Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Gunpowder Alchemy

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Gunpowder Alchemy (2014) Jeannie Lin

Set in China in 1850

It has taken me a really long time to read this; it’s been my lunch-time reading book, but I don’t always read at lunch, and after lunch I walk and listen to either an audiobook or podcasts. So–maybe I’ve been reading this for a year? Which is kind of crazy for me.

Jin Soling’s father–like all the other advisors–was executed by the Emperor after the Chinese Army was defeated in battle. After his death, Jin, her mother, brother, and an old servant fled to the country when Jin tried to keep the family together while her mother escaped through opium.

The bits about opium felt relatively true to the way the West dealt with China historically.

Our empire had been forced to grant access to the foreigners after our defeat. From their section of the port, they were able to sell and trade whatever goods they pleased and there was little the empire could do to stop them.

“Their commerce usually involves opium,” Aguda said darkly.

From what I’ve read (and it’s minimal compared to what I could learn) the British empire really did treat China that badly, using opium to subjugate the Chinese empire.

Really awful stuff, but then empires haven’t really ever been known for being benevolent.

The story involves Jin trying to sell one of her father’s inventions, and instead getting swept up in both the war against the west and internal revolution. She comes across men who worked for her father–including one who to whom she had been betrothed as a child.

This was an interesting story, but obviously not one that sucked me in, since I read it page-by-page until I finally finished it.

Publisher: Jeannie Lin
Rating: 6/10

Categories: Alternate History, Asian, Fantasy, Steampunk


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