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The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
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The Dragon and the Pearl

by Jeannie Lin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tang Dynasty (Book 2)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
As a romance, this is pretty good. Both protagonists are complex individuals with secrets and their own agendas, which war with their mutual attraction and compatible personalities. The sex scenes are a good blend of explicit without becoming tedious or using silly euphemisms; however, I was disappointed that the physiologically impossible internal hymen made a brief appearance. (Hymens, when they exist, are at the very opening of the vagina, not halfway up- a notion that has somehow caught on in romances of late.)

I didn't read this for the romance as much as the setting, though, and that was something of a disappointment. I'd read that Lin wrotenovels very evocative of their settings, and I didn't find this one especially so; physically, if you threw in cell phones, it could be set now. The surroundings, the buildings (for the most part), the furniture- even the clothing- was mainly glossed over. And the two protagonists were sufficiently comprehensible to make it highly unlikely that they are reflecting their times and stations!

The plot- apart from the romance- seemed arbitrary and spotty to me. Since this book is a part of a series, previous and/or future books might make it more meaningful.

Not really recommended, but reasonably entertaining. ( )
  cissa | Feb 22, 2018 |
I reviewed this book on my blog at www.bookworm2bookworm.wordpress.com

This book comes highly recommended by some of my friends and authors that I highly respect, so there was no way in hell I was going to skip on reading it. Besides, I just love all those martial arts movies with sword fights and leaping warriors.

Before I sank my teeth into this story, I thought I should read ‘Butterfly Swords’ first as the hero of ‘The Dragon and the Pearl’ makes his début in it. Just a side note, you really don’t have to read it as the author did a magnificent job of having this one stand on its own. I can assure you that you will love this one so much, that you’ll want to get your hands on the other as soon as you read the last page. It is exactly what I did when I was done with ‘Butterfly Swords’. I went and made sure to buy ‘The Taming of Mei Lin’ and I’ve still to read it.

I honestly don’t know where to start in telling you how much I loved this story. Between the unique setting and this authors prose, I was transported to an era that was pure magic.

759 AD. China. Tang Dynasty. Court intrigue and political upheaval is the order of the day, and the military governors (jiedushi) had their own regional armies independent of the Emperor Shen’s army and one of those is General Li Tao.

Li Tao is one of the most feared generals in China, and his star rose fifteen years ago when he saved the life of the previous Emperor. He was also betrothed to Emperor Shen’s daughter (Butterfly Swords), who spurned him and ran away from him the year before.

We met Ling Suyin in ‘Butterfly Swords’ when she briefly appeared and gave safe haven to the hero and heroine, but even there I had a feeling that there was so much more to her then just a pretty face. She was known as Precious Consort of the August Emperor Li Ming, and after his death she was removed by Emperor Shen to a remote home that was built just for her by her lover. She has resigned herself to a lonely and barren life never knowing when or who might come to end it, literally and figuratively.

When Li Tao shows up at her door, she’s not sure if he’s there “to bed her or kill her”, so while she trembles inside, her training as a courtesan comes in handy and she doesn’t even flinch as Li Tao takes her to his home, not telling her the reasons behind his ‘abduction’.

Li Tao knows only that an anonymous message arrived warning him of the threat to Ling Suyin’s life while residing without protection and all alone in her home. He wastes no time in coming to her rescue, but all his military discipline and his ‘gutter rats’ instincts are on alert and showing any emotion to anyone is something he is not good at.

As the author takes us deeper into the past of both, Tao and Suyin, we become aware of their similarities; both did what they had to in order to survive in Luoyang and both share the past with Gao Shiming, a man whose court intrigues run so deep that killing him would mean certain death for both hero and heroine.

As we follow and watch Tao and Suyin slowly come to realization that the sins of the past have finally caught up to both, we can’t help but wonder whose method of extricating them from it will work best: Tao’s ‘in for the kill’ or Suyin’s ‘cunning negotiation’.

The author clearly did her homework in researching the setting and because of it my imagination soared. The plot gives this story its perfect pace which in turn brought the characters of Tao and Suyin to life. Jeannie Lin’s talent in ‘tale telling’ shines through and you’ll be enchanted while she takes you on a journey to a place of beauty, danger and intrigue.

Li Tao is perfect as silent type hero to Suyin’s poised and meddling heroine. The sensuality and sexual tension between the two is palpable, exciting, and just a perfect balance of romance and sensuality.

If you’re looking for a romance with an exotic setting, mostly character driven and extremely well-written, with an intriguing plot and a perfect pace, then this book is just the ‘ticket’.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* ( )
  bookworm2bookworm | Mar 30, 2017 |
I listened to this as an audiobook and enjoyed it. It was really quite dark for a romance and I wasn't sure how it was going to be solved either which is a change for a romance. Like other reviewers I'm not sure I bought the solution but it was an ok journey getting there. ( )
  infjsarah | May 17, 2015 |
I enjoyed Jeannie Lin's Butterfly Swords enough that when The Dragon and the Pearl came out, I snatched it up. Then it sat in my TBR pile for a while. Working on my read-alikes list for Bonnie Dee's Captive Bride reminded me that I hadn't read it yet, but still wanted to.

I've been working on this review for a few days now, and it has been showing signs of causing me as many problems as my review for Captive Bride. So, in the interest of finishing this review this weekend instead of several weeks from now, I'm doing things a little differently.

What I liked:
- Li Tao and Suyin's complexity. Both characters have been harboring at least one big secret since before the previous Emperor's death, and they've become used to hiding their emotions. As a result, neither one of them knows what to expect from each other. Suyin primarily knows Li Tao through his deadly reputation – he was the weapon through which the former Emperor punished anyone potentially involved in the Empress's murder. Li Tao knows Suyin primarily through the reputation she gained as the former Emperor's Precious Consort – she was, and is, thought to be a seductive courtesan skilled enough to bring any man to his knees. I enjoyed getting to find out more about the people behind the reputations.
- The intensity of Li Tao and Suyin's relationship. Neither Li Tao nor Suyin really expects that Li Tao will survive much longer, not if he continues on his current path. Even so, Li Tao really does think that he has made the best possible choice. Suyin is desperate to convince him otherwise, but, even if she can, there is still no guarantee that he won't be killed. The impending tragedy makes for some really intense and emotional romance.
- The setting. I enjoyed the Tang Dynasty China setting in Butterfly Swords, and I enjoyed it in this book as well. I know only a very little about this time and place, so there were some things I didn't feel I was able to follow very well, but I think I still got the gist of what was going on.

What I didn't like:
- If I hadn't known this was a Harlequin Historical, I'd have been tempted to flip to the end of the book, just to make sure there was at least a half-way happy ending. The bulk of The Dragon and the Pearl often felt less like a romance novel and more like a tragic love story. While the feeling of impending tragedy gave Suyin and Li Tao's romance a lot of intensity, it didn't fit with the happy romance novel ending, which seemed to come out of nowhere. I was a little stunned at how suddenly one particular character was defanged and turned into a Tang Dynasty China equivalent of Nora Roberts' Daniel MacGregor (basically, a grandfatherly matchmaker).
- As much as I enjoyed reading about Li Tao and Suyin and am glad the ending of their story wasn't tragic, I think I prefer Lin's Butterfly Swords. The ending of The Dragon and the Pearl was a bit of a disappointment. However, I'm still glad I read the book and am really looking forward to Lin's My Fair Concubine, which is currently sitting in my TBR pile.

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
So much about this book took me by surprised. I hated Li Tao in Butterfly Swords and really wanted to see him skewered and dead, but this book completely turned that around for me. I was also looking forward to finally reading a book where the heroine wasn't a virgin, but darn if Lin didn't rip that rug out from under me (though the twist made perfect sense and I rather enjoyed that I didn't see it coming.) Now I can't wait for her next book to come out. ( )
  TLMorganfield | Sep 4, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeannie Linprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lam, SarahReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Former Emperor's consort Ling Suyin is renowned for her beauty. She lives quietly alone until the most ruthless warlord in the region steals her away, intent on uncovering her mystery without falling under her spell.

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