[Book Review] Zen Cho’s The Terracotta Bride

The Terracotta Bride - Zen Cho

Title: The Terracotta Bride
Zen Cho
Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Fantasy, Mythology (Buddhist), Romance, Lesbian Fiction. Steampunk,
Release Date: March 10, 2016

I really enjoy Zen Cho’s writing style.

Her novel Sorcerer to the Crown was one of the books I spent most of 2015 waiting for and believe me, it was worth the wait. She’s just a fantastic writer who can make me ugly cry with just a few lines and her characters almost seem to leap off the page.

The Terracotta Bride was a novelette originally published in Torquere Press’s 2011’s steampunk anthology Steam-Powered 2, but Zen Cho has now self-published an ebook reprint for it with a brand new (and beautiful) cover from artist Likhain.

Siew Tsin is the second wife to Jungshen, the richest man in hell. One day her husband brings home a third wife, the beautiful and enigmatic terracotta bride that he names Yonghua. Yonghua is beautiful, elegant, and clever.

By the time I was finished reading The Terracotta Bride, I was halfway in love with her myself because she was just the ideal. It doesn’t hurt that the book, which largely looks at things from Siew Tsin’s point of view, shows you Yonghua through the eyes of someone that grows to love her. You seriously can’t help but feel the way that Siew Tsin does (or at least, you can’t help but understand her feelings).

There are so many moments that made me have to put down my kindle so I could sigh longingly or sadly and what should’ve taken me a half hour or so to read took me well over an hour. I won’t give any more serious spoilers (because y’all really need to read this story), but the ending actually made me cry. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve ever ugly cried while happy before this book, but it sure was an experience.

The Terracotta Bride ends on a note that I think is very hopeful, but even if it hadn’t, I’d still recommend it to basically everyone. It was such a treasure to read and I spent much of the day flipping through the pages on my kindle and savoring Zen Cho’s literary mastery. I love a good story about first love and this story, with its steampunk-y feel and deep female characters, left me feeling so darn happy that it existed.


What a good story!