Review: The Red Palace

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Through years of study, seventeen-year-old Hyeon has finally earned her place as a palace nurse, having worked through every obstacle an illegitimate daughter could face. But everything she’s worked for is threatened when four women are murdered in a single night, and the only suspect is Hyeon’s personal mentor. And Hyeon cannot do anything without jeopardising her position, and any mistake will have her father’s sight set squarely on her. Determined to prove her teacher’s innocence, Hyeon risks it all and in her hunt for the truth comes Eojin, a police inspector with his own hidden agenda. As their search begins to point the blame to the Crown Prince, the two find themselves uncovering the dark secrets behind all the bloodshed. 

In her newest release, June Hur returns to the Joseon era, now following the life of palace maid Hyeon. The Red Palace was gripping and mysterious as Hur paints a memorable image of Joseon Korean in another historical mystery. Hur has a knack for highlighting the lives of women in the Joseon era. I felt really immersed in the lives of these women who were considered lower class while playing a pivotal role in running the government. In a similar vein to The Silence of Bones, Hyeon must think on her feet to discover the truth. As an illegitimate daughter, her position is both a hindrance and an opportunity to find information that no one else can. While I found Silence of Bones to be more emotional, Red Palace was far better plotted and well-crafted. 

The plot was fascinating, and I loved how the mystery grew as Hyeon and Eojin involve themselves in dangerous business. Not everyone can be trusted, and even Eojin brings an air of danger around him, but Hyeon can’t help but be enticed by his mystery. The romance between them was unexpected but so sweet. 

If you’ve read any of Hur’s previous works, then you’ll already know that this one cannot be missed. Hur has improved in her craft, and it shows. The politics and intrigue keep you gripped for hours—a well-developed mystery within a vivid setting of 1700s Joseon Korea. 


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