Author: Celeste Lim
Age group: 8 - 12
Page count: 352 pages
Summary from Amazon:
In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing's name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing's life isn't easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good. She is sold as a bride to the Koh family, where she will be the wife and nursemaid to their three-year-old son, Ju'nan. It's not fair, and Jing feels this bitterly, especially when she is treated poorly by the Koh's, and sold yet again into a worse situation that leads Jing to believe her only option is to run away, and find home again. With the help of a spider who weaves Jing a means to escape, and a nightingale who helps her find her way, Jing embarks on a quest back to Huanan--and to herself.
I really liked the magic parts in the story. I liked seeing how the author portrayed different deities based on what they were in charge of. I think that The Crystal Ribbon has enough magical moments to satisfy a reader, but not too much to make it seem like an alternate universe.
Jing was a relatable character. She never fell into the pit of despair and decided that she was ready to give up. There were some times when she didn't seem to feel anything because she was so lost, but she always tries again. I think a great word for Jing is resilient. It was fun watching her grow as a naive girl to a steadfast young woman. Her feelings of insecurity change to feelings of assurance and understanding.
I also connected a lot with the characters. I could understand Jing's emotions and her difficulty choosing what she really wanted after meeting new friends. This made her more relatable because it showed that even a brave girl had weaknesses, that actually made her stronger. The characters appealed to me because they were weak in the face of adversary, but that didn't stop them from hoping.
Even though Jing grows as a character, she didn't experience a breakthrough moment where she realizes truths about herself. I feel that even though she became a stronger person, her knowledge is gained by her tough experiences and that they weigh down on her. I think that The Crystal Ribbon would've benefited from a "breakthrough" because I think that it would've taught me a lot. There were lots of itty-bitty parts in the story would've made the story more meaningful. I think that I would've cared for the main character more and that I would have learned some more lessons.
The plot of this book felt very simple. There were a lot of conflicts, but I don't think that they were resolved very well. As Jing tries to get back home to her family after being sold as a bride, she leaves lots of characters behind. This bothered me, especially since I grew to care about some of the characters.
I think that this would be a great book for younger readers. Lots of fun information about history, a resilient character and a lot of emotions will engage and appeal to readers. A fun historical fiction book filled with magic!
Celeste also considers herself a soft-core gamer; in her free time, she enjoys computer games like Final Fantasy and League of Legends. Although very much an amateur, she also loves oil and pastel painting, drawing fan art, OC commissions and doing illustrations of characters and scenes from her own stories. Celeste is an avid Disney fan and adores musical productions like My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music and secretly wishes to perform in a Broadway musical version of Mulan one day.
Taken from her website. Click the button below if you'd like to go to it!
As ever, MMGM is hosted by Shannon Messenger. If you'd like to read more reviews, click the link below!
Have a fantastic week!