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Although based on fact, the story was rather melodramatic and at times quite unlikely e.g a concubine managing to have a secret affair with the Emperor's son, roaming around the walled palace day and night without escort and frankly offending the Emperor on numerous occasions but being forgiven every time. Nevertheless, this was an entertaining book that consistently held my attention. What ruined the audio version was the ridiculous narrator, who's tone veered from breathless pleading to juvenile excitement and painful ecstasy. She tried too hard to comvey emotion, and simply ended up sounded stupid.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The narration of this book is one of THE most annoying I have ever listened to. I almost threw in the towel and gave up listening to the book, but I suffered through it. What was wrong with the narration? The narrator's version of a screaming Emperor was to GROWL and ROAR-- as were most of her male voices. It was so annoying that I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. Mei... her voice came across as a whiny little whimp. Okay, granted she was only 13, but her shrieking voice was no picnic to listen to.
For that reason, I had trouble really enjoying the story. Was it historical fiction? Well, that was a stretch. I didn't learn anything that was culturally enlightening... at least not much. The emperor was insufferable with that horrible narration. I hated him, for that alone (though he was quite a jacka$$ anyway).
There's a second book in the series, but I don't think I can stomach the same narrator again. I have listened to hundreds of audio books, and this one was so over-the-top dramatized with endless shrieking...and oh, I lost count of how many times "heart bloomed" or heart was filled, or "heart almost burst".
I seem to be in the minority, as I was totally disappointed.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful