I really enjoyed this book and its enthralling mix of history, culture, and the supernatural. Set in 1890's Malaya (modern day Malaysia) the vividly described places and characters drew me in to the story and I felt as if I was journeying with the main character, Li Lan, as she tries to navigate life not just in the real world, but also in the spirit world. The resulting adventure was both thrilling and ingenious.
I was woke by a sudden jolt. Dazed, I raised my head, wondering whether we had arrived at our destination... Ahead lay the mountains I remembered, where the passageway to the world of the living was. The dark jagged maw was visible, yet it was still so far away! I couldn't understand why we had halted until I noticed the shimmering air in front. It thickened and curdled, just as it had in the Lim mansion. 'Er Lang!' I cried. The air quivered, but nothing happened. I pulled out the scale and blew against its fluted edge. This time the vapors condensed into the familiar, bamboo-hatted figure. It stood for an instant, then crumpled forwards. With a cry, I scrambled down from Chendana's back. Up close, his clothing was scorched and the hem of his robe had been ripped away.