May 22, 2013

Book Review: The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin

Book Cover: The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin

The Sword Dancer

#4 in Tang Dynasty series

by Jeannie Lin

Age: Adult
Genre: Historical, Romance

Format: Ebook, 288 pages
Published On: June 1, 2013 by Harlequin Historical
Source: NetGalley

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First Sentence: A lone reed flute sang the opening melody.

Asia, especially China and Japan, have always been an interesting topic for me. Trips to these countries are too expensive, so the only way I can visit them is through books. The Sword Dancer immediately got my attention with a picture of a girl in a kimono wielding a sword on a cover. I haven't heard about sword dancing before, but I was intrigued and ready to let Jeannie Lin tell me more about it.

The Sword Dancer's plot revolves around two characters: sword dancer Wen Li Feng and thief-catcher (kinda like western bounty hunter) Zheng Hao Han and they switch as narrators of the story. Han is searching for thieves who stole a large shipment of jade and he follows a lead to a traveling show. Han immediately notices that girl dancing with swords (Li Feng) has too much skill and that's how the chase begins. Over the rooftops and through various villages in China, our heroes try to outwit each other while also in the same time trying not to fall in love.

When I started reading The Sword Dancer I expected historical fiction similar to Pearl S. Buck's, instead I got a story that is much more focused on action and romance than on a historical details. It was like going to the cinema expecting to see The Last Emperor and viewing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon instead. The chasing was fun and forbidden romance was intense, but the whole story did not leave any deeper impression on me and I didn't learn as much as I hoped about China in that time period.

Still I cannot say I did not enjoy The Sword Dancer. It was a pleasant surprise reading about a hero and heroine who are not typical and defy the usual cliches in romance novels. They are both average looking and always make the best of the cards that are dealt to them and strive to overcome their past problems and tragic family history.

As an action-packed historical romance set in China, The Sword Dancer is a recommended read for both lovers of historical romance or romantic suspense who would like a change of scenery. You will get kick-ass heroine, honorable hero, forbidden romance and a lot of chase and action scenes to entertain you. And with no strong ties to other books in Tang Dynasty series, The Sword Dancer can be read as a stand-alone novel.

My Rating: 3 out of 5


  1. Hahaha, I was totally expecting historical romance, but was surprised at the amount of action, and I ALMOST compared it to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    The fact that they were average looking, but still super into each other was the best part. :)

    1. I was not expecting historical romance. I don't know why when it's published by Harlequin Historical - stupid me. And yeah the amount of action was surprising.

      Yes, I liked that Jeannie Lin put potential on inner beauty and other characteristic when people fall in love. It was not all about toned abs, luscious lips, mesmerising eyes etc.

  2. I dislike it when what could be a good book focuses instead on what doesn't REALLY matter - like the romance. I don't see many books based outside of North America, so it's disappointing that this one didn't focus so much on the historical aspect. I'm glad you still enjoyed it, though I don't think this is the book for me! Lovely review anyhow. :)

    1. I agree, it's so hard finding books set in Asia, so I hoped I will learn much more about culture and customs and history and... well everything. It was not a bad book, I just regret it was not more focused on these things instead on romance and action.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

  3. I think that this one doesn't focus on the historical stuff is what would draw me to it! I love a forbidden relationship, especially when there's a lot of action to keep me on my toes, and unconventional and non-stereotypical protagonists is a definite plus!

    1. Well then you should definitely check this one out it has all of the above. :D


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