BookBrowse Reviews The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Eye of Jade

A Mei Wang Mystery

by Diane Wei Liang

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A thrilling mystery and a sensual and fascinating journey through modern China

The value of connections and relationships is a frequent topic in the American marketplaces of business, career and creativity. However, the need for a reliable and diverse network on the path to success is a global one, and Diane Wei Liang's first novel, The Eye of Jade introduces readers to the complex Chinese version of influence called "Guanxi," with the story of an independent female private detective named Mei Wang. This mystery, the first in a series featuring detective Wang, also explores modern Beijing – its subcultures and architectural characteristics – and the blend of capitalism, communism and tradition of mid-1990s China.

First released in April 2007 in the United Kingdom, The Eye of Jade is not the suspenseful, plot-heavy mystery that some might expect. Wang's investigation is almost secondary to her personal and familial life until the two threads unite toward the end of the book. Some may feel that the plot suffers a bit because Liang is introducing detective Wang's back story along with those of her supporting characters in preparation for further books in the series. It seems that setting the scene is equally important to Liang, in this first novel, as the meat of the mystery is.

In The Eye of Jade, Wang's case concerns some Han dynasty antiques purported to have survived the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. A family friend brings her the project, asking Wang to help him look for a jade seal that once belonged to a legendary Chinese general and ruler. The investigation begins with a friendly meeting with an antiques expert in an ice skating rink and ends with the uncovering of some of Wang's own family's secrets. In between her sleuthing, readers are introduced to Wang's personal life. Sibling rivalry, a longtime mother-daughter grudge and the reappearance of a former love all meld into this story of a female "information consultant" in modern day China.

Fans of page-turning suspense may find this novel a bit too quiet, but readers interested in exploring other cultures and those who appreciate the subtleties of writing more often associated with literary fiction than mysteries, should find this first Mei Wang mystery very enjoyable. The Eye of Jade is an engaging glimpse of modern China blended with some of the compelling elements of the classic "who-done-it" adventure. It is also a work of fiction that successfully introduces one to the intriguing layers of modern Chinese society – a society of ancient tradition and global influence.

Next In The Series
The second in the series, Paper Butterfly, was released in the UK in May 2008 and will be released in the USA in May 2009.

Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie

This review was originally published in February 2008, and has been updated for the April 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Wonderful Feels Like This
    Wonderful Feels Like This
    by Sara Lovestam
    High school is hard; or perhaps, more accurately, growing up and finding oneself is hard. This is ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Light Yokohama
    Blue Light Yokohama
    by Nicolas Obregon
    Blue Light Yokohama, Nicolás Obregón's crime fiction debut, takes place in an exotic ...
  • Book Jacket: Inferno
    Inferno
    by Steven Hatch
    The word "Ebola" sets off an almost visceral reaction in many of us; we think about the men, women ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book of Summer
    by Michelle Gable

    The bestselling author of The Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable now transports readers to Nantucket.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -