I need to write this review now or I will never come back to it (see below). But I will keep it short! I liked this book a lot, but not as much as I wanted to. The story was great, the world was imaginative , and I liked the characters (though the way the worldbuilding was introduced could have been much clearer; I was well into the book before I felt like I understood where the characters were and what their world looked like). I especially liked the way the book was structured around the various challenges set for our main character, Xingyin (the titular daughter), and watching her overcome them.
My main issue with this book was the pacing. It just felt strange to me, and though I can’t really explain what that means (other than that the book focused on parts of the story I wasn’t expecting it to, and then skipped over other parts I wanted to see), the end result was that I could not for the life of me read this book for long stretches of time. Max fifty pages and then I would have to take a break and read or do something else.
I am excited for book two, which I am getting to in February. I will make sure to give myself enough time to work with the funky pacing for that one in a way I didn’t for this one.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]
NB: Even though the version I bought and read was not Harper Collins US—and I don’t think the UK side of the company is striking (could be wrong, though, and please let me know if I am)—I have made a donation to the Harper Collins Union Solidarity Fund in order to support their cause on behalf of me reading this book. Grammar? Whatever. You understood me. I will donate to the fund for every Harper Collins (and imprint) book I read until they reach a fair contract with the Union. HERE are some helpful links if you want to know more.