Monday, April 25, 2016

THE MOON IN THE PALACE and THE EMPRESS OF BRIGHT MOON - Weina Dai Randel

There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power. 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.

The time for taking hold of her destiny is now
At the moment of the Emperor's death, everything changes in the palace. Mei, his former concubine, is free, and Pheasant, the heir and Mei's lover, is proclaimed as the new Emperor, heralding a new era in China. But just when Mei believes she's closer to her dream, Pheasant's chief wife, Lady Wang, powerful and unpredictable, turns against Mei and takes unthinkable measures to stop her. The power struggle that ensues will determine Mei's fate–and that of China.
Surrounded by enemies within the palace that she calls home, Mei continues her journey to the throne in The Empress of Bright Moon, the second book in Weina Dai Randel's acclaimed duology. Only by fighting back against those who wish her harm will Mei be able to realize her destiny as the most powerful woman in China.


REVIEW

It is important that I review these two books together as the full story of Empress Wu cannot be told without them being read one after the other. 

There is no other way to describe these two books, but to say they are sensational. Truly, I cannot stop raving about them. 

In Book 1, The Moon in the Palace, we are introduced to a young, intelligent young woman named Mei from humble beginnings who is swept into the emperor's court as a concubine. There she must weave her way through a a maze of treachery by other concubines who are equally struggling to claw their way to the top. 

There is danger, betrayal, enduring love, and plenty of intrigue and unusual circumstances around every corner, on every page. Book 1 hooked me with a powerful grip at the start and kept me engrossed until the fabulous ending. The best part is that I was thrilled that the story continued in Book 2, The Empress of Bright Moon. Beautifully described surroundings, fashions, and every day items add to the enchantment, bringing to vibrant life the Chinese court of the Tang Dynasty.

These two books have become some of my very favourite books, along with the author. I will be eagerly awaiting future releases. These are definitely 5 star reads!

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.