Friday, 21 January 2022

Review: The Red Palace by June Hur

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father's approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon's closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher's innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

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📌 Publication date: 25/01/2022
📌 Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review

The Red Palace is a YA murder mystery set in Korea, 1758. Often with mysteries I don't care too much about the characters, it's more how the mystery aspect plays out that peeks my interest. However, I have to admit that the mystery isn't what I found most compelling about this book. As someone who enjoys history, it was learning about Korea in the set time period that fascinated me.

The Red Palace is only 336 pages long which gives it a fast paced feeling, and has you turning the pages eager to find out what happens next. The main character, Hyeon, is the illegitimate daughter of a high ranking official. Her hard work and drive has allowed her to become a palace nurse despite her status and class. I felt for her and her determination to prove her worth to her father. 

I'm usually a fan of angst-y romance, but the subtle and sweet romance between Hyeon and the police inspector, Eojin, was wonderful. There were some great tropes, and while it took a back seat to the main plot there was still undercurrents throughout. 

I will be keeping an eye out for future books by June Hur, for sure. 

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