**3.5-stars rounded up**
After graduating from Harvard, Jessamyn Teoh, finds herself broke, unemployed and still unable to come out to her parents.
Following her father’s recent illness, her parents decide to move back to Malaysia and Jess is going with them. Having grown up in the United States, it’s going to require some adjustment, but Jess also feels like she doesn’t have much of a choice.
Now she needs to add the stress of a long-distance relationship with her secret girlfriend into the mix.
It’s a lot of pressure, so when Jess begins to hear voices, she thinks she may actually be losing it.
As it turns out, she’s not really hearing voices, plural. She’s hearing one voice, that of her deceased Grandmother, Ah Ma.
When she was alive, Ah Ma was a spirit medium for a mysterious, local deity, known as the Black Water Sister. Ah Ma’s spirit is restless, unable to cross over, until she seeks revenge against a powerful man who has offended the God.
Ah Ma plans to use Jess for this mission.
Black Water Sister was like no other Contemporary Fantasy novel that I have ever read. It was modern, magical, fast-paced and full of over-the-top family drama!
I really enjoyed watching the evolution Jess made as a character. She was smart, intuitive and adaptable from the very beginning, but it also felt like she was holding herself back.
Once she meets Ah Ma, even though the two butt heads in a lot of ways, that pressure made Jess grow and find a strength within herself that she didn’t realize was there.
The Malaysian setting and cultural background were so refreshing to read. That backdrop is an important part of the story and I truly became immersed within it.
Overall, I was very impressed with the complexity, nuance and fantastical elements included in this story. While this is my first Zen Cho novel, it certainly will not be my last!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review.
I truly appreciate the opportunity!