The Red Palace | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐
"Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father's approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon's closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher's innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed."
The Red Palace is a standalone historical mystery book by June Hur.
A 2022 new release, a have been mildly anticipating this book. I read the author's first book, The Silence of Bones, when it came out and rather enjoyed it. I forgot about The Forest of Stolen Girls, but when this came out I wanted to read it as well even without knowing the plot. Having now finished the book, I am feeling a bit disappointed because this didn't wow me.
The mystery itself was just okay, but my main issue with the story had to do with whom the story is told through. Baek-hyeon fell flat as a character as she didn't end up delivering much as she didn't feel like a real person, more like a simple vehicle for the plot. She was also in way over her head and ended up making a lot of mistakes as a result. I also could have done without any romance, as it added nothing to the story.
In all honesty, I was more intrigued by the end notes as the author talked about how the crown prince in the story was loosely based on a real historical figure.