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A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the emperor's attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the emperor a gift he can never forget.
Mei's intelligence and curiosity, the same traits that make her an outcast among the other concubines, impress the emperor. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loyalties split the palace in two, culminating in a perilous battle that Mei can only hope to survive.
In the breakthrough first volume in the Empress of Bright Moon duology, Weina Dai Randel paints a vibrant portrait of ancient China - where love, ambition, and loyalty can spell life or death - and the woman who came to rule it all.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By S. Becker on 02-02-17
Couldn't stand the narrator
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
By Foodiewife on 01-28-17
One of the most annoying narrations
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.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful