THE EMPRESS OF BRIGHT MOON by Weina Dai Randel is the sequel to The Moon in the Palace. The second book had been in my to be read pile for quite a while and for some reason never got to it. I’m one of the people who can’t watch a movie if two minutes have played, and I hate to read a book’s sequel with remembering the first one. So I sat down to binge read both books this weekend. I enjoyed reading The Moon in the Palace as much as the first time and found Randel’s story telling skills wonderful.
THE EMPRESS OF BRIGHT MOON sadly I hate to say was so MUCH better than the first book! I’m going to gush like a 16 year old school girl over here with a crush on the quarterback of the football team. This book is amazing! Randel didn’t hold back when she continued Mei’s story. It was as if I was snatched up by a tornado of emotions and spun around and around. There were scenes that had my holding my breath because they were so intense. Scenes that had me misty eye. Scenes that had me raging along with Mei. Scenes that had my groaning out loud (in a good way) and saying Randel why are you doing this to Mei and her loved ones. Scenes that had my eyes racing and tripping over words trying to find what would happen next. I was sucked into this story and couldn’t stop reading. I was up till 2am one night and had to force myself to put down the book; I need at least 5 hours of sleep to function the next day.
I loved Mei and felt every triumph, loss, grief and setback she faced. Pheasant, her lover, made me want to pull my hair out in frustration. One of my favorite characters, who I wished had more scenes about, was Princess Gaoyang, Pheasant’s sister and Mei’s friend and protector. It’s the first Chinese historical book I read with a princess who could kick ass. And Empress Wang, talk about a character you wanted and loved to hate, so devious and tragic. After finishing reading this story, I became a big fan of Randel. I’m not going into details about the book because I feel it’s one of those stories that have to unfold for the reader.
THE EMPRESS OF BRIGHT MOON is a must read for anyone who loves Chinese historical fiction and a story about a woman sacrificing all and triumphing in the end. It will be one of those books I will remember for it’s characters and what they went through. Fabulous job, Weina!