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the ghost bride

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REVIEW: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride was a beautifully written and thought provoking novel that oozed wonderful prose and exciting plot. As a debut novel, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Choo has in store for future novels because this was absolutely excellent.

Set in Malaya, The Ghost Bride follows our main character, Li Lan, as she gets wrapped up in the spirit world. When Li Lan’s father tells her of a proposition made to her as a ghost bride to a wealthy family, Li Lan’s life spirals into something that’s deeper than she can control. Accepting could mean the end of the family debts collected since her mother died, but it could also mean something sinister and that will change Li Lan’s life forever.

The culture and mythology behind The Ghost Bride was an element that I really loved. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the ways other people live and so this was something that I instantly clicked with. It’s written in such a way that it is easy to understand, especially if you aren’t familiar with any of the terms or customs. I’d happily read more books about the traditions, and I know from talking to other people that they’ll love the ethnicity and cultural values that are spoken about and explored.

This is a book that I refused to read before bed. Not that it frightened me, but it did send a chill down my spine because everything felt realistic. Choo has drawn from modern fears and worked them so that they fit in to the world that is created in The Ghost Bride. For example, Li Lan and her family have debt issues and the constant worry about money which is something that many people can relate to today. Mixed with the supernatural features, readers will find it hard not to find something that they love.

The array of characters that are introduced in the novel all hard their parts to play and I liked the fact that the secondary characters had so much background and were easy to understand. This was a huge factor that sealed my love of this book because I loved the attention to detail.

Although I little erratic and having a tendency to act on a whim, Li Lan was a likable and rounded character who I felt it was easy to connect with.  I felt so sorry for her on occasion because she was thrust into so many difficult situations that she didn’t deserve at all. Poor Li Lan!

The Ghost Bride was a compelling and thought-provoking read that kept me on the edge of my seat. Choo has created an imaginative and plausible world that makes me feel very pleased to be reading this book, and not experiencing it for myself!