• The Library of Legends

  • A Novel
  • By: Janie Chang
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The Library of Legends is a gorgeous, poetic journey threaded with mist and magic about a group from a Chinese university who take to the road to escape the Japanese invasion of 1937 - only to discover that danger stalks them from within. Janie Chang pens pure enchantment!" (Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress)

From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel - the third in a loosely connected trilogy - in which a young woman travels across China with a convoy of student refugees, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan.

"Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are...."

China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, 19-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than 100 students, faculty, and staff must walk 1,000 miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.

Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.

On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, "The Willow Star and the Prince". Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences, too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever.

Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.

©2020 Janie Chang (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Library of Legends

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful and Umique!

This book was extremely well written, fascinating, and well narrated…truly a 5 star listen.

Against a backdrop of war, politics, hardship, poverty, illness and uncertainty, we are gifted with a story about the tenacity of love, optimism, family, and healing. All of it is overlaid with an oddly believable layer of Chinese legend (folklore? Mythology? I’m unsure what to call it). The story is compelling, with various twists and turns, and ultimately quite charming. I was fully invested in the characters as well.

The only difficulty I had was the Chinese names of some of the lesser known locations and some of the characters, but that is my own lack of knowledge, and not the fault of the author or the narrator. If you are looking for extremely in-depth Chinese history, you won’t find it here. Rather, historical events are used as the background for the characters. I found it to be just the right balance.

Highly recommended.

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Beautiful!

A beautiful, heartbreaking, sweet and fascinating story. I loved learning more of the history, legends and culture of China.

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Another adventure from Janie Chang

Her ability to weave magic and historical events is wonderful. The characters are well developed and the detailed scenery rich in description and feel.
Loved this book.

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Exquisite, suspenseful, and captivating!

This story had me rushing to finish it! Had to discover the end. The writing style was also beautiful.

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Beautiful

A fascinating tale about a little known (at least in the Western World) part of history. Reminding us of the importance of our myths, legends, family and history. Beautifully written and told.

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Captivated by the stars!

This was such an engaging book. I came to love the characters and could not wait to see how their characters and relationships developed!

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Refreshing

This was so fresh and interesting. A great way to get a glimpse into a bit of Chinese history. Well performed and interesting.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-15-20

Would recommend this book, well written

Loved the imagery when describing the gods. Great book. A compelling story with happy ending.

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