Book Review: The Dragon and the Pearl

Well, it took me WAY too long to buy this book, for which I can only offer my profuse apologies to the author. I had wanted to do a review while the book was still in stores, but October escaped me. Obviously, November did, too. Before I tell you about this book, I think I will remind you about my review policies and admit that yes, I know the author and consider her a friend. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of my reviews. I do not hold punches. If I’m uncomfortable posting a favorable review on this blog, I won’t do it. I also try to be honest about likes and dislikes. It speaks volumes for “Dragon” that you won’t find any mention of “dislikes” below.
So, I’m almost two months late, but the book was worth the wait. “The Dragon and the Pearl “ is a stand-alone novel by Jeannie Lin, however it does pick up where “Butterfly Swords” left off. “Dragon’s” cast includes Li Tao, the antagonist of Butterfly Swords, as the hero of “Dragon,” and his backstory gives us a much wider vision of the author’s Tang Dynasty China.
Now I loved “Butterfly Swords” (click the link to see my review), but you can see Lin’s skill as an author has increased since the first book. She has sunk herself into this world, making the characters rounded, fleshed and highly sexual. More than that, her political and social structure is more solid than the Kunlun mountains. She needed that solidity as we find out how both the court and the seedy underground culture of Tang dynasty functioned.
Thanks to that background structure, we discover why Li Tao is the stern and unyielding man you met before, but we also find the heart beneath that exterior. That said, he never breaks character. His is one of the strongest, most well rounded characterizations I’ve ever seen. Hypnotizing, never a good man, but always a believable and desirable man. In many ways, Lin’s characterizations and dialogue reminded me of works by my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. Those of you who know me will recognize I mean that as the greatest compliment I can give.
If you enjoyed the dainty appetizer of “Butterfly Swords,” you will love the full course spread that is “The Dragon and the Pearl.” Go out and buy a copy via Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever else you can find one OR you can put your name into the hat for this second copy I bought. I refuse to give away mine.

14 Responses to “Book Review: The Dragon and the Pearl”

  1. Mark says:

    Better late than never. Sounds like a good book too.

  2. DWei says:

    Your experiences reminds me of a DIY project I've been delaying for a few months now.

    Maybe I should change that…

  3. Amy L. Sonnichsen says:

    Can I throw my name in the hat? This book sounds fantastic!
    Better late than never!

  4. Victoria Dixon says:

    LOL Glad I wasn't too late. ;D And yes, I never said how long I'd take names, but I think I'll go to my next post.

  5. FredTownWard says:

    I would like to win a paperback copy of this novel, particularly if it is signed by the author. I've already read and reviewed it myself here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FTRO1GPKU3L2; I just wish I could win a copy of "The Lady's Scandalous Night" which I haven't yet read.

  6. Margo Berendsen says:

    Guy Gavriel Kay has been on my list as an author to read for a while now, he just got bumped up…as did these two books.

  7. Walt Mussell says:

    Vic, I know how you feel. Sometimes it takes me too long to get to a book I want to read, too. Jeannie's writing makes you wonder why you waited so long.

    Please put my name in the hat, too.

  8. Cary says:

    Sounds like a good read.

  9. Rashda Khan says:

    I love Jeannie's stories. They add so much to the diversity of the romance genre!

    No need to include me in the giveaway, I have my copy…but just wanted to stop by & say hi 🙂

  10. Rita says:

    I'd like to join the giveaway too! I thought Li got shortchged in the first book, so it'd be nice to see him get his chance in the spotlight.

  11. Victoria Dixon says:

    I don't have an easy way for Jeannie to sign them, Fred. More's the pity! I'd ask her to sign mine, too. LOL

    Thanks, Margo, and you bet, Walt.

    It was a great, "meaty" read, Cary. "Butterfly Swords" was fun, and both books are fast reads, but she packed so much more into this one somehow.

    Thanks so much for dropping by, Rashda! And yes, I never really read much romance (unless it was romantic fantasy), but I'm reading more now because the settings are widening.

    Rita, you'll really enjoy this book, then. He was such a compelling read. I don't think I'd like him in person, but he'd be fascinating (and probably a little scary) LOL. The fact that he's been hero and antagonist – and was believable in both roles – is so cool.

  12. Rachna Chhabria says:

    It sounds like a good book. Like the title a lot 🙂

  13. Janet Johnson says:

    I think late reviews can be good, because they keep the book title out there.

    This book sounds amazing! Though I still haven't read the first (hangs head in shame). I need to rectify that. Throw my name in, too!

  14. Victoria Dixon says:

    So I PLANNED to be late. Oh, I like that! LOL You're in!

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