I've heard wonderful things about this series, and I've been meaning to read it since forever. For some reason I started out with the second one, don't ask me why, not even I know...
I've read a lot of HR, but never any in this particular setting so, hurrah for a non-eurocentric romance with non-white characters!
Jeannie Lin was absolutely masterful when it came to getting the reader into that particular world, every description was incredibly vivid, and that was just so wonderful, since we were exploring a culture and time period not usually seen in this genre!
So, the plot! Li Tao, the ruthless warlord, kidnaps Ling Suyin, the former consort to the now dead Emperor. He claims assassins were out to get her, therefore she must possess vital information. She claims she knows nothing and she doesn't believe him when he says he's saved her life from assassins.
We get dual POVs in this book, and they worked out wonderfully:
- Li Tao cannot trust Ling Suyin, she lived her entire life at court, and survived to tell the story. To escape that serpent's nest of intrigue takes a masterful player when it comes to deceit.
- Ling Suyin cannot trust Li Tao, he's a warlord who has renounced his oath to the Emperor, a man who's killed countless others, a man about to plunge the Empire into war.
Neither can help but be attracted to the other despite this... Is that also part of the other one's plans?
This could have had a much higher rating, but it felt like the romance moved too quickly, the ending was too abrupt. Yes, I know this is a Harlequin romance, but the quality of the writing is above and beyond the usual Harlequin romance, so it kind of tricked me into expecting a more fleshed out story.
Nonetheless, I recommend it, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Jeannie Lin' official site
Buy The Dragon and the Pearl
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery!)