Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "The Sword Dancer" by Jeannie Lin


The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty, #4)(Lovers and Rebels, #1)
(Tang Dynasty #4)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Historical Romance -- 9th Century China

Harlequin -- Published on May 13, 2013
Ebook, 282 pages
Read in February 2016
Purchased

RATING: 4 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Enemies to Lovers, Stoic Hero, Kick-Ass Heroine

SUMMARY
Sword dancer Li Feng is used to living life on the edge of the law—a woman alone in the dangerous world of the Tang Dynasty has only her whirlwind reflexes to trust. She will discover the truth about her past, even if that means outwitting the most feared thief-catcher of them all...

Relentless, handsome and determined, Han sees life—and love—as black and white. Until he finally captures the spirited, courageous Li Feng, who makes him question everything he thought he knew about right and wrong. Soon he's faced with an impossible choice: betray the elusive sword dancer he is learning to love, or trust his long-disregarded heart and follow her to dangerous, tempting rebellion...


MY THOUGHTS
Read for the 2016 TBR Challenge--February--Series Catch-up.  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

I discovered Jeannie Lin's China-set historicals years ago and have been slowly making my way through the Tang Dynasty series.  I have had The Sword Dancer on my e-reader since its release date and, after debating what to pick for this month, I decided I wanted a unique historical romance.  While this book is considered part of Lin's larger Tang Dynasty series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  It has been awhile since I've read the other books, but I don't think there are any overlapping characters.

I found The Sword Dancer to be a delightful read.  It tells the story of Li Feng who has a mysterious past that has led her to not always living in the most legal way.  She becomes ensnared with the infamous thief-catcher, Han, and these two end up in a cat-and-mouse game that was as entertaining as it was suspenseful.  Both characters are richly drawn and given opportunities to develop as people.  Han has to deal with having a narrow view of right and wrong while Li Feng is forced to figure out how to trust other people.  It is always fun to read about intelligent, capable characters and these two definitely fit the bill.

The romance between Li Feng and Han is full of adventure and banter.  A significant amount of the first half of the book shows them constantly running into one another.  They take turns outwitting the other which just increases the already existing sexual tension.  And, when they finally join forces to figure out the truth behind Li Feng's past, the rest of the China better watch out.  I loved the respect that they showed one another and how the author made sure readers knew the obstacles ahead of them.  Li Feng and Han have to overcome a lot to get their happy ending and it is well worth the struggle.

Like the other Tang Dynasty books I've read, The Sword Dancer is full of vibrant settings and details.  I know very little about this time period, but I felt like the world could just jump off the pages.  There is a ton of information given to readers yet it never felt like I was reading a lecture or just pages of description.  It takes a skilled writer to infuse an adventure romance with so much historical detail and Lin definitely accomplishes that task.

I recommend The Sword Dancer, or any of Jeannie Lin's other romances, for any reader who wants something different in their historical romance.  I read historicals to learn about the past and also find myself engulfed in it.  That definitely happened here and I hope others take the plunge.  I can't wait to read more in this series and I'm glad that I finally dug this one out of the depths of my e-reader.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES

The Taming of Mei Lin (Tang Dynasty, #.5)Butterfly Swords (Tang Dynasty, #1)The Dragon and the Pearl (Tang Dynasty, #2)The Lady's Scandalous Night (Tang Dynasty, #2.5)My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty, #3)An Illicit Temptation (Tang Dynasty, #3.5)The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty, #4)(Lovers and Rebels, #1)A Dance with Danger (Lovers and Rebels, #2) (Tang Dynasty, #5)

READING CHALLENGES
2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge
2016 TBR Challenge

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website -- Publisher Website

7 comments:

  1. OK, your review is so interesting that I've just bought this book, as you made me want to read it. I hope it can be read without reading any other book from the series, as this is my first Jeannie Lin's book.

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    1. Bona: I think this one can be read out of order pretty easily. I don't recall it tying in too closely with the other Tang Dynasty books....

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  2. I'm so glad you liked this. Sometimes I crave a more unique romance read too.

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  3. Oh! I have this too! In fact, I think I have this whole series and I haven't read any of them. I've really liked Lin's other works so these ight get bumped up the pile. Thanks!

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  4. I'm behind on Lin's books - I think this is the last one I read? I've got the historical after this, plus her steampunk books waiting for me. I loved the action/adventure style plot to this one, and I love how Lin incorporates the history into her story (I know less than nothing about Tang Dynasty China and I always feel immersed in the world she builds).

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  5. I have at least three of Ms Lin's books in the TBR...and have read nothing by her yet.

    Your review makes me want to fix this, asap!

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  6. oh yay...glad you liked this one so much. I haven't read a asian romance since I was in high school. But I keep hearing about this author...and you definitely have me fascinated by this one. Great review. Hope you have been enjoying your weekend.

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