The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang: Unique Love Story

“What if I told you that the feeling we call love is actually the feeling of metaphysical recognition, when your soul remembers someone from a previous life?”

In the year 4 BCE, an ambitious courtier is called upon to seduce the young emperor—but quickly discovers they are both ruled by blood, sex and intrigue.

In 1740, a lonely innkeeper agrees to help a mysterious visitor procure a rare medicine, only to unleash an otherworldly terror instead.

And in present-day Los Angeles, a college student meets a beautiful stranger and cannot shake the feeling they’ve met before.

Across these seemingly unrelated timelines woven together only by the twists and turns of fate, two men are reborn, lifetime after lifetime. Within the treacherous walls of an ancient palace and the boundless forests of the Asian wilderness to the heart-pounding cement floors of underground rave scenes, our lovers are inexplicably drawn to each other, constantly tested by the worlds around them.

As their many lives intertwine, they begin to realize the power of their undying love—a power that transcends time itself…but one that might consume them both.

In The Emperor and the Endless Palace, Justinian Huang has created a unique love story with powerful queer characters and spirituality. Throughout the story, as it flows through time and to each individual, nothing is quite what you expect, not only the connections between the characters but the events of their lives. 

I found each character in the narrative thread easy to connect to and compelling. Each is charismatic in their own way as they experience transcendent moments and visions of their past lives along with the connection to those they’ve loved. The narrative is dramatic, from He Shican who tangles with a fox spirit, courtier Dong Xian who loves emperor Liu Xin and in present day Joey and River. Each connection is one piece of the greater whole but also illustrates how we can be trapped within cycles and how hard it is to break the negative patterns that we carry with us from our pasts whether you embrace reincarnation or not.

If you love stories with reincarnation, with connections that transcend time and supernatural creatures, this novel is for you. I love the unique love story that embraces gay characters and the sweeping, dramatic narrative. It is a triumphant romance. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 fox tails

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