The characters seem to act quite differently at times. There is also much less empahsis on the maids and much more emphasis on the men in the family. The basic plot of this volume involves Bai Yu loosing his jade and going insane so the family decide to marry him off to Baichai as a chance to regain his sanity. This is largely due to a few chapters earlier Dai Yu attempting to starve herself to death when she hears Bai Yu is going to marry someone else. And it is this bout of ill health that finally convinces everyone she'd not make a good wife. I thought her dying scenes were some of the strongest parts of the book. It was also interesting to see my two new favorites, Tan Chun and Li Wan were the two of the women that were there for her death.
The rest of the plots didn't seem to ammount to much. Xue Pan being arrested for murder again didn't seem quite as interesting as when this happened in the first volume. Likewise Baoyu's return to school wasn't as in depth. Xifeng seemed to hardly be around at all, sick for no reason, and just joking rather than controlling anything. I did however find it interesting when they had the nun perform spirit writing mediumship to find out what was wrong with Baoyu....Continua
What I can say for this book is that he does stick quite closely to the original text. Having read passages from this volume, I had no trouble locating and reading the passages in my Chinese edition.
Vol. 1 contains the background of the stone, the Taoist and Buddhist monk, the building of the garden, Granny Liu's first visit, BaoYu and Xifeng being possessed by demon's and going insane, the cute gay boys at school, dreams set in the world of the immortals, and a lot of Xifeng being very capable....Continua