Li Du series / Elsa Hart

Title / Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror
Author / Elsa Hart
Publication Date / 2015 and 2016
Genre / Mystery/Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 368 and 320
Star Rating / ★★★.5

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This is a mystery, historical fiction trilogy set in 18th century China. It follows Li Du, who was once a imperial librarian but is now in exile, as he unfolds the mysteries set in front of him. In book 1 he must unravel the facts behind the recent murder of an astronomer. As this is a series review, I will not go into details of the plot of either books.

 

The first thing that drew me to these books was the setting and I am happy to report that it didn’t disappoint. Hart has done a fantastic job at creating a vivid look into 18th century China. Now I don’t know a whole lot about this time period so I can’t comment on authenticity, but I will say that I was immersed in this world. It was such an interesting backdrop to each of the stories and it seems like Hart has spent quite a lot of time writing it. I loved that we got to explore more of the world in the sequel. Although I have not read the third book, I do know that Li Du has to return to Beijing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that setting. The writing is good in both books and I found it easy to settle into the flow of the story. Each book was quite a quick read for me because once I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down.

 

In terms of the plot, each of these books was compelling. The pacing is quite slow at times, but I think it was well suited to the story. The focus is more on collecting all of the facts and trying to figure it all out, rather than making this an action packed read. While I enjoyed both of these books, I personally liked the story of the second book a little bit more. For whatever reason I found it to be slightly more engaging. I also think that the second book felt more assured. Hart seems to have really settled into the flow of writing these stories and characters. Speaking of the characters, this trilogy contains a great cast of characters. Li Du is a fantastic protagonist and I’ve enjoyed his development through these two books. The other characters are also well written, if a little lacking at times. Overall though I really liked the cast of characters in both books and look forward to seeing how they progress in the third book. The ‘villains’ could perhaps be a little more fleshed out, but it’s only a minor complaint.

 

Overall this are enjoyable reads with a fantastic setting and interesting characters. The story continues in City of Ink which was released in August 2018. I will definitely be checking it out at some point in the near future. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

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