In The Walking Boy, Lydia Kwa brings the reader a fascinating and unique novel that is set in early 8th century China. The book begins with Baoshi, a young boy who after being cast aside by his own father, is taken in by a man who becomes his Master. Baoshi is asked by his Master to embark upon a personal pilgrimage and what follows is a wonderfully descriptive journey that teases all of the readers senses.
Much of the book is of course based around Baoshi which is expected since he is The Walking Boy after all, but a great deal also explores the court of the female Emperor Wu Zhao. While Wu Zhao plays a very small part in this book, much is still learned of the character through the reactions of all who surround her in this novel and personally I thought that was wonderful.
Those who have explored my previous reviews will have seen the one I wrote about "Empress by Shan Sa". While Empress was based primarily on Wu herself, this novel focusses intimately on others including Shangguan Wan'er (my favourite after Baoshi), a sculptor trying to rediscover the love for his craft, and of course fleetingly, the few characters who come together to try and remove Wu from the throne.
This book has so many things to love about it. I adored the attention to detail, the brilliantly woven tale, the colourful characters and the skill the author has for making each of them so real that you can't help but share their emotions and don't even get me started on the exquisite sprinklings of poetry throughout. This book has it all, love, lust, greed, pity, fear, sadness, happiness, mystery, it even has ghosts!
I loved this book and I think what I am most excited about is that Lydia Kwa will be working on a prequel and a sequel for this novel and I just can't wait. I know that if you read this book, you will feel the same.
Author's website: http://www.lydiakwa.com/