Any spoilers, for the current chapters must be behind spoilers or detail curtains. When we get further in you don’t need to hide details that were revealed in previous chapters.
Always mention where you are in the book when discussing, ideally by chapter so people reading different versions have a clear point of reference.
Feel free to read ahead if it’s exciting! But please refrain from spoiling ahead of the appropriate week
If you have a question about grammar, vocab, cultural things, etc - ask! That can be part of the discussion too and I’m sure some folks would be happy to help.
Even if you don’t read the chapter(s) in time, you are still encouraged to post in the thread for that reading once you have finished it. I advise not reading ahead in the threads as you may see spoilers.
I don’t think you can read 化鳥 as かいちょう. I’ve only seen it as けちょう. At the same time, my dictionary says that 怪鳥 (actual かいちょう) can be an alternative writing for 化鳥
The vocabulary is not common outside this genre of stories, that’s true. I don’t really notice anymore after reading stuff like 薬屋のひとりごと or ふつつかな悪女でございますが (I recommend both to anyone who likes the style of the story so far). I do remember having a rough time when I first read 薬屋のひとりごと 1, though. I think it took the whole book to get better, but at least there’s the book club this time!
Except for 大家 (title) and 星星 (said 化鳥) all the names have a Japanese reading so far (rather than a Chinese inspired one) [edit: flipping through this week’s content, there’s also […]娘娘 whose existence I already forgot :p], which makes them easier to remember than in 薬屋のひとりごと, but I agree that they are uncommon (to say the least).
It might be nice to keep them in a list at the top, though. I don’t think I’ll remember シンシン.
Totally agree on the vocab vs the grammar! Strangely enough, another book I was reading for a while set in Heian Japan (but by a modern author) felt way more difficult on account of the writing style, even though it was lighter on archaic words.
What I expect to happen next is that she will go look for clues about the dead girl, using the thing we are cliffhangered about (stating the obvious, I know). That will lead us the reader to see a bit more of the 後宮 and some shenanigans will probably get her a sidekick character or something.
That is, a completely typical development for this type of story, but I like it anyway.
Wow that was full on. I usually stick to books that are no higher than about level 31.
If I didn’t have the jpdb deck, I never would have been able to read this. I’ve learnt so much new vocab this week.
As a side note, I’ve just realised that this book is the highest natively level I’ve read. That’ll tick that box for me with the 2024 bingo.
Regarding the actual story
it’s interesting so far. I generally don’t read mysteries (is that what this is?) so I didn’t expect to like it. 烏妃 is an intriguing character to me. I know next to nothing about historical East Asia so a lot of this is new to me. I look forward to seeing where the story is going.
I’m starting this late, because I had to hold my cdjapan order until some other book clubs had made their picks so they could all go in the same order. But the excerpt I read online was intriguing enough that I definitely wanted to read it. Anyway, the books arrived yesterday, and so I read the week one section last night – hoping to be able to catch up to the rest of you…
I’ve been doing the jpdb deck for this so the vocab hasn’t been too bad to deal with, and the book is also generous with furigana.
Are we supposed to interpret the setting as “ancient Chinese style fantasy setting” or “ancient Japanese style fantasy setting”? I haven’t read enough of these to be sure. (The Twelve Kingdoms series is definitely mock-China, but this book seems to have less of the made up kanji compounds than that does. And the obi on my copy describes another book by the same author as both 「後宮の烏」の原点 and 傑作和風ファンタジー.)
That one. While most names mostly follow the Japanese readings, you still have some that are typically Chinese (i.e., 娘娘 ニャンニャン) and the government is organized in a way similar (but not accurate as far as I know) as multiple ancient Chinese dynasties (kind of a mix).
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