From Jennifer J. Chow, author of the award-winning The 228 Legacy, comes a young adult novel about immigrant struggles and family conflict. It's 1880 in Fresno, California when 17-year-old Topaz Woo dies after giving birth. She can get an extension in a non-physical body if she uses The Ten Commandments to influence her newborn.
Over the course of ten years, she finds herself stymied in parenting by intergenerational drama and spiritual battle. Will she adjust to an otherworldly existence and give her daughter a solid foundation? Or will she become mired in family disputes and forfeit her soul to evil?
This story is unique and a bit sad. It is about a mother's love and her journey to help her daughter. The story starts off with the mother dying during childbirth. It is sad because it could have so easily been prevented. Her father-in-law is a piece of work.
Narration was fairly good and brought the story to life.
The journey is an unusual one because the mother will have to incorporate one of the 10 commandments into her daughter's life yearly. She will have ten years to get through all of them. It is frustrating that she cannot be much of a part of her daughter's life. Occasionally, she is able to interact with her but very minimally.
It was a good story with some unique ideas about the afterlife. I enjoyed listening to it.
"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was a good story.The whole '10 commandmant' thing with a twist was a nice touch.Kieren Metts was a good narrator.“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”
NOTE: This book was provided for free at my request and I voluntarily wrote this review.
The premise of the story - a young woman from an immigrant family dying in childbirth only to be given more time as an influential spirit in her daughter's upbringing - gave me high hopes, as it's unique and had a lot of potential. I'm also a sucker for tragic protagonists, and Topaz certainly fit the bill, with her low social status, in-law issues, and the whole dying in chapter 1 thing. Sadly I ended up frustrated with her throughout the story; in an effort to avoid spoilers, I won't go into detail, but she continuously makes thoughtless decisions and does not learn from the repercussions, in a way that felt less 'realistic, flawed character' and more 'oh come on, really?'.
The world itself fell flat as well, and could've benefited from hefty doses of vivid, historically-accurate descriptions. I did enjoy the more supernatural imagery (angels, auras, golden threads, etc.), and the intermixing religions and cultural values, but those features couldn't make up for the rest of the story.
The narration was fine, but the voice didn't seem like a great fit for the main character, and I noticed an audio editing error (a line repeated, as if it was a take that wasn't properly edited out of the final recording)...not the end of the world, but jarring.
All in all, it was okay, but felt more like a solid draft than a fully developed novel.
Any additional comments?
This is a fairly sad tale. The main character dies in childbirth in the first chapter and makes a deal to observe her newborn for 10 years. Contrasting her religion of worshipping their ancestors and keeping the ten commandments was difficult for Topaz. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I wish there had been some explanations given to Topaz to make her choices a little easier. I voluntarily reviewed this audio book after receiving an advanced copy that I requested.
The premise of this book sounded interesting - a young mother dies during childbirth. Then she “haunts” her child, looking over her as she grows up to ensure that she’s safe. As a father I really glommed onto this concept. If I died I would want to stick around and make sure my family was safe, and do whatever I could to ensure they lived their remaining days happy and free from harm.
And since it was a free copy in return for a review, how could I refuse?
But I couldn’t finish it. In the story, each year the mother is required to “teach” one of the Ten Commandments to her child. That means every chapter you as the listener are forced to endure a lesson straight from the Old Testament, like a church sermon or a Sunday School lesson. This felt too patronizing.
I am a baptized and am confirmed Catholic. But I left the church a long time ago and based on my own experiences, have no inclination to return. Maybe it was just the wrong book at the wrong time.
From what I can research, this is the narrator's first audio book. For a first time, this was pretty good - much better than my first narration of a book. I really have no complaints over her performance. Nor did I hear anything glaring technically. I would have no problem listening to her read a different book.
I’m sure that there are other listeners out there who will love this book. But God and I have some reconciliation to do, just now is not the time. And I feel terrible about this because I feel I’m not giving the author her due. It’s just not for me.
This audio book was gifted to me by the author in exchange for an unbiased review.
This story is unusual and interesting. It's got all the elements needed to be a historical romance but it's framed as an after death experience.
The parts that deal with cultural differences and the struggle to fit into a new culture are really interesting.
The after death parts are well crafted, a bit strange, and esoteric. Topaz makes some very questionable decisions and while these make for an interesting story the hast they are made in seems to contradict her reasons for staying in her daughters life after her death.
The characters voices are done well with good accents and the delivery is smooth and natural.
This book was supplied free by the author/narrator/publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.
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Fun and interesting. Themes about the power of your words and the ramifications that can come by making seemingly harmless decisions. are woven into an entertaining storyline.
Also how important it is not to hold a grudge and speak kind words. Hateful and harmful words can open you up to demonic influences that you are powerless to stand against.
Not perfect in its theology, but thought provoking and entertaining.
I found myself trying to tell the main character not to say dumb things. You know that you are caught up in a story when you. Begin talking to it.
I would recommend this audiobook. The narrator is good and clear and the production is good.
I received a free code for an honest review.
This is an entertaining book for any age, if a bit sad. It held my attention from the beginning and I finished in one sitting. The narrator did a good job.
I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
I planned to listen to this for 20 minutes when I was making dinner and was so invested in this story I couldn't put it down. A really unique and captivating story with great narration - I highly recommend this audio!
Entertaining story for young adults. I especially enjoyed the narrator's interpretation and calming voice. Easy to listen to.
This was an unusual read with a highly moral message. I enjoyed the narration of the audio version by Kieren Metts but I wasn't so taken with the story itself.
Set in 1880 in Fresno, California, the narrative is based around an immigrant Chinese family. Topaz Woo is just seventeen when she dies in childbirth, leaving the newborn Jas without a mother. Topaz's spirit does not want to abandon her young daughter, so she is given the option of watching her child growing up in return for teaching her the ten commandments. Topaz is barely able to make her presence known but a guardian angel oversees the education of the commandments in the manner that Topaz decrees.
Implication of the initial commandments seems fairly innocuous but the later ones appear to have a more far-reaching effect. For example the commandment, 'you will not covet other people's belongings'. Topaz decides this will be enforced by only allowing Jas to use her own possessions, in response to which Jas starts labeling everything she deems belongs to her, including her new school friend.
Actually I found the ten commandments a bit irritating, especially when I knew that if we were only on number five, we still had five more to go.
One of my main problems with the book was that I was expecting historical fiction, but although it was ostensibly set in 1880, it could equally well have been a current story, there was absolutely nothing that fixed it in any time period for me.
Not a book I was tempted to abandon, but equally, not something that particularly grabbed me.