Secrets of Jin-Shei

( 23 )

Overview

The epic story of a sisterhood where blood relations are nothing compared to the unbreakable bond of the secret sisters — the bond of Jin-Shei.

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The Secrets of Jin-shei

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Overview

The epic story of a sisterhood where blood relations are nothing compared to the unbreakable bond of the secret sisters — the bond of Jin-Shei.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Joanne Harris
“[B]eguiling...unique...a rich cast of characters...extraordinarily accomplished.”
Louise Marley
“Alexander has created a world of depth and detail in The Secrets of Jin-Shei. A fine, rich novel.”
—Financial Times (London)
“[B]eguiling...unique...a rich cast of characters...extraordinarily accomplished.”
—Victoria Strauss
“Vivid and involving...an exotic journey into the imagination, and a graceful exploration of the heart.”
—Whatcom Independent
... a ‘must read’....”
--Financial Times (London)
“[B]eguiling...unique...a rich cast of characters...extraordinarily accomplished.”
--Victoria Strauss
“Vivid and involving...an exotic journey into the imagination, and a graceful exploration of the heart.”
--Whatcom Independent
... a ‘must read’....”
Victoria Strauss
"Vivid and involving...an exotic journey into the imagination, and a graceful exploration of the heart."
Whatcom Independent
... a ‘must read’...."
Booklist
“Fast-paced, imaginative and thoroughly engrossing.”
Orlando Sentinel
“Alexander expertly weaves the lives of characters into a plot full of intrigue and magic....”
Financial Times (London)
"[B]eguiling...unique...a rich cast of characters...extraordinarily accomplished."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060750589
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 817,390
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Alma Alexander is the author of several previous novels, including Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage and Worldweavers: Spellspam. She was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in the United Kingdom and Africa, and now lives in the state of Washington.

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Reading Group Guide

Introduction

Enter an ancient world of courtly elegance and intrigue, where sages are also sorcerers, and the daughter of a lowly seamstress can become a companion to an empress. In this magical land there is a secret language -- a language that women have passed down from mother to daughter for countless generations -- a language that signals a bond like no other ... the bond of jin-shei.

Set in a mythical Chinese kingdom, The Secrets of Jin-shei is a timeless story of what sustains friendship -- and what tears it apart. Accepting all the joys and responsibilities of jin-shei, eight girls pledge lifelong loyalty to each other: the poet, Tai, whose promise to a dying girl changes the history of an empire; the warrior, Xaforn, an orphan who will protect her chosen family no matter what the cost; Khailin, the scholar, whose thirst for knowledge leads her into a world of dark secrets and alchemy; sage Nhia, the only person with the power to save Khailin; Tammary, the gypsy girl, whose secret lineage could ruin a royal house; Qiaan, daughter of a captain in the Imperial Guard, with family secrets of her own; the healer, Yuet, confidante to the empress; and the empress herself, Liudan, whose search for family and ultimate quest for immortality holds the power to destroy them all.

Discussion Questions

  1. Which Jin-shei sister do you identify with most? Why?

  2. Tai makes a promise to the Little Empress as she is dying, a promise which has far-reaching impact on the rest of Tai's life. Have you ever made such a promises that you have kept?

  3. 3. When Liudan asks Khaelin to do "the unthinkable" in the name of jin-shei, Khealin agrees. Do you agree with Khaelin's decision? Yuet makes a differenc choice, who do you feel made the correct choice? Why? Would you have followed Khaelin's path or Yuet's?
  4. What is the greatest sacrifice you have ever made to help a friend? Did you compromised your own values?

  5. Jin-ashu is the secret language of the jin-shei sisters. What are some other sorts of "secret languages" of women?

  6. Jin-ashu is based on a real secret language -- nushu -- which was used in some ways to subvert the patriarchal power structure in China. What other ways do reclaim power in partiarchical societies?

  7. Liudan can be viewed as emotionally unstable, yet the sisters continue to support her and allow her to influence them all -- even above and beyond the bonds of jin-shei. Why?

  8. The jin-shei sisters go to great lengths -- even the risk of death -- to protect one another. What sorts of things have your friends done for you? In what ways have you supported your friends? Is this a uniquely feminine trait? Are women "predisposed" to form these intense bonds and friendships or is that just a stereotype?

  9. Alma Alexander's characters defy stereotypes -- for example, Xaforn is the most powerful warrior, a "killing machine" by her own definition, while Liudan creates her own rules and in fact, rewrites the rulebook for the empire. How are the rest of the sister unique? In what ways have your own friends defied stereotypes?

  10. Do you agree that the bonds of friendship can be stronger than blood ties? What are some examples from your own life?

About the author

Alma Alexander is the author of three acclaimed novels that have been published exclusively in Australia and New Zealand. She was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in Africa, and now lives in the state of Washington. The Secrets of Jin-shei will also be published in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2012

    Excellent story for anyone who likes historical style fiction!

    I wasn't at all sure what to think when I read the overview of this book and the various ratings. I absolutely love books written by female Asian authors as theirs is a voice that has only recently been heard through the written word for the world to enjoy. So, with the author not being my usual favorite type of author I was even more hesitant.
    This is really a great story! The author does a fantastic job of creating a world with a distinctly Chinese feel while adding fantasy and drama. Additionally, she adds a little fantasy to the story by throwing in peoples and cultures that we would not likely find intimately intertwined in ancient China. The character development is wonderful. You really feel as you are right there with each woman throughout their lives and encounters. The only disappointment I found with reading this throuh my Nook was a great number of misspelled words, missing words or oddly formatted pages. It would seem that the Nook version was not edited well prior to release. That does detract from the enjoyment. I would still highly recommend this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2006

    Beautiful, and enchanting

    This book was a bargain worth choosing. I absolutely loved this book. It was magical, heart-warming, and uniquely crafted. The characters were wonderfully developed, and easy to relate to. I wish there really was a sisterhood as strong as this. I want to live in this book. This book is definitely worth reading.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2005

    Terrible!

    I don't know how this book got five stars, it's simply mind numblingly BORING. I'm one that finishs books fast and this one I've been reading for two months and still can't bring myself to finish.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2006

    Fatanstic

    I was lucky enough to get to read this book for the publisher before its release and loved it. This book has soared to my top 10 list and I recommend it constantly to customers. Its story pulls you along and moves through you until you are each of the characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2006

    Bellissimo!

    A beautiful story of friendship amoung women. When I was only have way through it I already knew it would become my favorite book. Intresting story, unique characters. Fantastico!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2005

    Sisterhood like none other

    Tai is a skilled girl, maybe a prodigy with the needle, but she has a special sister, a sister of the heart, the little Empress. after a fatal accident and the little empress dies, tai finds links in a sister hood that transcends blood ties. Her jin-shei sisters find themselves in an adventure that they must complete, or die trying.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    Secrets of Jin-shei

    I'm only 17 years old, and this is probably the best book i've ever read in my life. its so beautiful a real journey in discovering yourself and what you really have...i just finished reading it and i can't stop crying. please read this book if you love adventure, magic, or just a good tale among a sisterhood. 5 STARS

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2013

    Absolutely LOVED it! Great story!

    Absolutely LOVED it! Great story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Recommend

    I am still reading this book and find it an interesting read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Vivi

    One of the best books i have ever read. My husband was ready to divorce me because i couldnt put it down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    Sisterhood... the good and the bad

    Surprisingly good with lots of character development.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2009

    So Glad to Have Stumbled Upon This Book

    Wow...I did not expect, when I picked it up at the library, for this book to be so good. Even though it's about 500 pages long, it took me a short time to read it because of my eagerness to reach the end. Not only did I cry quite a lot while reading this book (especially at the end) but I also learned quite a lot (espicially concerning the whole marriage thing where the bride and groom combine their first names...kinda cool). Either way, 5 stars.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    Mystical Ride For the Modern Day Dreamer

    I absolutely loved this book! It had all the elements of childlike and adult adventures. You get to grow along with the characters and connect to them emotionally. You feel their loss, and their happiness. It is a profound, and beautiful story.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    Secrets of Jin-shei

    Just a beautiful book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    wonderful!

    I absolutely loved this book! It's a great book for people who like fantasy and magic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    A real pageturner!

    I couldn't put this book down! Murder,love,alliance,betrayal and magic! The sisterhood of the women and their devotion to one another-real,genuine concern and wanting only the best for their 'sister'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2004

    Pageturner

    I couldn't put this book down! Sisterhood,alliance,deception and magic! Coming of age and true friendship.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    Awsome!

    i absolutely loved this book! It pulls you in with romance, magic, sisterhood and coming of age. I loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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