Review – Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

I got introduced to Zen Cho through a short story and loved her creativity and wanted more. Since then I have purchased another book by here but not read it. So Requested this hoping I would enjoy it. I have no regrets.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you!

Black Water Sister

by Zen Cho

Her grandmother may be dead, but she’s not done with life . . . yet.

As Jessamyn packs for Malaysia, it’s not a good time to start hearing a bossy voice in her head. Broke, jobless and just graduated, she’s abandoning America to return ‘home’. But she last saw Malaysia as a toddler – and is completely unprepared for its ghosts, gods and her eccentric family’s shenanigans.

Jess soon learns her ‘voice’ belongs to Ah Ma, her late grandmother. She worshipped the Black Water Sister, a local deity. And when a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge. Now she’s decided Jess will help, whether she wants to or not.

As Ah Ma blackmails Jess into compliance, Jess fights to retain control. But her irrepressible relative isn’t going to let a little thing like death stop her, when she can simply borrow Jess’s body to make mischief. As Jess is drawn ever deeper into a world of peril and family secrets, getting a job becomes the least of her worries.

  • well written dialogue
  • angry spirit grandma
  • a healing solution

I loved this book! I had no idea what I was to expect for this book, but I read two other books by Zen Cho before diving into this one. Not sure how that affected me but this is my fav Zen Cho book ever.

The story was a fun one. Jess is reluctantly moving from the US back to Malaysia with her parents. She is a recent Harvard graduate and trying to find a decent job. Then she discovered she and her mum’s side of the family are mediums. And her grandma (Ah Ma) are hunting her. LOL! A lot was going on in this story and I loved it.

The story is filled with twists and turns I sometimes saw coming but mostly not. Nothing felt wrong or off in this story. I loved how the twists and turns made me more into the story and how I learned about Malaysia at the same time.

The world is built up around Malaysia and the author keeps it brief. The narrator only explains this when needed or say that “that wasn’t a big surprise seeing as it was in Malaysia” and laid hints like that to show the reader this was normal and therefore built the world up around it.

For the paranormal stuff, it’s all through the old religion. Malaysians may have all types of religions but the old religion is still there. I think even it’s referred to as the old religion. At some point the is a discussion of what a god is and what a god without a medium is which was really interesting.

The magic is all related to gods and spirits. When a spirit takes over your body you don’t feel pain etc. It was a nice effect that added to the story but also added an easy way out if the MC got injured

Jess was a great character that I could relate to. She was straight out of University and unsure what to do with her life. But she was also strong and courageous and willing to fight for what is right.

the main character is in an f/f relationship but it’s not the main focus.

As expected with a seasoned writer, it was really good. I had no issues with the technical side thought the review copy I had wasn’t the best-formatted ebook I’ve ever seen. But that’s details.

The action in this is well written and never-ending. The pacing between the action scenes did not feel too slow but had a nice balance.

I loved this book and I think Zen Cho is becoming a favourite author of mine.

Have you read this? What did you think?

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