YA Fantasy, Romance and Vietnamese Culture!

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I loved, loved, LOVED the cover. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to read the Rise of the Empress duology by Julie C. Dao yet. And this worried me initially, but then I read somewhere that this book can be read as a standalone and I immediately delved into it!

With a little under 300 pages, Song of the Crimson Flower was not only a quick read, but a fast-paced one at that.

I love how Julie C. Dao added the whole cast of characters at the beginning of the book along with their pronunciations! Wooot! I was so glad to know I was saying the names right and not butchering them in my head!

The story mainly centers around the two main characters - Lan, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, and Bao, a poor physician's apprentice. The writing was so beautiful and the story had such a fairy-tale like quality to it! The book also explored themes of love, family, politics, war, marriage and so many things! There was also great character development.

Can't wait to read the original Rise of the Empress series now!