Review – The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang

Review - The Emperor and the Endless Palace
Review - The Emperor and the Endless Palace

The Emperor and the Endless Palace was deliberately set aside to read in February as part of a loose theme of romance inspired books. I love folklore, historical romance, star crossed lovers, doomed scenarios. Anything with a hint of romance: I’m there for tame 1980’s Mills and Boon to intricate tales that balance hardcore sex with controlling mind games.

The Emperor and the Endless Palace in short

There is an insanely long blurb for this book and lots more info on the Edelweiss page where I selected this book from so I’ve ignored that and supplied what was on the inside cover to sum up how this book drew me in.

What if I told you that the feeling we call love is actually the feeling of metaphysical recognition, when your soul remembers someone from a previous life? How would that change the way you look at each stranger, knowing that they could be the epic romance across all of your lifetimes?”

This bit in conjunction with the blurb is what sold me on this book. I read it and looked forward to swooning sometime soon. My Goodreads notes states “Hope it lives up to it. I want to see crazy love on full display”

Thank goodness for Goodread notes

At 45% I concluded

So there’s no crazy love on display just random hook ups between men who appear instantly available for sex – insert sad face here. There’s barely a word spoken before they are getting sweaty with strangers. Plus no way I can take this seriously when private parts are described as ‘my influence’. Still waiting for the reasons why this relationship transcends time other than just sexual attraction. Expectations dashed

The Emperor and the Endless Palace living up to the hype?

No it does not live up to all those 5 star reviews.

I feel cheated that I didn’t get to read

A sweeping, supernatural romance, ENDLESS PALACE is a story of folklore and tradition, of danger and betrayal, of lust and, ultimately, eternal love. From ancient China to modern Los Angeles

I wanted to read the book that the blurb of The Emperor and the Endless Palace described. What I got instead was a book with characters of the same name and similar basic facts (there are three time lines), essentially a poorly interpreted fanfic of a great plot.

So what is The Emperor and the Endless Palace really about?

I was subjected to a never-ending series of terrible stilted sex scenes, interspersed with a loose plot of a love triangle over 3 time period. There was too much detail provided in the sex scenes. I can’t call it romantic relationships because no connections were built in any time period, it was instant lust and the most cringe worthy descriptions. And not enough details in character development and motivation. Why did I have to step outside of the page to Google “cut sleeve” or the Han Dynasty? Folklore, magic or superstition can only cover up so much and is of no use where there are gaping holes in plot and undeveloped characters.

No time travel? Yes there was but it just wasn’t good. Romance, no abuse relationships. Read a selection of good time travel here and actual romance here

Writing a review when your disenchanted with a book

I dislike giving hard reviews of books because I know that writing isn’t easy, it’s very personal and authors invest a lot into crafting a book. I generally prefer to point out the elements that I enjoyed and minimise the parts I didn’t like as much. rather than spending ages saying how much I’m annoyed by this, that and the other in a book. In this instance all I can say is that the folklore was interesting. I feel misled and very much aggrieved by everything else.

The marketing of this book is drastically off and bears very little resemblance to the story inside the very pretty cover.

…asking what true, queer love is… and what it costs

It told me nothing about queer love and was a depiction of thoughtless, selfish people who prioritised themselves at the expense of others. This wasn’t love in action. Love doesn’t lead to abuse, destruction and death time after time.

1 Star Review, pretty harsh

And to be clear the reason why The Emperor and the Endless Palace is 1 star from me isn’t because of the subject matter: Gay, Asian, folklore or quaintly categorised as ‘spicy’. It is because irrespective of the blurb, I didn’t like it. I hated the plot structure of a different timeline each chapter as each chapter conveyed very little (towards developing the plot and explaining the mystery) and was deliberately ended on an artificial cliff hanger. The characters were immature, unlikeable and the plot deliberately vague.

In Summary

If I wanted to read about hate f*cking, poor dialogue and characters doing random nonsensical things, that would be an intentional choice, it shouldn’t be foisted on me. The Emperor and the Endless Palace is a straight up bait and switch. If I’d paid for this, I would demand my money back with interest for time wasted, plus pain and suffering endured in the reading of it. It is an example of the very reason why we have the Trade Descriptions Act.

My thanks to Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 Star - Did Not Like It
Share This Blog Post

Engrossed Reader

Reading whenever she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres with preference for ebooks and audiobooks, mainly for convenience.

You may also like...