Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott. This is an adult high fantasy.
To celebrate Chinese New Year the tour is running Jan. 27th-31st with mostly reviews and only a few interviews and spotlight posts. Be sure to check out the tour page with additional info and list of tour stops.
The Warrior and the Flower by Camille Picott
Yi, a retired soldier, has lost everything he loves—his wife, his daughter, and his home. He seeks refuge from his heartache by plunging into a secret mission for the World Emperor. The assignment takes him to the doorstep of a brothel, where he witnesses the madam beating a young girl. Drawn by the child’s striking resemblance to his lost daughter, Yi rushes to her defense and negotiates for her purchase—after all, how hard can it be to care for one little girl? But between the child’s inquisitive nature and the dangerous secret she carries, he gets more than he bargained for.
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Audio Book- This is the review of the audio part of the novel. The narator was Al Kessel. I didn't care for him at first, but as the story progressed, I changed my mind. I really felt that his voice fit the character of Yi really well. He did all of the voices really well, except Tulip's. I didn't like the way he did Tulip's voice no matter how far I got into the story. Did it affect my enjoyment of the story? Not at all. This isn't a novel with a lot of dialog. There is enough, but it is more action and so it didn't matter in the end that Tulip's voice bothered me.
Yi- I loved Yi. He was a seasoned warrior, hardened by tragedy and loss. But a truly honorable man. And he is incredibly committed to Tulip. From the moment they are together, he is protective of her and determined to make sure she is always protected. And he is loyal to the Emperor and his mission to him.
Tulip- Tuliip is adorably naive and this gets her into a lot of trouble that Yi and others have to get her out of. But she is also a very special little girl. Raised in a brothel with her mother, she is rescued by Yi and given a much better life than the one she was headed towards. She takes her mother's words to heart, but she is a little too naive to understand what they really mean. She is funny, loyal, proud and resourceful and a delight to get to know.
The World- It is a fantasy world where the Cloud Shamans of the Sky Kingdom fight with Lightning. The Earth Warriors fight with arrows tipped with liquid steel, it's the only thing that can bring down a cloud or a shaman. And they ride kylins, horses with scales that eat lightning, thrive on it and become charged with the energy of the lightning. Otherwise, the world seems normal, except for worshiping Gods of luck and happiness and then seeing symbols of them in the air, or having glowing pendants. Some people have powers that are paranormal. But the world is easy to understand and not as important to understand as the people.
The Story- The overall story arc is slow to build, but the smaller stories are fun, showing how the relationship between Tulip and Yi builds, how Tulip affects everyone else, and just how the war between the World Emperor and his soldiers and the Sky Kingdom is affecting the Kingdom. It's written well, the pacing is good with bits of humor thrown in to make it more interesting.
My Thoughts- I really enjoyed listening to this novel. Yi was in way over his head with a little girl like Tulip. She was a precocious 8 yr old and into everything. She asked so many questions and didn't realize how inappropriate her questions were. She made Yi squirm and it was so much fun to listen to this reserved, wizened warrior try to side step her questions. Very funny moments in the novel. But also, a little disheartening to know what Tulip lived with and among and just how close she came to being part of it.
The mystery surrounding Tulip is very interesting and I still have questions, as does Yi and Kiro and the Emperor. I'm sure I'll learn more in the next book. Can I just say that as I was listening to the very end, I was so relieved to hear, Book One at the end of the title. I sighed in relief. The novel ended in a good place, no cliffies, but I wanted more.
I highly recommend this to readers that enjoy light fantasy, Asian culture, father/ daughter relationships.
This is not a Young Adult novel. It is however readable and enjoyable for older YA crowds. There is the brothel that Tulip grew up in and sex and talk about what goes on there, so use your best judgement. There is nothing graphic other than some sounds.
About the Author:
Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings. To visit Camille, go to www.camillepicott.com.
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This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.