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The Ghost Bride

The Ghost Bride

Escrito por Yangsze Choo

Narrado por Yangsze Choo


The Ghost Bride

Escrito por Yangsze Choo

Narrado por Yangsze Choo

avaliações:
4/5 (78 avaliações)
Comprimento:
12 horas
Editora:
Lançado em:
Aug 6, 2013
ISBN:
9780062263346
Formato:
Audiolivro

Descrição

A startlingly original voice makes her literary debut with this wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists

One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. . . .

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, traditional ghost marriages are used to placate restless spirits. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits, and monstrous bureaucracy-including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets-and the truth about her own family-before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Editora:
Lançado em:
Aug 6, 2013
ISBN:
9780062263346
Formato:
Audiolivro


Sobre o autor

Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. She lives in California with her husband and their two children, and loves to eat and read (often at the same time).

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4.1
78 avaliações / 58 Análises
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Avaliações de leitores

  • (3/5)
    I don't think I was quite expecting what I found between the pages of The Ghost Bride. Perhaps it's because I glazed over the synopsis, rather than reading it carefully, but I wasn't ready for the more fantasy driven part of this book. I was expecting a story about a girl who was fated to be sold off as a ghost bride. A story rich with history. I was given both of these things, but also so much I didn't see coming. Li Lan's story is based around her Chinese culture, but with a paranormal twist stemming from mythology.

    I'm not entirely sure when this book is meant to take place, but Li Lan reads as a more modern woman than I was anticipating. She's opinionated and intelligent. Her views on women and society are at odds with the others around her. I was charmed by her fresh, no-nonsense take on the world around her. What really threw me for a loop though is how young she really seems. I've seen this book labeled as adult fiction, but Li Lan's personality really feels like it has more of a young adult feel. Especially once the paranormal aspect comes into play.

    However the biggest issue I had with The Ghost Bride was the writing style. Lots of telling, instead of showing. For example, describing an article of clothing. Rather than have the reader infer what it is through the writing, Li Lan will just directly explain what it is for, how it's worn and how she knows. If the protagonist I'm following is of the culture the book is based in, I somewhat assume they know about traditional clothing. I felt like I was being lead of a guided tour, instead of swept up in a mysterious story. That's not to say that the story itself isn't ultimately interesting. The folklore, mystery, and unexpected twists definitely created a need to keep reading. If you can see past the writing style, the story underneath is actually very well done.

    My very jumbled feelings are why I ultimately decided on a three star rating for this book. There were aspects of The Ghost Bride that I really enjoyed, and others that took away from the journey. If you are a reader who often reads historical fiction, this might be something you enjoy. Especially since it has the added bonus of a bit of mythology to keep things fresh.
  • (3/5)
    In The Ghost Bride, author Yangsze Choo explores the “spirit marriage” custom among Chinese immigrants in Malaya. The purpose of these marriages were to placate a restless spirit. The Chinese immigrants of Malaya were mostly part of the business upper class and although they worked toward western material success, they maintained strong ties to their ancestral clans and traditions.The book takes place in 1893 and is set in Malacca. Li Lan is a young girl whose father has fallen into debt and who spends most of his time under the spell of opium. Her prospects for a good marriage are slim but then they receive a proposition from the wealthy Lim family. Unfortunately this wealthy family want Li Lan to marry their dead son as a ghost bride. This would allow her a comfortable life as a widow and help her family financially but she is horrified by the prospect. To make matters worse, she starts to receive visitations from the dead groom while at the same time she meets and finds herself attracted to his handsome cousin. Confused and frightened, she overdoses on a sleeping medication and finds herself trapped between the real world and the spirit world. Li Lan now embarks on a series of travels and adventures as she attempts to return to her former self and to find a way towards living a happy life.While the author gives the reader a lot of insight into Chinese beliefs, I struggled with this book finding it very slow moving with endless explanations and descriptions breaking up the flow of the story. The main character, Li Lan, was rather stiff and one-dimensional and overall the story lacked depth and emotion. The Ghost Bride is part historical fiction and part fantasy but, for me, rather a meh read.
  • (4/5)
    This was a really interesting book. It takes the reader deep into the Chinese beliefs of an afterlife. There is also a good look at how the wealthier Chinese-Malaysians lived in the late 1800's. There is much intrigue and political maneuvering between the many wives and concubines, and their many children. As Li Lan moves from the real world to the spirit world, she finds that the spirit world is also filled with politics, and ghosts hungry for revenge. This book gave me a good feel for the spiritual beliefs of this culture.
  • (5/5)
    Li Lan's family has fallen on hard times, so much so that her father is considering allowing Li Lan to become a "ghost bride" -- ceremonially married to the deceased son of a richer neighbor. Before she even realizes what is happening, Li Lan is pulled deeper and deeper into the supernatural world, desperately trying to find a way to stay in the realm of the living and maybe even be lucky enough to marry the living man she so admires.This was an excellent read that has a unique premise. The beginning was perhaps a tad bit slow as the characters and concepts were introduced, but it quickly took off from there; the last 100 pages or so were entirely compelling chapters and the book was difficult to put down at this point. Some of the reveals were somewhat anticipated, but others were complete shocks. The characters were well done and engaging, and Choo found a good middle ground of describing various bits of the historical culture for the modern-day audience without being overly didactic. There is also plenty to discuss here, which would make this book a good pick for book clubs.
  • (3/5)
    A strange tale set in Malaysia. A young woman without many prospects in approached by a wealthy family who want her to be a ghost bride to their recently deceased son. She would marry him - in name only of course - and go to live with their family at their estate as his bride. The young woman is hesitant to accept this strange proposal - and then she is visited by the prospective bridegroom in her dreams. She then embarks on a strange journey, one that takes her to the Chinese/Malaysian afterlife - a world of spirits and ghosts where she discovers many secrets but must also escape to return to her real life and body. It was strange, but great for discussion and an interesting look into another culture.
  • (2/5)
    I enjoyed The Night Tiger by the same author, but finally had to abandon The Ghost Bride. The scenes of the nether world weighed too heavily on the narrative.
  • (4/5)
    Li Lan is the seventeen year old daughter of a declining Chinese merchant family in colonial Malaysia. Her mother’s dead, the family business close to nonexistent, and her father’s addicted to opium. Then, Li Lan receives a marriage offer from the wealthy Lim family – for their dead son. Their marriage would placate his restless spirit. Li Lan refuses the marriage offer, but she soon finds herself haunted and drawn into an otherworldly realm.The Ghost Bride is a historical fantasy novel with an extremely vivid, atmospheric setting. While The Ghost Bride isn’t marketed as YA, I think it could make an easy crossover. The protagonist is a teenager, the writing is graceful but accessible, and to cap it all up there’s a love triangle. Luckily, it wasn’t a super angsty love triangle, but it was there.I liked Li Lan as a protagonist. From the very beginning of The Ghost Bride, it’s clear that Li Lan has a strong sense of curiosity about the world. Yet due to her gender and station in life, she’s constrained within the walls of her house. Thus when the supernatural events of the story begin to occur, a part of her sees it as an adventure. It’s a chance for her to explore and she learns about a part of the world she never knew existed.There’s many different elements making up The Ghost Bride. There’s the journey into the world of the dead, a ongoing romance subplot, and a murder mystery as well. I never had any trouble with the pacing and found myself drawn irresistibly through the story. Thankfully, there was also enough of the supernatural element to keep the fantasy fan in me happy.I would recommend The Ghost Bride for anyone looking for a combination of fantasy and historical fiction. Or to anyone else who’s simply in want of an enjoyable book.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (3/5)
    A cute story with magnificent imagery. Naive but still an immensely enjoyable read (sorry, listen). The only thing that I find really distracting in books of this type is how authors try to describe mundane details of everyday life of the time while maintaining first person narrative. A person telling her story would not describe ingredients of common dishes or common practices/traditions. She would assume the listeners know this. In my personal opinion, footnotes would do a much better job of filling the readers' knowledge gaps without interrupting the flow of narration.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. It is set mostly, but not totally, in the afterlife or spirit world. I enjoyed the characters, both dead and alive and I was sorry to come to the end.
  • (4/5)
    A beautiful story set in nineteenth century Malaya about a young girl betrothed to the dead son of a corrupt family, sort of a blend of YA fantasy novel and gothic romance. Captivating, but slightly overlong.
  • (3/5)
    This was an interesting read. The concept was cool, but I wasn't sure how the story would go. It definitely did not go the way I thought it would. It was really interesting reading about Chinese culture that wasn't necessarily in China. Their notions of afterlife and how their religions overlap and make things complicated was really interesting and intricate. The atmosphere of this book was kind of chilling and ethereal. I really liked Li Lan as a character, you can see her development throughout, and I quite enjoyed reading about her and her journey. This is just a jumble of thoughts and I am going to stop now.

    I quite enjoyed this novel, but at the same time it was a little slow and not my typical read. 3.5/5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    Really enjoyed the descriptions of the ghost world.
  • (4/5)
    plz have more life choices besides who to marry.
  • (5/5)
    I couldn't put this down! It has been a long time since I've seen the clock hit midnight while I argued with myself to stop reading. This beautifully imagined tale was intense with imagery, ghosts on Earth and their afterlife, and richly explores a wide range of very human experiences and emotions. Brilliant debut.
  • (4/5)
    Li Lan's father asks her if she would be willing to become the ghost bride of the recently deceased Lim Teck Kiong, the son of a wealthy family. Li Lan's emotions are mixed. The marriage would help her bankrupt family; however, she is hesitant to marry a ghost. After meeting the family, she learns that that Lim Teck Kiong might have been murdered. With the assistance of a local medium, she obtains some powder which places her physical body to sleep while her spirit to a parallel world of the Chinese afterlife and the Plains of the Dead. While in the afterlife, she learns the darkest secrets of the Lim family. Returning to the earthly realm, she discovers that her sleeping body has been occupied by the ghost of woman she met in the afterlife who died for love and doesn't want to return Li Lan's body. If Li Lan can't occupy her body soon, she will be remain in the afterlife forever.

    The story was initially difficult for me to immerse myself in; however, once Li Lan entered into the afterlife, I began to really enjoy it. I found the supernatural elements from a Chinese viewpoint especially entertaining and the story moved rapidly. An entertaining debut from a talented author.
  • (3/5)
    This book has everything I like. There is an interesting heroine. There is a trip to the world of the dead. There is true love. There is interesting culture. There are ghosts. There is murder most foul. There are monsters. There are dragons. There is a beautiful writing style.Yet, somehow, these wonderful components never managed to come together into a cohesive whole for me. This is a first novel for Yangsze Choo and I really want to love her work. As such, I will wait for the second book to judge.
  • (5/5)
    What a lovely story, I really enjoyed this. The world was complex and believable, grounded with details. The characters relatable and treated by the author with compassion. Really loved this book club pick.
  • (4/5)
    Read this while travelling in China and truly enjoyed it. This fantasy, heavily rooted historical Chinese beliefs of the afterlife, is set in the Chinese community in mid-19th century Malaysia. Filled with ghosts, demons, and "low level" heavenly officials, this is a fast paced story with appealing and well-developed characters. I loved the detail and insight into women's roles. A fun fast read.
  • (5/5)
    A fascinating story of the spirit or ghost world based on Chinese beliefs and culture. Set in Malacca, Malaya, the book also gives a view of life and cuture in that period. A good read / listen. The author reads well.
  • (4/5)
    I remember when The Ghost Bride came out last year and I was very interested in reading it but it never crossed my review list. Now that it's being released in paperback I finally had the opportunity to read it. The synopsis sounded so mysterious and intriguing and it turned out to be so much more than it promised. Li Lan is the daughter of a man who basically withdrew from life after his wife died from smallpox and he did not. His face shows the ravages of the disease and he spends his time reading poetry and smoking opium. Li Lan is cared for by her Amah and while she is 18 years old her maturity level seems to be of a girl very much younger since she never leaves the house and has little interaction with other people.Her father mentions a marriage proposal but it's to be a Ghost Bride - a marriage to man who has died. This being a concept so far removed from anything I understand it took a while for me to wrap my head around the Chinese customs and stories of the afterlife. Once I sorted them out I found it to be a fascinating world.I found myself lost in the story and the world created by Yangsze Choo. Li seemed very unprepared for life outside of her house since her father paid her and her future little mind. But she stumbled along and she grew stronger as she learned more about her family and the afterlife. She finds herself torn between a man in the physical world and a being in the afterlife and doesn't know either one well enough to answer their demands on her life.This was a book that kept my interest and taught me something about a different culture. It took me to several different worlds both real and fantastic. I don't usually like books not grounded in reality but this one was very well written and it held my interest from beginning to end.
  • (3/5)
    I would give this a solid 3.5 rating. It was quite good, but missed the mark on greatness. Solid plotting, interesting characters who mostly evolve, some decent prose, and a slight twist at the end, combine to make this a very enjoyable read for me.
    I have never been a huge fan of the Oriental culture in literature phenomena, although I did love Memoirs of a Geisha. This managed to pique my interest however, because of the location involved, as well as the time frame and the culture! Set in Malaya in British Colonial times, this novel illustrates the period that bridges the Old Orient, with its rigid systems and dark underbelly, to the new booming economic powerhouse of today's Modern Asia. Yangsze Choo has painted a detailed and vivid picture of life in Mallaca in 1893.
    I would recommend this novel to someone who liked Memoirs of a Geisha, and also to those who enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, as there is a prevalent story-line of the "supernatural", which really fills out the cultural viewpoint of the protagonist, Li Lan.
  • (5/5)
    it's very magical and i love er lang/li lan so much!
  • (2/5)





    Not so fond of the way that the fantasy elements are used, nor of the neat sewing up at the end. In my opinion, fantasy in literature should not be used to fix everyday problems, but rather as just another tool that exists. Having the main character whisked away from a life of tedium by a dragon was disappointing.
  • (4/5)
    This is a very unique book. Some people in the Chinese culture believe that when a young man passes away before his time they must find him a living bride to marry. This is the unenviable situation that the heroine of this book finds herself in. The principle plot revolves around her quest to stop the wedding. To do this she has a life threatening experience that sends her into the hazy spirit world between the living and the dead. I did get a little lost a couple times in the spirit world but Ms. Choo was always skillful enough to bring me back so I fully enjoyed the novels satisfying conclusion. A very nice first book.
  • (5/5)
    The Ghost Bride is a gentle and timeless folkloric journey into romance, another culture, another time, and another world. One part Victorian haunting, one part mythic katabasis (journey to the underworld), one part historical romance, The Ghost Bridge is a satisfying novel. Li Lan, daughter of a once prosperous but now poverty-stricken merchant in Malaya (Malaysia) in the 19th century, is asked to become the ghost bride of the recently dead heir of the Lim family, a wealthy house in Malacca. Li Lan balks at the prospect, never having liked Lim Tian Ching when he was alive, and wanting more for herself than perpetual childlessness and widowhood. Then the haunting begins. Unable to escape Lim Tian Ching in her dreams, and unable to avoid his family in waking, Li Lan turns to a medium to help her be rid of her ghostly visitor, while at the same time falling in love with the new heir of the Lim family, Tian Bai.That's part 1. There are four parts. As Li Lan's story progresses, she passes through different stages and roles: she lives a half-life, visits the underworld, searches for her long-dead mother, falls in with a variety of shady but fascinating characters, and performs tasks for a shadowy fellow, Er Lang, who vaguely calls himself a 'minor official' in the underworld. Li Lan's journey to resolve all of these aspects (and finally rid herself of Lim Tian Ching) drives the narrative, but her gentle yet pragmatic character, her resourcefulness, and her internal struggles with sense of self, love, and duty compel the reader. Though many of the characters are archetypes (as in most fairytales/folktales) representing various aspects of humanity, Yangsze Choo infuses them all with life (or afterlife). Her clearly shaped creation of the Plains of the Dead and her seamless interweaving of Chinese and native Malaysian folklore offer a fascinating and engrossing alternative to the traditional gothic novel. I was also occasionally reminded of traditional Greek and Roman folktales (where the katabasis features heavily, coupled with the hero's journey trope), particularly the myth of Cupid and Psyche, the second part of which follows Psyche's journey to save herself, reunite herself with her love, reconnect with a mother figure, and complete daunting tasks with the aid of several wily characters.I loved this book from start to finish, and I was so sorry to see it end. I also greatly appreciated that the author did not make the ending tediously obvious from the beginning. I genuinely felt that the heroine's actions and own personal growth dictated the course of the narrative, rather than fitting awkwardly into a predetermined teleology. Such a fantastic read.
  • (4/5)
    When I was a little girl I found a set of books that had folk lore tales in them. They had China, Japan and several other countries stories-I inhaled them all. I love, love, love that kind of thing.
    This book is like that. Go into it with an open mind. When I first heard of it I kept wondering how the heck do you marry a ghost? The author answered that very well.
    It surprises you in the thinking that it's going to be a love story. It really isn't. Twists and turns at every junction. But enjoy them I did. Now however, I am kinda freaked out thinking about the Plains of the Dead. I do not think I would want to spend any time there.
    The story did stall for me at one point and I thought it was going to get boring but it picked back up and I enjoyed the ride.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful paranormal fantasy made all the more real with exquisite writing and a historic background.
  • (5/5)
    I brought this book with me to the hospital, for an emergency room visit with my daughter (she's fine, thanks). I was there for four hours. Except for the sore tush, I never would have guessed that so much time had passed. I was sucked into this story completely. What drew me to the book was the combination of historical fiction and the exotic setting. The chance to learn about Chinese mythology was a bonus. But what kept me reading was the thrilling story of Li Lan, and her foray into the afterlife as an undead ghost. The twists and turns of her journey as she uncovers the schemes and mysteries of her world, were so compelling I couldn't stop reading. Bravo!
  • (4/5)
    A good read in a fascinating setting which managed to surprise me in the romance department (which was, besides, less important to the story than the mystery and its unravelling).
  • (4/5)
    Yangsze Choo's The Ghost Bride is certainly not the sort of book I normally read. Yes, it is essentially a historical fantasy, but it's labelled as simply fiction to appeal to a wider audience. This is a good thing, since it is the sort of book that is likely to be enjoyed by non-fantasy fans, but it's also a bad thing, since that means fantasy fans are less likely to be aware of it, and I think they'd enjoy it too. I know I did.The Ghost Bride is the story of Li Lan, a young, 19th century Malaysian woman. Her father tells her that a wealthy family has expressed interest in having her marry their recently deceased son. Naturally, she doesn't want to do it, especially after she encounters the ghost of said son, and he proves to be annoyingly self-centered. Soon Li Lan is traveling through the world of the spirits, investigating corruption in the court of Hell (and the alleged murder of her would-be groom).There is some good adventure. There's romance. There are demons and hungry ghosts. There's a good bit of Chinese folklore. It all makes for a very entertaining read.