The Library of Legends is a gorgeous, poetic journey threaded with mist and magic about a group from a Chinese university who take to the road to escape the Japanese invasion of 1937 – only to discover that danger stalks them from within. Janie Chang pens pure enchantment!”—Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel—the third in a loosely-connected trilogy—in which a young woman travels across China with a convoy of student refugees, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan.
“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are…”
China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.
Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.
On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever.
Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.
Lian is a student at Minghua University, basically because of the Library of Legends. This is an ancient library at this university which she wants to explore. But, when the Japanese start bombing, every student and faculty must evacuate. They are sworn to protect this library at all cost.
There are many unique and creative aspects to this tale. I quite enjoyed Lian. She is an introvert but she is strong and tough. She also has a big heart. Then there is the Chinese history sprinkled throughout this story. It is amazing. There is also a different type of intensity created throughout this novel. Between the Japanese and the mythical creatures…you never know what to expect.
I requested this book because of the cover and the title. The cover is gorgeous and it has library in the title. It must be about reading…correct? Well, Yes and No. It is about an ancient library and about the myths surrounding Chinese folklore. But it is also fantasy. This is not my genre…did I read the synopsis…NO! I am so terrible about that. When this story started to get “out there” I knew it was not for me. However, there is true genius in this writing. So if you are into historical fantasy. This one is for you.
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.