So, this is a rare case where I cannot for the life of me remember how this book got on my radar. I’ve owned a copy for a while. It wasn’t until I came across of the author’s– Jeannie Lin–Twitter account, promoting another book of theirs, that I remembered I should check out Butterfly Swords.
For me, Butterfly Swords was a book that was just…meh: okay in that I didn’t love it, but not so bad that I’m not planning to read more by the author in the future.
Publisher: Harlequin | Release Date: Oct. 2010 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Romance | Format: Mass Market | Source: Bought
During China’s infamous Tang Dynasty, a time awash with luxury yet littered with deadly intrigues and fallen royalty, betrayed Princess Ai Li flees before her wedding.
Miles from home, with only her delicate butterfly swords for defense, she enlists the reluctant protection of a blue-eyed warrior.
Battle-scarred, embittered Ryam has always held his own life at cheap value. Ai Li’s innocent trust in him and honorable, stubborn nature make him desperate to protect her which means not seducing the first woman he has ever truly wanted.
On the Page
- Alcohol Consumption
- Arranged and forced marriage
- Hostage situation
- Kidnapping (faked)
- Physical injuries and wounds
- Captivity and confinement
- War themes and military violence
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Non-Western setting: Don’t get me wrong, I love my Regency English romance as much as the next person. But getting a romance set anywhere other than England? Positively refreshing.
- Focus on family: I loved how not only did it include Ai Li’s family, but how we got to see multiple aspects of them and her opinions of them. Especially because it wasn’t just black and white “I hate them” or “I love them.” Peeling back the layers of her emotions was great.
- Ai Li’s breaking of stereotypes: I want more female love interests with swords.
- Lack of chemistry and connection between couple: This is a really big component for me, so the fact that I never really felt it was a major reason I struggled to truly get into this book.
- Repetition: It’s a pretty short book (less than 300 pages), so I know we can’t cram a ton into it. But I felt like Ai Li and Ramy both just repeated the same fears over and over and over again. I wanted some variety. Plus, I thought the journey back to Ai Li’s home was way too long and the last third way too rushed. The ending itself, while not bad in nature, I felt needed more room to breathe.
Overall, I thought Butterfly Swords was just okay. I wasn’t as attached to our couple as I wanted to be and it wasn’t as steamy as I prefer. However, I did enjoy the political aspects of it. I especially enjoyed how Ai Li’s ties with her family was a major thread and how Ramy responded to these ties (i.e., not in a negative way).
If you’re a fan of historical romance, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this book! Or, if you’ve read any of Jeannie Lin’s other works, did you enjoy them? Her books sound so good, so I’m hopeful for a better response on whatever book I try next.