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The Ghost Bride
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East Asia > The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments During a discussion over at https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... there was interest in doing a buddy read of The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. So, this is the thread for our upcoming buddy read.

We're aiming to start in February 2020. Anyone can join in!

Margaret, when we get closer to February, do you want to try to start on a certain date? Or around the same day at least? Thoughts?


message 2: by Asaria (last edited Jan 10, 2020 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asaria | 568 comments I may join you anytime. I finished the book yesterday. :)

Also slightly offtopic, but Netflix is releasing TV series inspired by the book on 23rd January.


Amanda | 233 comments I’ve just received her next book, The Night Tiger, from NetGalley. So, I’ll read and review that first, then join you in February for The Ghost Bride.


Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Yay, the more the better :-)

Asaria, I think someone mentioned the Netflix series over in another discussion in this group, but I didn't realize it was coming out this month. I'll likely check it out, depending on how I like the book and how quickly I get through a few other series I have in my list (Always a Witch, Jinn, Dark Season 2) while staying caught up on my reading list.


message 5: by Jalilah (last edited Jan 11, 2020 05:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
I thought we might have done a group read for The Ghost Bride a few years ago, but I looked and we didn't. I read it and then Melanti read it, so its mentioned in the "What are you Reading" thread and it was also nominated for our Asian inspired group read, but it didn't win.
Its funny re-reading my old comments because I notice how often I start out not liking a book that much but end up enjoying it a lot. In this case in the beginning I felt it was a bit romancy and I wrote this, but later on I ended up saying it was not romancy at all!
Now I don't remember enough anymore to say why this was my initial impression!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I should be able to check it out at the beginning of February. If it's okay with everyone else, we can start it on the first? It will probably take me at most a week to read it.

I didn't realize it was going to be a Netflix series! Yay!

Sorry for the delay in responding; I've been really busy with work.


Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Margaret wrote: "Sorry for the delay in responding; I've been really busy with work."

No worries, and no rush! We're weeks out from starting :-) And you're preaching to the choir - this was my last "slow" week until April 15th. That's why I'm trying to get my reading lined up now, so I don't have to think about during work week, can just grab a book from TBR stack and read.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "No worries, and no rush! We're weeks out from starting :-) And you're preaching to the choir - this was my last "slow" week until April 15th. That's why I'm trying to get my reading lined up now, so I don't have to think about during work week, can just grab a book from TBR stack and read."

I told all my clients I was only working 10-15 hours the weeks of Christmas and New Years, and on January 2nd, I had 4 clients email me about work. The week isn't finished, everyone! And my husband is switching jobs and schedules this month, so I'm feeling a bit frazzled. The work always gets done, and so does the reading!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
So my audiobook for Come Tumbling Down came in, and after that, I'm starting The Ghost Bride. It could be as early as tomorrow, but I should definitely finish it next weekend.


message 10: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Margaret wrote: "So my audiobook for Come Tumbling Down came in, and after that, I'm starting The Ghost Bride. It could be as early as tomorrow, but I should definitely finish it next weekend."

And I'm reading Come Tumbling Down and The Last Wish this week. Then starting The Ghost Bride this weekend.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Uh oh, I went to check out The Ghost Bride--which had no holds as of 2 weeks ago--and now Libby estimates a 6 week hold. So I will probably be a bit late entering the discussion.

Leah, we have similar reading agendas right now. I have The Last Wish on hold right now as well.


Amanda | 233 comments Well, I started reading the book late yesterday.

Choo has a real skill with storytelling. I'm not talking 'fine' prose, although her writing is nothing to be sneezed at, but its ability to engage the reader from the off is truly captivating. I recently read her subsequent novel, The Night Tiger, which had the same effect on me. Her spellbinding narrative reminds me of the writing of Daphne du Maurier.

I could stave off reading further, as I have a HUGE backlog of to be reads. But, as I'm already engaged, I will probably read an additional book, to slow me down. I would love to know your thoughts on this book.


message 13: by Asaria (last edited Feb 03, 2020 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asaria | 568 comments Amanda wrote: "Well, I started reading the book late yesterday.

Choo has a real skill with storytelling. I'm not talking 'fine' prose, although her writing is nothing to be sneezed at, but its ability to engage..."


I agree. "The Ghost Bride" shows Choo was learning her craft here. I don't know if you caught this, but with each completed chapter she was gaining more confidence and in consequence, her writing was getting better and more controlled.

I didn't intend to reread The Ghost Bride at all. I remember I enjoyed the historical part the most five years ago, but maybe because I've always been fascinated by Chinese and all other Asian cultures (and by the tales I've heard in Beijing, but that's another story). (view spoiler)


message 14: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Margaret wrote: "Uh oh, I went to check out The Ghost Bride--which had no holds as of 2 weeks ago--and now Libby estimates a 6 week hold. So I will probably be a bit late entering the discussion."

Increased popularity/loans is likely due to the new series on Netflix. Folks probably watching it then realizing it's based on a book and wanting more of it.

That happens to me a lot; e.g., The Witcher. 🤓


Niledaughter | 47 comments I finished the novel last night and I loved it! it was an unexpected enjoyable read. I loved the historical envelope that the story was delivered in. I loved the way we moved among the different realms and the subtle hint of the impact of how they may change according to the diversity of believes that was related to the multi-cultural nature of the society in the targeted historical era. I loved the heroin and how she was exploring herself and her feelings as well as the world around her and how can people be so complex , there were some unexpected twists; among them was that I really could not figure out who is the male protagonist of the novel until we reached half of the novel!

As for Netflix series, I started watching it, just one episode, I had a feeling of a flatting or naive adaptation, but I will be patient and give my judgment after finishing.


Amanda | 233 comments I’ve just read p.338 - I’m in love 💘🐉


Asaria | 568 comments Er Lang? :)


Amanda | 233 comments I can’t wait to see this on Netflix 😁


Amanda | 233 comments Asaria wrote: "Er Lang? :)"

;)


Amanda | 233 comments Jalilah wrote: "I thought we might have done a group read for The Ghost Bride a few years ago, but I looked and we didn't. I read it and then Melanti read it, so its mentioned in the "What are you ..."

I agree. It is presented as a historical romantic fantasy, but it is a whole lot more.

I'm not sure I would have found it, if not for doing this Challenge, and I'm so pleased I did and I am.

Choo really draws on all the Malaysian/Chinese mythology to deliver a story that combines dark and light, and teaches (me at least) more of the culture from South East Asia.

This was her first published novel, and it does have some weaknesses, but these are minor. Somewhere in the middle, it got a bit soggy, and I was willing to put the book aside for others, but then it came back in full force.

Overall, I was swept along with her narrative.

If you loved this, I strongly recommend her next book The Night Tiger.


Amanda | 233 comments I've just tried to watch the first episode of the Netflix edition. Sadly, I couldn't get through half of it. Maybe this needs to be animated by Studio Ghibli.


message 22: by Leah (last edited Feb 16, 2020 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments A bout with vertigo set my reading back about a week. So I just arrived at Part 3: The Plains of the Dead. So it looks like a quest is about to begin. :-) I will say there's more of a mystery than I was expecting, which is fun.

FYI there's a reading group guide with potential discussion questions on the publisher's page. It looks like I'm only up to about Question 5, so I stopped reading it for fear of spoilers. But thought I'd share the link in case others wanted to dig deeper into discussion here.

Amanda wrote: "I've just tried to watch the first episode of the Netflix edition. Sadly, I couldn't get through half of it. Maybe this needs to be animated by Studio Ghibli."

Oh no!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I finished today. What I loved about it is how richly the setting is drawn, and how the folklore and mythology is so seamlessly entwined in the setting. I've read about ghost brides before in folktales but I can't remember where.

It picked up for me at the part you're at, Leah. Honestly, the protagonist's voice bothered me. She seemed kinda vapid, and she judged people based on looks and constantly commented on what people looked like in judgemental ways, even though the author seemed to be setting her up as different than that. But as she went on her adventures I thought she became more well rounded.

I kinda wonder if it was the narration. The author narrated it, but it didn't seem to quite match the character to me!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I found all the accouterments of superstitious belief and folklore really interesting--like the spell papers to keep ghosts away, burning money, etc. I thought the medium was an interesting character too, and I'd like to know more about her character. I wonder how common these superstitions were and having various items for the superstitions were? And the history of mediums? It's really interesting!


message 25: by Asaria (last edited Feb 17, 2020 06:40AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asaria | 568 comments Margaret wrote: "I found all the accouterments of superstitious belief and folklore really interesting--like the spell papers to keep ghosts away, burning money, etc. I thought the medium was an interesting charact..."

Burning paper money or pictures of items of great value was and probably still is common in the Mainland.

As for your remaining questions. I don't know :)


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Asaria wrote: "Burning paper money or pictures of items of great value was and probably still is common in the Mainland."

Interesting!


message 27: by Asaria (last edited Feb 18, 2020 06:14AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asaria | 568 comments Margaret wrote: "Asaria wrote: "Burning paper money or pictures of items of great value was and probably still is common in the Mainland."

Interesting!"


If you are interested, Life and Death are Wearing Me Out has a short beginning taking place in Chinese Underworld and it's written by Mainland writer Mo Yan. The protagonist has to endure five animal incarnations as a punishment before being reborn as a man.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Asaria wrote: "If you are interested, Life and Death are Wearing Me Out has a short beginning taking place in Chinese Underworld and it's written by Mainland writer Mo Yan. The protagonist has to endure five animal incarnations as a punishment before being reborn as a man."

Thanks! I've heard of Mo Yan but haven't read any of his works before.


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