The Ghost Bride: A Novel

The Ghost Bride: A Novel - Yangsze Choo Things I liked:

-The love triangle and insta-love cliches are sort-of turned on their heads, which was a pleasant surprise. I wish Li Lan could have gotten with a guy who was less chauvinistic though, but at least she actually had developed chemistry with Er Lang.
-The world-building is PHENOMENAL, I have no words for how well Choo brought the Realm of the Dead to life (

Things I disliked:

-There is a really bad issue with telling instead of showing. Also there has to be a better way to describe emotions in first person narratives besides having the character just flat-out say things like "I was in distress/I was so depressed/I was so angry."
-The author uses large, very uncommon words a lot where they don't seem warranted, they don't match the tone of the rest of the writing and dialogue, and I had to keep pausing and looking up definitions. I'm someone who is familiar with a LOT of uncommon words but many of these stumped me and frustrated me. Also, some of them weren't even used right, but probably just randomly grabbed after looking up the entry for more common words to make the writing seem more impressive and faux-old-fashioned. (For example, the sentence "her horse, caparisoned in her saddlebags" doesn't work, a caparison is a cloth used for decorative purposes and to caparison means to dress a horse for showing or parades... Not something as mundane as a saddle bag.)
-The way the character has to stop and explain almost every Malaysian or Chinese word or cultural symbolism also throws you out of the story. Especially when the character derails a major plot event, and spends two paragraphs to explain something that has absolutely 0 bearing on the plot. Like I'm talking a huge pivotal moment of the story being halted to explain the history of some buildings and that history never actually has any part in the story itself.
-A lot of these could have been put into footnotes, and actually the author makes use of a footnote once. For something that really did not need a footnote because its easy to understand in context as is.
-Some obnoxious gender essentialism, with our heroine Li Lan needing to emphasize multiple times how she as a woman is just so tiny and pale and frail and weak, compared to all the men she interacts with, who are large and strong and HUGE and could break her like a twig.