The Empress of Salt and Fortune

By Nghi Vo,

Book cover of The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Book description

Winner of the 2020 Crawford Award!
Winner of the 2021 Hugo Award!
A Hugo Award-Winning Series!

A 2021 Locus Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist

"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful... The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Empress of Salt and Fortune as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

At some point, as a very tired parent of a very active toddler, I realized I needed a book beyond my usual four hundred-page-plus doorstoppers, and I quickly discovered this gem. Brevity defines this book, and due to its length, I expected something easily consumable. But I was pleased to find out that I still had to pay attention!

The subtle hints and clever structure set up the rich machinations of an empire, along with a clever monarch looking to secure her legacy and throne – without relying solely on brawn.

Political intrigue was but one facet of this condensed…

This truly lovely historical novella is set in a fantastical version of ancient China and incorporates mythology that I’m certain I didn’t completely understand. However, the bittersweet tale, told by a former handmaiden named Rabbit to a traveling cleric, is gorgeous enough to stand without any background knowledge. This is a tale I will return to more than once, for its compelling story and nostalgic tone.

This novella packs in more memorable moments than many much longer books. Like The Once and Future Witches, it’s also a work of speculation that addresses history. But mainly, it’s a fantastic story that happens to dance with big questions like: Who gets to write history? Who do we remember and why? What artifacts matter? Nghi Vo subtly addresses these questions while spinning a tale of an Asian empire, its rulers, and its inhabitants. The cleric Chih, their remarkable bird Almost Brilliant, and the elderly woman Rabbit together create a compelling, grand tale of world-building. It’s beautiful to read,…

From Joy's list on systems of power and oppression.

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