The Emperor and the Endless Palace
Grade : A

The Emperor and the Endless Palace is a stunning achievement. If that’s not enough to get you to read this (I warn you - tragic, without a single happily ever after involved) romantic epic, then take this into account: it’s almost certainly going to be on my best of year for 2024.

In 4 BCE, jaded, social-climbing courtier Dong Xian is called upon by a murderous princess to seduce the new young emperor Liu Xin, but it turns out they have something secret, magical – and deadly – in common.

In 1740, solitary innkeeper Shican sets out to help the mysterious Jiulang find a medicine which will end a terrible curse, only to find himself intrigued by more than the mission.

In contemporary Los Angeles, college student River meets handsome stranger Joey. River can’t understand why he feels so drawn to Joey – until Joey reveals that they share a magical secret. For not only have they been reincarnated over many lifetimes, Joey is the only one who remembers that fact, knows they are soulmates, remembers their fox spirits - and he seeks to break that curse, lifetime after lifetime.

This is heartbreaking and filled with the brio of life and sex and death, and there’s never really been anything like it. It takes a while for the book’s three narrative mysteries to interconnect and unravel, but when they do, it is masterful.

Despite the lack of HEA/HFN, this is a beautifully romantic book – it’s not at all soppy, and it’s going to make you stop and stare at least once as you read it. The main characters are flawed people, interesting people. And the magical systems are excellently wrought.

I can’t tell you much more about the story because I’d risk revealing its secrets, and that’s the last thing I want to do. Just know this: The Emperor and the Endless Palace is enthralling and romantic and gory and shattering. It’s definitely a hit.

Note: this story contains harm to animals and on-page animal death.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : A
Book Type: Fantasy

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 28, 2024

Publication Date: 03/2024

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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