From the acclaimed author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns comes a fantastical new tale of darkness and love, in which magical bonds are stronger than blood.
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.
Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest's Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao begin to break the spell that's been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?
In this fantastical tale of darkness and love, some magical bonds are stronger than blood.
Tam Huynh never visits his betrothed, Lan Vu, and won't set a wedding date. Lan maintains that Tam is just shy and prefers to show his devotion with nightly serenades. In truth, the songs come courtesy of an orphaned physician's apprentice, Bao, who lives with the wealthy Huynhs. When Bao confesses, it shatters Lan, who dismisses him as a peasant. Bao then seeks out a river witch to erase his memories so that he might more easily "start a new life far away," but instead, she curses him to spend eternity inside his flute, unless he can find love before the full moon. A remorseful Lan finds the instrument, temporarily frees Bao, and joins him on a perilous quest to reverse the witch's spell. Dao's latest fuses beats of Cyrano de Bergerac with elements from her Rise of the Empress duology to create an East Asian influenced tale of love, greed, politics, addiction, and found family. The plot is slight, and the bulk of the conflict comes late, but nuanced characters and tender romance buoy the book to a gratifying conclusion. Ages 12 up. \n
Loved this book. Plot development was 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. Characters and world building were awesome