I adored The Throne of the Five Winds, but I'm also a little surprised that I did. Objectively, I was interested in the elements mentioned in the synopsis – court intrigue, princes, emperor, kingdoms with a tentative peace, etc. Once I started reading chapter one, I was a little concerned.
It's dense, intricate, and extremely detailed. Throughout the book there are occasional footnotes explaining types of tea, plants, and clothing. There's a strong focus on mannerisms and propriety, to the point where the exact angle used to pour tea is critiqued, and so is the exact degree to which a person bowed.
On top of that, there are a ton of characters. As noted in the synopsis: there's at least two queens, two concubines, six princes, an emperor, another princess, and that princess's lady-in-waiting. But there's also a general, an astronomer, physicians, eunuchs, and relatives.
I'm surprised I enjoyed the book because previously I would have said that level of extreme detail wasn't for me. But somehow I absolutely adored it!
The Throne of the Five Winds is very much about reading between the lines. Two people have a totally innocent conversation, and yet each is trying to read body language and tone to figure out if the other is on their side or possibly trying to assassinate them.
This has gone down as one of my all time favourite books and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!