Book Reviews

Review: Sound the Gong by Joan He

As someone who loved Strike the Zither, I knew I had to read Sound the Gong. And it was the sequel I needed! If you loved the first, this is a must read! Keep reading my full thoughts in this book review of Sound the Gong.


All her life, Zephyr has tried to rise above her humble origins as a no-name orphan. Now she is a god in a warrior’s body, and never has she felt more powerless. Her lordess Xin Ren holds the Westlands, but her position is tenuous. In the north, the empress remains under Miasma’s thumb. In the south, the alliance with Cicada is in pieces.

Fate also seems to have a different winner in mind for the three kingdoms, but Zephyr has no intentions of respecting it. She will pay any price to see Ren succeed—and she will make her enemies pay, especially one dark-haired, dark-eyed Crow. What she’ll do when she finds out the truth—that he worked for the South all along…

Only the heavens know.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Zephyr could come for me and I’d let her. I am consistently amazed and impressed with the twists and turns from Joan He. Talk about a book where I just strap in for the ride and turn my brain off. It’s a book about sabotage, battles of wits, and strategic moves. For these strategists, and most of the characters in Sound the Gong, can they ever truly have friends or loves when everything seems to be a chess game? If you love a story with fantasy and twists that left me screaming, this is for you.

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Then again, if you’ve read Strike the Zither then you know exactly what I mean. But this sequel is even more masterful, with beautiful homage, while also exploring what happens when our choices catch up to us. Ultimately it talks about who should rule, the weight of responsibility, and the fear of what catches up to us. Find Sound the Gong on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells, &


What is your favorite duology?

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