Ai Ling let the book fall open to a random page. Her face flushed at what she saw--a man and woman stark naked, their limbs entwined. THE DANCE OF THE CRANES was printed neatly above in black ink.
"Mother..." She could not bring herself to meet her mother's gaze.
"Keep looking, Ai Ling. This book is informative, with all the things you need to know about the bedchamber and what it takes to pleasure your husband."
Did her mother really just give her a book of "How to" on sex? With pictures? And it's called The Book of Making? Making what?
Setting aside the whole "young marriage in a fictional historic Chinese setting" (which I totally understand)... How old is Ai Ling?
But never mind. Historical China always sucked when it came to women's rights and double standards and crap like family pride and social standards. I'm glad I never had to live any of it. Being disgraced and made to feel shameful just because some stuck-up family's mother and son didn't want you for a wife really kicks the balls in this type of society.
If I still had to live according to those types of rules of life, I'd have been disgraced at least ten times over... I guess.
From the fairly confusing prologue to the somewhat stilted telling of the first chapter, things seem to be moving along quite slowly. There are no mentions of the fantasy aspects yet aside from Ai Ling's latent ability to read minds and sense another's feelings through touch. Some mysterious conflict seems to be brewing already as we see Ai Ling's father leaving for the Palace (with a capital 'P'), and so hopefully the story and the adventure will start to pick up from here.
Until then... let's see more of that Book of Making...