REVIEW|| The Red Palace-June Hur // An atmospheric and compelling murder mystery you must read

SYNOPSIS: 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.

June Hur, critically acclaimed author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls, returns with The Red Palace—a third evocative, atmospheric historical mystery perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Kerri Maniscalco. (Goodreads)

GENRE: Historical Fiction, YA

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Murder, mentions of blood, absentee parent


The Red Palace was one of my most anticipated releases because I have loved June’s previous works and this one was described as a murder mystery set in Joseon period with slow burn romance and that’s absolutely something I would be interested in. I buddy read this with Kate and we both ended up loving the book and Hyeon and Eojin so much!! The murder mystery mixed with the atmospheric setting, beautiful writing with enthralling characters had me fall in love with it right from page one.

The Red Palace is a story about the palace nurse Hyeon who has worked so hard to reach her position and is a stubborn and determined person who will go through something once she sets her mind to do it. She was smart and empathetic and I also loved how we got to see different sides of her through all the relationships she had: a complicated relationship with her mother and as a loyal friend to Jieun. And then there is Eojin, the prodigy and youngest inspector at nineteen who is virtuous and fighting for justice. He is always respectful and treats everyone equally and with consideration. There were many distinct and intriguing side characters too which only make the book better. The crown prince’s character was also fascinating and I loved how his story was weaved with the plot and other characters.

When a series of murders take place and Hyeon’s mentor is blamed for them, Hyeon makes it her mission to help clear her name. Through this, she crosses paths with Eojin and after some reluctance they both agree to help each other in the investigation. The mystery was well written and it had some thriller elements too. All these elements along with the historical fiction setting and the romance which will have you smiling so wide worked really well together to make an enjoyable read which will keep you captivated.

Hyeon and Eojin’s gentle and delicate friendship to romance was beautiful to read. The romance wasn’t front seat and it was woven really well with the mystery aspect of the book. The book is just a little over 300 pages but it was so easy to fly through it and I was engrossed throughout the book.

“When the time comes…You watch out for me. And I will always watch out for you.”

(This quote was taken from an advance copy of the book)

The author mentions how the story is inspired by Crown Prince Sado and it was really fun to read how she incorporated this part into the plot and she does an amazing job at blending the historical fiction with murder mystery aspect. The setting was atmospheric and it gives you the feeling of watching a k-drama. As a fan of k-dramas, this was just another things I loved about this book. I genuinely feel all of June’s books (The Silence of Bones, The Forest of Stolen Girls and this one) would make for amazing k-dramas. She has become an auto-buy author for me and that’s how good her books are!

Overall, The Red Palace was an atmospheric and beautifully written murder mystery in the Joseon era with amazing characters and a sweet friendship to romance which will make you smile so hard and a plot which will keep you intrigued till the last page. I highly recommend this book!

I was sent an eARC of the book from the author through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Have you read The Red Palace or any of June Hur’s books yet? And if so, what did you think?

7 thoughts on “REVIEW|| The Red Palace-June Hur // An atmospheric and compelling murder mystery you must read

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