***I didn't realize until after I'd finished this book that it was a sequel. It stands alone well enough, but I might have understood a few more things if I'd read the other one first. However... this is not the typical book I review here. I read Song of the Silk Road a few years back and it was an interesting, if not very different book. So I decided to give this one a try. Note to my readers, do not read this if you don't appreciate references to sex in every chapter.
That being said, I think this was a pretty enlightening read about the underbelly of Shanghai in the 1930's. Camilla the Songbird has fled Shanghai for Hong Kong after a deadly shootout between rival gangs, which she was at the heart of, but her heart is still in Shanghai with her lover(s) and possibly not-stillborn baby.
When she returns she cannot live as she did before because everyone is looking for her. She must make a new way while finding the missing pieces of her old life.
Interwoven throughout the story are experiences of the Chinese way of culture, religion, and superstition. Because the author is Chinese these experiences feel more real and true to the story than some other "Chinese" stories I've read. It's a completely different way of thinking about life and fate/karma than we have here in our Western culture.
All that to say, for me the story felt very hopeless. If things don't turn out just exactly the way Camilla hopes then there won't be much worth living for. It is true to her character of being an orphan raised by a gang, but I don't usually choose to read books like this either.
Four stars (out of five) for writing and character development. Not five because personally I just didn't really like the book.
Warning: trailer not for children.
I received this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.