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The Fire Horse Girl

The Fire Horse Girl - Kay Honeyman Originally posted at Gypsy ReviewsAs someone who fell in love with Mulan and to this date is still my favourite Disney princess who I look up to, I was thrilled that the Fire Horse Girl was able to deliver the very same magic I felt when I watched Mulan. It’s such an inspiring story that tells you to strive for freedom and the life that you want for yourself. The story feels so close to home as it talks about a Chinese girl who didn’t belong in China and was too Chinese for America. I have felt like I never belonged either being a Chinese but born in England and then coming to Singapore when I was 6. I’m not British nor am I fully Singaporean and you can’t say I’m from China because I was never born or educated there. I’m neither here nor there, a little like Jade Moon. But despite that difference, Jade Moon still fights (not literally) her way into America to live the life that she wants.Jade Moon is stubborn, fearless, willful, full of passion and is just entirely her own person. She refuses to let her life be dictated for her and knows she has to escape before she is forced into a life she does not want to live. Despite the fact that everyone says she is a curse because she was born a Fire Horse, she doesn’t hide who she is. You cannot help but admire Jade Moon’s fire within her. She’s a heroine you can easily look up to and she’s someone you want little girls to role model after.With such a touchy subject about two countries and immigration, it is usually very hard to write a novel where you don’t brand one of the countries as the ‘enemy’ and particularly in this instance, you would expect America to be upheld as the ‘dream country’ but Honeyman was able to keep it neutral. Despite the promise of freedom in America, things aren’t as dandy as they seem and especially for the Chinese, with the Americans not actually wanting to admit Chinese into their land. With that, it might have been better to stay in China. Honeyman was able to show the two sides and the benefits and cons of both countries.I was pleased to find that the romance was kept mellow, I love me some fair share of romance but it wouldn’t have complied with the Chinese culture because Chinese, Asians in general, are not very public with intimacy. It’s something very private that should only be indulged to the two involved and in those times, a man and a woman couldn’t do anything until they were married. Honeyman was able to deliver those heartfelt moments between Jade Moon and Sterling Promise very well, even without any saucy scenes, you could feel the emotions stirring between the two.The writing was just beautiful, I really wish I could have highlighted some of the passages and Honeyman just made it so utterly Chinese even in English. I actually wished Honeyman provided some of them in its original context in Chinese so I could have fully appreciated the full beauty of the proverbs. It would have added a bit more authenticity to the novel and stir some curiosity into the readers towards Chinese culture.The events in the story are absolutely heart-wrenching, it truly hits you when you realise the predicament women were in during those times. How men treated them like nothing and easily got them married off or sold to a brothel into prostitution. The Fire Horse Girl also reminds you how much the Chinese value the family name and how important family is in terms of reputation. One person’s rash decision could mean the downfall for the entire family and future generations. It gives you an insight over how Chinese families worked in the 20s.I couldn’t put The Fire Horse Girl down towards the end, I just had to finish it and not because of the action or anything, just because the story was so good I had to get to the end. I stayed up for this and I do not regret it at all. It’s a truly fantastic novel that I think everyone should read. This definitely is one of my top reads of 2013 and I strongly recommend it to everyone.