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Bride of the Rat God: 01/03/13

cover art

Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly was originally released in paperback in 1994. It's now been rereleased in ebook form. Intrigued by the setting — 1923 Hollywood, and the mystery — an ancient Chinese curse, I decided to give the book a try.

Nora, a British WWI widow, comes to Hollywood where her sister is a silent movie sensation. After her arrival, members of the crew are brutally murdered. If Shang Ko, a self described Chinese wizard, is to be believed, the movie star sister is in danger — cursed by the very necklace she's been wearing in her current movie.

It sounds so good. It has a promising setting. The reviews, for the most part, have been ecstatic — praising the world building and the author's genre savvy. I expected to love the book with my film history background and my current interest in Chinese culture. Sadly, though, I failed, twice, to finish the book.

Bride of the Rat God failed to gel for me. After the initial discovery of a body, the book falls into a routine of describing Chrysanda Flamande's day to day schedule at the studio as well as her Pekinese dogs. Every so often Shang Ko will pop up, say something vaguely ominous.

The dogs end up being the true heros of the book, but not being a fan of the breed and usually finding pets in mysteries to be tedious at best, they didn't add much to the reading experience for me. But the actual mystery doesn't get back on track until well past the half way point of the book. By then, I was bored and ready to move on.

Read via NetGalley

Two stars

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