Source: provided by the author for an honest review
Date read: September 13, 2014
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A mortal woman in the realm of the gods!Thoughts on Dark Blossom: I'm more a Greek and Celtic mythology type of girl, so I found it fascinating to delve into the gods and deities of ancient China. Learning about the minor gods and what they would and would not do to save their people was intriguing. That said, this book is chiefly about the crumbling of an empire and the lengths a mother will go to to save her children.
China, 907 A.D. The Middle Kingdom is in turmoil. Droughts and rebellions plague the country. The last days of the Tang Dynasty are rapidly approaching.
Avagul Radir cares nothing about China. She is a foreigner. Only two people matter to Avagul—her son and daughter. But now the chaos is threatening them.
In her darkest hour, Avagul is visited by a strange old man who claims to be Jigong, the beggar god. Jigong offers Avagul a deal. If she saves China, he will save her children. Avagul must travel through a mysterious and frightening world of gods and magic. If she survives, she will face her ultimate challenge, the most terrifying deity of all—Zhong Kui, the hunter god.
Ava's life is nothing short of awful. A pleasure slave, she exists at the whims of the house madam. She has little to no freedom and she's learned to fade into the background and let the world happen around her. Taken from her homeland as a child, Ava doesn't believe in the Chinese gods, so when she suddenly comes face to face with one her world is upended.
But a mother's got to do what a mother's got to do. Despite her disbelief, she hikes up her big girl panties and tried to save China from an emperor who is little more than a petulant child.
As intriguing as Ava's story is, I really enjoyed seeing through the eyes of some of the other gods. The tragedy that drove Zhong Kui to become the hunter god was both fascinating and repellant. What was done to him was heartbreaking. That he chose to defend his country and people against demons despite that made him a tragic hero.
Once again, Vincent Stoia offers us a dark look at ancient China and it was one I couldn't look away from.