Wow! Absolutely loved my first ever BOTM pick. It is a mystery set in 1930’s Malaysia. I picked this book purely based on the location. I never read a book set in Malaysia before although I am a big fan of the Malaysian cuisine. This is not just plain old mystery or historical fiction. It is a combination of mystery, historical fiction and a deeper dive into the ancient Chinese superstitions. This last part made me question my decision to read this book several times because I am not superstitious but ironically, after I finished the book, this was the part that I appreciated very much. The dive into ancient Chinese superstitions, which were likely very prevalent in the 1930’s Malaysia, actually helped recreate the atmosphere from back in the day on a whole different level. Like I said, I am not a fan of superstitions or rigid beliefs but I enjoy the process of analyzing and understanding how they came about in the first place. I also love to establish similar patterns across various cultures around the world as far as beliefs go, and conclude to myself yet again that we are really not that different from each other as human beings, no matter how much distance and time separates us. .
I thought this was a good read overall. It’s an interesting and well-written story. If you enjoy learning about different cultures then this may be for you. I will say this, it did get creepy at times with all the superstitions about super natural creatures and such. It’s hard for me to explain this without giving away too much of the story but let’s just say that there were times when I asked myself ‘what did I get myself into?’. But, everything came together well in the end. There is still some mysticism in there that my rational mind is unable to resolve but that’s ok. It’s in there for a purpose and I think that purpose was accomplished. What I really liked about this book is, it managed to transport me into a different world and that is a good enough reason for me to rate this book highly.
P.S: My four year old son decided to get in this picture in the last minute. May be some day he would enjoy reading books like these that transport him into different worlds?