While I liked the freshness of this story, I found that it spent too much time on the "suspense" aspect of the story (I'm not a huge fan of the sub-genre). I liked the slow-burn between Kaifeng and Mingyu, but I found the investigation into the murder tedious towards the end, though pretty well done. Ms. Lin's writing style is very eloquent and engaging. I also liked that it was a Chinese historical, because the setting, characters and lifestyle were all very fresh to me. At about 60% I was done with the story. Had the story wrapped up then, I would have given it four stars, but I had lost interest by the very end, so 3.5 stars.