Tuesday Tantalizer – Shades of the Orient by Stephanie Guerrero (Book Review)

Hi everyone! Welcome to another installment of Tuesday Tantalizers!  It’s been a little while since I’ve done one, but it’s not because I’ve forgotten.  I just haven’t had time.

A while back, I interviewed author Stephanie Guerrero and did a giveaway of her book, Shades of the Orient.

I’ve finally finished reading it.

It usually doesn’t take me this long to finish a book.  Part of it was because of life situations that were going on, part of it was the book itself.  So, let’s get on to the review part, and then I can start going into that!

Shades of the Orient is a Christian, historical fiction set during the time of the Boxer Rebellion in China.

(Going off on a tangent here – back in December, I requested a book from the library called God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. I just got it about a week and a half ago.  I’d known nothing about the Boxer Rebellion prior to reading Shades of the Orient, so I now had a backdrop for the history that was going to be drawn on and explained further in God is Red.  If you’re at all interested in what life is REALLY like in a communist country, whether you’re a Christian or not, you must read God is Red.  It’s almost like a modern-day Foxes Book of Martyrs, just with more happy endings.  There will be a review coming in May – after the A-Z Challenge.)

Things I liked about Shades of the Orient:

The plot – I thought it was well planned and there were LOTS of twists and turns.  It’s pretty much a spy story.  I was guessing the whole time at who might be the bad guy, and I figured it out maybe 2 chapters before it was revealed.

The characters – I found I could relate to each of them in some way, even when I didn’t like them and/or the decisions they were making.

Things I didn’t like:

The errors – Stephanie would really benefit from having a group of peers to critique her work.  For the most part, I could move past the errors, but it was impossible to read this book late at night when I was tired (which is usually the only time I have to read).  It would alternate in sections – there would be some parts of the story that were more polished (though even those could have been improved on), and there would be parts that were riddled with errors.  Since Stephanie stated in her interview that she wasn’t able to get as much editing done as she wanted before she published, I don’t understand why she didn’t push the publishing date back a little, since she self-published.  Unless WestBow Press works differently than other POD publishers?

There’s a lot of telling, rather than showing – it felt like I was reading a summary at points.  As much as I enjoyed this story even with the errors, I would’ve found it easier to finish reading sooner if I had been more drawn into the characters lives.

The character development – it felt too good to be true at times.  The characters also felt like cookie-cutter copies of each other at times, and their voices sounded too much like each other.

The resolution – I personally would have left more of a cliffhanger at the end.  There is still a set-up for the next book, but a certain character that we think to be dead is revealed to be alive, but I don’t feel the main characters joy over it because there is so little of the relationship between the two shown in the story.  I honestly can’t remember if they even interact at all.  I felt the story would have had more emotional impact if the person remained dead, especially since there was no plausible reason given for how they escaped from China.

So overall, I enjoyed this book, but if Christian and/or historical fiction is not your thing, you may not have the patience for it with the amount of errors that are in the book.