A review copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
Sometimes the most enjoyable books are the ones that you stumble across. I’ve had great luck with that this year – the Grisha series, for example, and now this book, The Long Way.
Chi-Yen is a half-Chinese, half-“Barbarian” (probably British) girl, the get of a whore and a sailor trying to survive in Canton during the Second Opium War. The first part of the tail is a rather enjoyable story in its own right as we see how this young girl – no more than 12 trying to survive and avoid the fate of so many other slaves that were sold to “Old Mother.” During these trails she runs across a disgraced monk and his apprentice. What happens next I don’t necessarily want to spoil, though I will allude that Long means “Dragon.”
This tail is a fantastic weaving of a historical sense of place and time – first Canton, then the Old West – and the more fantastical, though the author grounds the story in so much reality that the setting of the novel still very much feels like our world.
This novel is a great combination of old and new. The last 1/3 of the book does seem a bit rushed and I do wish the author had taken more time to really explore the places she went and the people she met.
Still, this is definitely something that felt genuinely unique and I think that anyone looking for something different and has an open mind is going to enjoy this. A sequel is due out in the second half of 2014, and I think it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for.
Verdict: Buy It.