGIES.
TITLE: Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon
BY: Mary Fan
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
PUBLICATION: June 11th 2019 by Page Street Kids
RATING: 3 Blissful pages with Lilies
When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.
Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.
I read a book, I didn’t live in it.
My FULL Review:
The Characters: Anlei is undoubtedly one of the most badass heroine I’ve ever encountered. She’s strong not just physically, she’s also strong-willed. She’s focus and really want to achieve what she’s trying to achieve not only for herself, but for her town and family. And by family, it includes avenging her father’s death because of the Ligui (the ghost monsters that antagonize them). I even forgive Anlei for her wishes for the Ligui to attack just so she can have her revenge. The girl lost her father so that’s forgivable even though it’s a bit foolish because she knew they can’t really defeat their enemies. That’s why they needed help from Viceroy Kang.
Speaking of Viceroy Kang, I can’t say much about him without giving away too much of the plot and maybe twists. All I can say is that he’s typical. I’ve read so much about him in other novels, only with different names and maybe different physical appearance but as a character, he’s too familiar. Tai, the young thief, though is more interesting. I instantly like Tai the moment he showed and got me interesting in the coming scenes with him and Anlei.
Aside from these three, I applaud the Chinese warrior girls (including Anlei, of course) that really stood out in this novel. I think the author really did a good job at handling and showing all the badassness of her warriors. You know, without being over the top. It’s just perfect.
WORLD: Duh? PERFECT. So vivid.
The Plot and Writing: The plot is a big the reason of my 3-star rating, in a good way. This book is actually only 2 stars if I didn’t like the plot. This novel has without a doubt a very solid story. Like I can see the author pouring her everything and herself on plotting the whole thing. She made the complex easy to follow. Besides what’s not to like? Chinese rep, Mythology, Steampunk, dragons, ghost monsters- I love all of these stuff. But then I got a problem with the writing.
Maybe you’re thinking, isn’t the plot a product of the writing? Yes it is. If it has a good plot then probably the writing is good. But what I’m saying is, all the elements of the plot is amazing and interesting. Like everything made me want to read the whole freakin’ book even at times I felt bored. And there were those times, I tell you. It’s because the way the story is told seems to be lacking something and I couldn’t figure out what it is at first.
It was bugging me that something is wrong and I couldn’t let it go. So I read reviews on Goodreads and then found something from Amanda and it clicked. The writing is too clunky and it affected the building and the mood of the story. What does that mean? I’m no expert. I haven’t published anything. But as a reader, when we read, there’s this thing inside us that made us read till the end. Like we don’t want to put down the book because we don’t want that thing inside us subside. Call it what you want-excitement or whatever- but that thing is lacking in this book. It’s like in every scene, my emotion have to go back to zero and build up again only to start building again in the next scene. Of course there should be a breathing in the storytelling which is the purpose of ‘chapters’ but there should be something that’s embedded inside the reader so the excitement never dies even though we get to breathe after a chapter. So we keep reading and caring.
This book lacks that element that supports the building of the whole story. Obviously, I’m not doing a great job at explaining this but I tried guys. It’s like so many little things have been cut out in the story that it didn’t get deep in my reader’s heart. It’s like the book only included the most important parts of the story, it cut out the parts that truly make a story comes alive. It has all the parts that a novel should have-from introduction to resolution and everything in between- but it’s lacking on building the connection to the reader. I don’t blame this to the author, let me clear that up. There are many factors that affected this in the editing. I’m pretty sure of that.
Like I said in my one-sentence review, I read a book, I didn’t live in it. It is a book with a good, solid story but it wasn’t alive so the experience is not complete.
Finally, THE ROMANCE: It is okay.
I really hope this book is at least a duology and not a standalone. By the way guys, TAKE MY REVIEW WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Kindly read this book and hopefully we can talk about your experience.
I was provided a copy by the publisher/author via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion.