Shanghai Immortal: A richly told romantic fantasy novel set in Jazz Age Shanghai
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The plot was amazing! Always filled with adventures yet we still had time to drink tea--and other things--and eat xiao long bao. I personally need this balance because to me, this is what makes the story even more real. Shanghai Immortal follows Lady Jing as she seeks to expose a plot to steal a dragon pearl from the king of Hell. Her escapades take her through both Hell and mortal Shanghai in search of information to prove the hulijing courtiers are behind the plot.
Of course, this book includes the found family trope, my favourite one! The friendship between Lady Jing and Gigi is great and they are a fantastic duo. Their dynamic is amusing, and their scenes together made me laugh a lot. The side characters are an important part of this book and I’d like to know more about them in the next installments of the story. When the King requests that she escorts a human guest to meet him, she has to make sure no one or something eats him. Things get complicated when she overhears the courtiers planning to steal the dragon pearl from the King's treasury. With the help of the mortal guest, Jing embarks on a journey to prove herself, expose (or get revenge against ) those responsible for her pain and trauma, and maybe... fall in love in the process. What can possibility go wrong? And the king of Hell wants to establish a bank, hence enrolling the aid of a mortal specialized in finance: Mr Lee.
We learn early on that her mother “pawned” her to the king of Hell, Big Wang and she had the audacity to die soon after, leaving Jing in Hell. I was given early access through NetGalley and the Author, Thank you so much for the Advance Reader's Copy This richly told adult fantasy debut teems with Chinese deities and demons cavorting in jazz age Shanghai.
The slow burn romance between Jing and Mr Tony Lee, a human from Mortal Shanghai who was a balm to her fiery nature. He is the epitome of hope and was also brave in partaking certain responsibilities.The author obviously enjoys the concept of mortal and immortal Shanghai existing side by side and even throws in Hell as another plane of existence. And so the story unravels throughout all of these realms, and you'd do good to just be along for the ride and enjoy it as well. An adult fantasy novel that is set in the 1930s but mostly takes place in the heavenly, hellish and supernatural realms.
But honestly, I enjoyed, devoured and loved this book. Although I'm ashamed to say I was unable to read it in one sitting because of my schedule being too tight because of college, I do believe I had a chill, nothing-to-do day, I would have definitely sat on my couch and read this thing from start to finish in one sitting!!
Her friendship with Gigi is also really nice! Gigi comes running whenever she's in trouble and kinda keeps her grounded. I love how vulgar, unapologetic and stubborn Jing is. She is one of the most well built, interesting and real characters I've read. And she made me laugh so much, it also made my heart hurt with all she had lived and I felt the sentiments were very relatable, and connecting with her and loving her is so easy ❤️ It’s a fast-paced book that will keep you hooked from the beginning. An easy and fun reading where the author presents a fantasy setting with great worldbuilding but that is close enough to the real world to make it relatable and natural.