Review: The Red Palace

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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Monthly Rewind: April 2021

Monthly Rewind: April 2021

B O O K S

I managed to read 7 books this month! I’m slowly getting out of my reading slump and finally pushing through my TBR and ARC list! This month was so-so but looking at my upcoming TBR has me so excited!

I was not a fan of Jaigirdar’s debut, The Henna Wars, so I wasn’t expecting too much when I went into Hani and Ishu. But I was thoroughly surprised. Adiba Jaigirdar has improved a lot in her writing and story-telling! It was so sweet and fun! I even drew some fanart of Hani and Ishu!

June Hur’s newest book was released in April! I’ve been following her on twitter for quite some time now so I decided to finally get down and read her debut book! Korean period dramas have always been fascinating to me because the history is really interesting, and Bones was really thrilling! It reminded me of a K-drama I watched a few years back because of Cha Eunwoo. (Rookie Historian Goo Haeryung) The drama was rooted more in fantasy, but the plot elements were similar which I really enjoyed.

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: April 2021”

Review: The Silence of Bones

Review: The Silence of Bones

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sixteen-year-old Seol finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Assigned to the police bureau, she assists the young investigators with the murder of a noblewoman. As their investigation takes a darker turn, Seol’s loyalty begins to be tester when the inspector she admired becomes the prime suspect, and Seol might be the only person able to find the truth. But when her role as a damo requires silence and obedience, Seol’s curiosity might just be dangerous.

The Silence of Bones has been on my radar for months, and I’m annoyed at myself for taking so long to read this! This book was a fast-paced thriller that packed an emotional punch. I hadn’t realised how attached I had become to Seol until I turned the very last page. Set in 1800 Joseon (now Korea), Seol is a damo, an indentured servant, working for the police force as a female attendant who partakes in places where men were otherwise not allowed. While keeping her head down, she quietly searched for the whereabouts of her older brother, who had left for the capital years prior. 

One day she called to handle the body of a noblewoman, Lady O, who was found dead with her nose sliced off. Questions begin to arise about Lady O’s status, later revealed to have been a Christian and soon she is linked to a police chase regarding the whereabouts of a priest. Seol’s position as a damo gives her a unique position, allowing her into spaces where her male counterparts would have been denied. Inspector Han might be the only person who sees something in her, promising her freedom if she takes the proper steps. 

I was surprised this book was in the first person as it felt like a story that could’ve been told through the third. But Hur writes with ease and tells a story with excitement and mystery. Seol is so young, and it comes across on page very well. She was never taught to read and often makes misjudgments due to her upbringing, which naturally creates misunderstandings. People don’t take her seriously because she is a damo, and she is adamant to prove them wrong. Her development is consistent, and the pay off in the story is both worthwhile and heartbreaking. Inspector Han proved to be quite the enigma, his behaviour both confuse and exasperate Seol and us readers alike. 

The story is fascinating. I had watched a k-drama back in 2019, called Rookie Historian Goo Haeryung. While the drama was more on the fantasy side, I really enjoyed the historical aspect, which is similar in this book as they both revolved around the start of Christianity in Korea. This isn’t taught in everyday History lessons, so I was intrigued by the characters that Seol meets that mirror real-life figures. Regent leaders are clamping down on the rise of Catholics in the country, families being ripped apart and executed, and how it has influenced Korea’s history and its current-day self. This book definitely sent me on a research haze from the moment I finished the story. In summary, The Silence of Bones illuminates Joseon Korea in this historical mystery tale. Seol’s journey takes on class, honour and loyalty to yourself and your family. I had an inkling of what the ending would be like, but Hur writes with such details and emotion that the journey towards it was well worth the time.


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