My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The setting here is rich with potential - roughly speaking, it's a contemporary Far East where magic works and the mundane world is in regular contact with both Heaven and Hell. Williams makes great use of Chinese history, Chinese mythology, and her own imagination to create a world that is just full of cool stuff.
For all that, though, it didn't really grip me. Part of that is probably my fault for starting the series at book 5 - it's not difficult to figure out the basics of who the characters are or what's going on, but I'd probably care about them all a lot more if I'd been following along from book one. Part of it was also the plot structure - the book starts with the characters in different places, dealing with seemingly different problems. It eventually becomes apparent that they are all the same problem, and then it all comes together rather hectically with a large bang at the end.
File this one under the interesting but flawed category. However, I most likely will track down some of the earlier Inspector Chen novels, because this book certainly demonstrates that the setting and characters have potential.
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