Book Review: Three Souls | Alexia's Books and Such...: Book Review: Three Souls

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Three Souls

Book Review:  Three Souls by Janie ChangThree Souls by Janie Chang

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls - stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun - who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that I wasn't sure I'd like, but wound up loving! I don't think I've ever read a book set in China before, so this was a totally new experience for me. Add in the 1930's setting, which I usually don't care for, and this one is totally outside my usual comfort zone! But the author made it an easy read and I was never confused about what was happening because she explained everything seamlessly, without getting in the way of the story. Very impressive!

We first meet Leiyin on the day of her funeral. Unsure of why she hasn't yet ascended to the afterlife, her three souls explain that she was responsible for a great wrong during her life. In order to journey to the afterlife, she needs to remember what happened and then make things right.

We journey with Leiyin down memory lane, and the journey isn't always pleasant as she was a bit of a sheltered, spoiled little rich girl. Thinking only of herself, she suffers the consequences of her actions. Was her "punishment" a little harsh? I think so, but she certainly could have handled things better and taken the opportunity to pull up her big girl panties and grow up!

While Leiyin isn't the nicest person, I could relate to her situation and she had my sympathy. I enjoyed getting to know several of the other characters as well, especially her sisters and stepmother.

This story is beautifully written, and I'm astounded that it's the author's first book! She's incredibly talented, and I'm doubly impressed that she hooked me so thoroughly with something so far outside of my usual genres! Interesting characters, a smooth flowing plot, and an introduction to a foreign land to boot. Definitely a must read!



Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

12 comments:

  1. Ooooo! This one sounds very good. I love when a book you're really wary about turns out great.

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  2. Awesome review! It doesn't really sound like my thing either, but it does seem an interesting concept. Usually in a story like this, the deceased has to help someone in life so they themselves can pass on to the afterlife. I guess it is the same kind of concept.

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    1. I actually thought of you while I was reading it, as you're the only person I know who has actually been to China!

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  3. That's great this one hooked you since it's so different from your usual reads. It definitely sounds like something outside of my "comfort zone" but those sometimes surprise you!

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    1. I love it when something I'm not sure about turns out to be better than expected!

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  4. I've read quite a few reviews of this, most of them good. A book I'd definitely pick up if I were to see it in the library but Its probably not one I'd buy. Great review, I'm so glad you enjoyed it despite it being so different from your usual kind of read.

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    1. I don't know that I would have picked this one up myself, as I usually don't browse any sections but my usuals. Think I need to branch out more next trip to the bookstore!

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  5. Sounds good. Reminds me of a bit of the scrooge feel with a twist. :) Thank you.

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    1. Never thought of that, but you're right! She looks back on her life just like Scrooge did.

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  6. This sounds fantastic!!! I am on an Asian Setting kick and I need this now!

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    1. It has definitely opened the door for me to try other stories set in Asia!

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