After plunging into a lake, Lan wakes up in the body of a girl thousands of years in the future. Yet, she never forgot her promise to him.
Across space-time, “he” has the same appearance as “him”, but “he” is no longer human, and “he”… is no longer “him”.
They say love in this lifetime is a repaying of debt from the previous one.
When the rain falls and the meadows burgeon with blossoms blue as the sky, who still remembers the language of the flower, and who cannot let go?
Thanks to Asian bookish creators, I received a copy (with some special additional epilogues!) from the author in exchange for a honest review.
My overall impression is that I liked it. It was nothing mind-blowing, and there were a couple of things that I think I personally would have changed or made different. But overall it was a pretty good story, and I think I would commend the author on the world building, as I felt that was its greatest strength.
The romance itself was also acceptable. Perhaps the male lead was a tad too controlling and possessive for my liking, but nothing too egregious. As the story went on, I definitely cheered more and more for their relationship. That being said though, the timing and progression of their relationship felt weird. One moment they were at odds, and the next they couldn’t resist each other. It just felt a little bit sudden for my tastes.
The beginning was also a relatively slow start for me. Yes, building fantasy worlds take time, but the introduction of characters in this novel happens in a weird(?) way. The main character, Elizabeth (Lan), will meet a character, and then half-way as they talk, instead of using pronouns, the character will suddenly be replaced by a name (even though they never introduced themselves). This happens several times, so I imagine it is intentional, but it is a little bit strange, and I always wonder if suddenly a new character popped in or if I missed their introduction. Or maybe this is normal in some novels? It was strange for me.
The synopsis is also a little bit misleading. It tends to suggest that the main focus is the love that spans across time, but really The Language of the Flowers really revolves around Lan in her new body trying to make sense of the new fantasy world (of shapeshifters) that she wakes up in. The world is basically separated into humans and Sylvans (shapeshifters), and the secret Sylvan society is ruled by 4 main clans (divided further into subset Families). These 4 main clans are based off the four guardians of China, which is where the Chinese lore comes into play.
This part of the world building, the rules of the society and the way they came to be and co-exist with humans was all very well done, and I really felt that this was the highlight of the novel, and the main reason I enjoyed it. Finding about the politics of this world, and how the hierarchy induces favouritism and discrimination (of course) were one of the main driving forces for me to read on. The way the Chinese lore comes through as well was also good, which I appreciated.
One more thing that I wanted to comment on is the writing style. Generally it was easy to read, but there were a couple of things that stuck out to me more than it normally does in a novel. This is two-fold: first one is the use of some vocabulary. I think sometimes overly complicated words are used in places where I don’t expect it, or parts of sentences that are over-described (e.g. ‘orbs’ instead of ‘eyes’ was common). The second thing is the use of exclamation marks. I found that there were a few too many, in places where I didn’t really expect it, so that all the characters seem a little bit too excited all the time. This also gave me the impression that the writing style was more casual or colloquial in its portrayal. I’m not sure if either of these things would be an issue for anyone, but I just wanted to mention it since it did stick out to me in the beginning.
If you like the idea of animal shapeshifters and a society of them and the way this fantasy world is built on the backdrop of a romance story, this may be the story for you! I enjoyed the Asian influence as well. There will be more books in this series, and I may check it out. I’d be interested to see more of this world building, but wouldn’t expect too much else from it. The additional epilogues were also a nice touch to wrap up some of the characters’ storylines.
The Language of the Flowers follows our protagonist, Lan, who wakes up in a new body thousands of years in the future. Her goal? To fulfill a promise of love made in the past. But first she must navigate the new world she wakes up in: a world filled with politics and intrigue, a world full of humans and shapeshifting Sylvans. What is Lan’s role in this new world, and how will she navigate it? Find out in this fantastical world, as she moves through her new environment in pursuit of love and her unfulfilled promise.