Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.
I’ve heard lots of good things about Dao’s books, but I haven’t read her previous two yet (I KNOW!). Though, this one sounded good. It sounded like it would be simple, but with a really strong storyline.
I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love this book. It was a simple sweetness to it, but it works with the story really well, so it makes everything stronger. Bao and Lan are on their own journey. They have a problem and they want to try to fix it. They aren’t going off to save the world; they’re going off to save their world. It was something really different, but really awesome about this story. There is a world-saving plot in place, but it’s kind of like a sideplot. It’s not the main focus. It felt so realistic and Bao and Lan just focused on what they had to do and let other people save the world. These two plots were woven together really well. It made for a really unique story.
Bao is such a sweet character. He’s adorable. I wasn’t expecting to love him as much as I do, but he’s such an amazing character. It’s so sweet, so hardworking, and just wants to be loved. He’s so awkward and just wants to fit in somewhere, but he also doesn’t want to compromise who he is. I loved him a lot. I also wasn’t expecting not to love Lan that much. She’s actually kind of unlikeable in the beginning. Through the book, she learns and grows, but she also figures out how to be herself in the best way possible. I think her goodness was in her all along, she just didn’t know how to show it properly.
While I have not read Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns or Kingdom Of The Blazing Phoenix, I was able to understand the world really well. Though, I think I would have appreciated it more if I had read those books. There are a lot of returning characters and the plotlines of the previous books are mentioned a lot. It made some of the characters hard to distinguish at first, but it got easier as the book went on.
This book is about forgiveness and how complicated it is. It’s not easy to know when you should forgive someone and how you should forgive them. It’s also about being alright with who you are and finding who you are and making that what you want it to be. I loved how these messages were subtle and yet they were very prevalent throughout the story. I know that makes no sense haha, but that’s the best way I can describe it haha.
This book was really good. It was sweet and simple, but it works so well for this story. There were a few characters that I would love to see more of and I’m hoping that the ones I’m thinking of get their own spinoff!
Thank you for reading!