Book Review: The Sword Dancer by Jeannie LinWednesday, May 22, 2013
The Sword Dancer
#4 in Tang Dynasty series
by Jeannie Lin
Genre: Historical, Romance
Format: Ebook, 288 pages
Published On: June 1, 2013 by Harlequin Historical
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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.