“Stronger than a Bronze Dragon” by Mary Fan

Thanks to Page Street Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This sounded like a really cool concept. Steampunk fantasy mixed with Qing dynasty China? Yeah that sounds pretty awesome. It started well too, I was instantly drawn into Anlei’s battle to protect her village and then…

..the Exposition Hammer came crashing down.

Positives:

The setting is interesting and I liked the nods to the cultural aspects and overall, it seemed like a cool world to set a story in.

The cover is really nice?

Negatives:

The writing style just felt strange to me and I couldn’t connect with it. I can’t put my finger on what bothered me about it, but it rustled my jimmies and made it impossible for me to focus on the story.

The bad guy was completely boring and predictable. I worked out what most of the plot twists would be almost immediately. I’m not bragging, they are just really obvious.

I didn’t get a sense of any real chemistry with the love interest. I didn’t really care about the relationships between any of the characters. Sometimes I can live with this if the story or writing makes up for it but in this case…no.

Overall, a cool concept but it just didn’t work for me.

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