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Embers of Heaven [Kindle Edition]

Alma Alexander
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.95
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

The International Bestselling Sequel to The Secrets of Jin-shei

Four hundred years after The Secrets of Jin-shei, the Syai Empire is on the brink of civil war. A new voice preaching equality promises hope for the downtrodden, but the ensuing people’s revolution brings terror, reeducation camps, and death to anyone embracing the old ways.

An outsider and a child of two worlds, Amais searches for the magical bond of jin-shei, the women’s oath, in her ancestral home of Syai, unaware that her quest will bring her to the very person who may destroy her and her family. And yet, she must face him, or all hope for Syai will be lost…

“Beautifully written, with rich characterisation and captivating originality, it quickly draws you in and is a real page-turner.” -- Glasgow Evening Times

“The Last Samurai has nothing on this complex adventure.” Belfast Telegraph

"A beautiful and magical tale of one girl's quest to restore the secret language of jin-shei and its customs to Syai four hundred years on from its peak. Amais finds her crusade swept up in a people's revolution which threatens her bid to restore the once powerful sisterhood. Richly layered with a strong sense of place and wonderfully written characters. Perfect if you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha." -- Lovereading.co.UK


Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for ‘The Embers of Heaven’:‘A magical tale with strong mystical elements.’www.HagHarlotsHeroines.com‘An intense, beautifully told tale…a rare treat.’www.myshelf.comPraise for Alma Alexander and her books:‘“The Secrets of Jin-Shei” is a completely original – and a completely magical piece of literature.' Joanne Harris'It's a beguiling notion, a secret sisterhood with its own language, enhanced by a setting in medieval China, replete with tradition, conflict and drama…the unique structure brings together a rich cast. The complex plot touches on astrology and alchemy, Taoism and concubines, and an attempt to hold power within a society fraught with intrigue…it is extraordinarily accomplished.' Financial Times'The story is founded on the special friendships that exist among women. The strength of those friendships is the magic that winds through this tale…the device of a written language known only to women is a lovely metaphor…this is a book that will speak to many.' Robin Hobb'In this magical novel, Alexander vividly recreates a world of Cloud Empresses, alchemists and beggar kings, but more importantly, she also gives us a group of utterly convincing and sympathetic characters, who linger in the memory long after the epic story has been told…exciting, moving and unforgettable…strongly recommended.' Image'Beautifully written, with rich characterisation and captivating originality, it quickly draws you in and is a real page-turner.' Glasgow Evening Times'The Last Samurai has nothing on this complex adventure.' Belfast Telegraph

Product Details

  • File Size: 579 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC.; 2 edition (March 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MJI4VE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely May 26, 2010
Format:Paperback
The Embers of Heaven is a historical fantasy, set in an alternate China (called Syai) in the twentieth century and dealing with the triumph of Communism and the Cultural Revolution. The book follows Amais, whose family left Syai hundreds of years ago for what appears to be Greece, but who returns to her homeland with her mother and sister just in time for these dramatic events. The exile community (like some similar communities in real life) has kept alive old imperial traditions that no longer exist in modern Syai, and Amais, who (like the author) romanticizes the historical, is determined to learn about the old ways and help bring them back. She is especially interested in the ancient sisterhood of jin-shei, which has all but died out. This book is a four-hundred-years-later sequel to The Secrets of Jin-Shei, and due to the time gap it can be read as a standalone. However, Alexander makes an effort to tie the books together, emphasizing Amais's descent from a previous protagonist, so this book may make more sense to those who read the other first.

I found Embers to be a better book than Jin-Shei, for several reasons. First, the plot is more structured (and it's a great story, keeping me glued to the pages for a couple of days). Second, there is a manageable number of main characters. We follow Amais for most of the book, while about 50 pages are dedicated to her love interest, Iloh (who basically is Chairman Mao--you can see why this needed to be set in an alternate world). Third, I appreciated the way this book dealt with a particular period in history. It came to life, feeling as real as anything I've seen depicted in historical fiction. Fantasy elements here are minor, limited to a few moments of clairvoyance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, touching, poetic... June 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
My personal acquaintances know that I am a literary omnivore and can find books to enjoy in several different genres. That being said, I am a person who does not like to waste her time, therefore I am extremely picky about my choices. My preferred reading material is historical fiction, so it was a pretty safe bet that I would like this book. But I think I should preface this review by also stating that I am exceptionally fond of historical epics, such as those written by James Michener and James Clavell, and I have always had a fascination with Asian cultures and the idea of fulfilling a destiny. I ADORED Shogun, Tai-pan, Memoires of a Geisha, and I watch every subtitled Chinese film I can get my hands on. Furthermore, I am a huge fan of Ayn Rand, one of my all-time favorite books being We The Living in which the heroine struggles to come to terms with the concept of communism in the midst of a revolution. EMBERS OF HEAVEN put me in the mind of all of those things (I mean that as the highest of compliments!) and exceeded any expectation I could have held.

EMBERS OF HEAVEN is a work of historical fantasy set in Syai (an alternate China) in the mid-twentieth century during a transitional age between the old and new systems of rule. Amais is the protagonist who has been groomed her entire life by her grandmother, an exiled relic of the Imperial era, for the task of reviving jin-shei. Amais accepts her destiny and returns to her ancestral homeland determined to find the revered sisterhood and everything it entails. There she experiences disillusionment, regret, purpose, fulfillment, and love in all of its forms.

Iloh and Xuan are the two men vying for Amias's affections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic April 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Alma Alexander's The Embers of Heaven is incredible. While it is technically fantasy, it reads like a historical novel. The Embers of Heaven is set in fictional Syai - hundreds of years after her fictional Jin-Shei sisters lived in Imperial Syai in "The Secrets of Jin-Shei." Syai is a country based on China, and, in "The Embers of Heaven," is facing the Cultural Revolution.

Alexander blends historical narrative with epic storytelling. The first novel of hers I read was "The Secrets of Jin-Shei." In it, I was blown away by the depth and power of the story. Embers of Heaven had the same effect. Alma Alexander is wonderful at transporting readers across time and place, to feel and see and fear and love as her characters do. It is rare to find an author who can do that. She is particularly good at invoking emotions in her readers. Few books have made me bawl. This is one. Or made me want to put down the book rather than read what will follow.

I love the way this book dealt with the Chinese communist revolution - she brings history to life, even when writing fantasy, better than many historical writers. Her attention to Iloh (the fictional Chairman Mao) is particularly well-done. As with Jin-Shei, Alma Alexander gives special focus to deep friendships between women. Whether these friendships are realistic (I would love for them to be so), I don't know - but I love female-centric novels.

Alma Alexander is one of my favorite authors. The only difficulty I found in her writing was that sometimes she'd write very long about parts of the story I wasn't interested in following - dreams, of memories, or suchlike. I'd skim and skip and then reread them later. Probably my own impatience in reading, though, not her writing style.
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More About the Author

"I have a wonderful occupation; I dream for a living." Alma Alexander
----- ------ ----- ----- -----

Alma Alexander, the 'Duchess of Fantasy,' was born on the banks of an ancient river in a country which no longer exists. When she was ten, her family left Europe and moved to Africa. Since then she has lived in several countries on four continents and now lives in America with a husband she met on the Internet

She has written three million words in more than 20 books and one of her novels, "The Secrets of Jin-shei," has been published around the world in 14 languages. The heroine of her popular Young Adult Worldweavers series is as American as Harry Potter is British. The first book in another young adult series about a shape-shifting Were family will be published shortly.

When asked what she would be if she weren't a writer, she quotes Ursula LeGuin's answer to that question: "Dead."

Alma is a punaholic and a chronic worrier, one of those people who proves that real pessimists are truly born and not made. She is owned by a cat. She was born on the fifth day of July (the day after America), six years before man walked on the moon, which makes her a cancer according to the Western horoscope and a water rabbit according to the Chinese one.

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