Reviews

Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho

regina_t's review against another edition

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adventurous dark reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.25

write_read_rose's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

4.0

bookbabbles's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced

4.25

jesikasbookshelf's review against another edition

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5.0

"The difficulty was that Ah Ma was the kind of person who accumulated nemeses."

I love books that blend modern life and it's genuine problems with those of ancestors, of the legacies they left us with and the ways they navigated the world.

This book does that brilliantly as it seamlessly brings together Jess and her American upbringing with the mind and agenda of her Ah Ma - who it turns out is a deceased...spirit medium and gangster.

Yes. EXACTLY.

I loved this one. The gods and ghost of Penang come to life a little too much for Jess and we watch her find her authentic adult self as she learns to also navigate being haunted by her grandmother, possessed by a god and stalked by hitmen on the payroll of the 5th richness man in Malaysia. It shouldn't all come together, which is what makes the fact that it does so brilliant.

The dialogue between Jess and her Ah Ma cracked me up the whole way through too. Jess learns a lot about herself by getting to know her grandmother. The book really shows the singularly frustrating relationship you can have with someone you love and respect as much as you want to throttle.

Brilliantly written, Zen Cho has rocketed straight into auto-buy author territory for me.

strawbs's review against another edition

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4.0

The only thing about this book is that if you're not Malaysian or don't understand Malay, it's a little bit difficult to read.

I enjoyed it immensely, more than I thought I would, honestly. A great reminder of where I'm from and what I grew up with.

funkylitchick's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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mizu's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

maryleong's review against another edition

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3.0

I was so excited to read a book about a diasporic Malaysian family, and their move back to Malaysia. I've never read a book where the cadence and syntax of how Malaysian speakers use English is so perfectly articulated, and I could hear my own relatives' voices in every sentence. The casual racism, the homophobia that still permeates many Southeast Asian communities also came across so authentically (and infuriatingly). That being said, the plot itself really fell short and I found myself getting bored with the storyline and the characters. The fact that the premise – a millennial medium struggling with ghosts and deities – was so promising made it especially disappointing.

marrikompi's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

rheah's review against another edition

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mysterious

4.5