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The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle Book 1) Kindle Edition
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 accomplishment of storytelling."—NPR
A 2020 ALA Booklist Top Ten SF/F Debut | A Book Riot Must-Read Fantasy of 2020 | A Paste Most Anticipated Novel of 2020 | A Library Journal Debut of the Month | A Buzzfeed Must-Read Fantasy Novel of Spring 2020 | A Washington Post Best SFF of the Year So Far Pick
Named Book Riot's Best Book Cover of 2020
Named a Best of 2020 Pick for NPR | Library Journal | NYPL | Chicago Public Library | The Austen Chronicle | Autostraddle
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama, Nghi Vo's The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.
A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.
Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor's lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.
At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She's a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.
The Singing Hills Cycle
The Empress of Salt and Fortune
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain
Into the Riverlands
The novellas of The Singing Hills Cycle are linked by the cleric Chih, but may be read in any order, with each story serving as an entrypoint.
Praise for The Empress of Salt and Fortune
“An elegant gut-punch, a puzzle box that unwinds itself in its own way and in its own time. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Gorgeous. Cruel. Perfect. I didn't know I needed to read this until I did.”—Seanan McGuire
"A tale of rebellion and fealty that feels both classic and fresh, The Empress of Salt and Fortune is elegantly told, strongly felt, and brimming with rich detail. An epic in miniature, beautifully realised."—Zen Cho
"Nghi Vo's gracefully told debut . . . resides in the intimate margins of its (beautifully imagined) world's history, portraying how the marginalized may yet shape those narratives and harness the power of stories."—Indrapramit Das
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
About the Author
Cindy Kay is a Chinese-Thai-American narrator and educator who grew up in the California Bay Area and lives in the Rockies. Her work has been described as listening to a "cozy best friend." She narrates fiction and nonfiction, and has studied Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, and Japanese. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B07VH6Y4JD
- Publisher : Tordotcom (March 24 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 2849 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 124 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #97,164 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The story itself is sad and poignant. The image of a lonely Empress being exiled as soon as her ‘use’ was up and the friendship that grew between In-yo and Rabbit was beautiful. The novella is only a little over 100 pages, but the characters are beautifully fleshed out and so well developed that I felt more emotionally connected to them than characters in some novels I’ve read. The narrative is tight and concise without a single word wasted to bring the reader along on Chih’s discoveries, and left me with a sense of genuine loss that the story was over. I can’t wait for the second story in this series so I can enjoy more storytelling from Chih’s unique perspective. Nghi Vo is a writer that I’ll be insta-buying from now on.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune is one of those books which initially looked like it would hit a large number of my buttons (once I'd overlooked the novella issue): non-European setting, outsider perspective and a talking bird to cap it all off. Mostly, it did what I wanted, using the main character of Rabbit to talk about what happened without ever really giving everything away as she did so and Chih as the character who gets to pick away at what doesn't quite fit. Any time there's a hoopoe involved too, I'm right there (they're one of my favourite birds), so the decision to make Almost Brilliant a bird of that species was going to be a winner all the way.
We never actually meet the eponymous Empress, only get to know her through the point of view of others: the servant who loves her, the minister who despises her for her foreignness, the items she has left behind which Chih is cataloguing. All we know initially is that she was sent from elsewhere to form an alliance, then exiled to this particular place when she had done her duty and produced a son and heir. What the author does cleverly at this stage is structure the storyline so that the outcome is inevitable but not obvious, with little details thrown in along the way to distract.
All in all, I enjoyed reading The Empress of Salt and Fortune and wished it had been longer, which is so often my lament where novellas are concerned. The other thing which didn't completely work for me was Chih's flat acceptance of everything they're told, which seemed at odds with their employment as an archivist. However, I hope the author is turning her hand to longer works and look forward to checking them out if she does. Apparently this is the first of a series, so we'll see...
The story is told to a Clerek, and their bird, by an elderly woman known only as rabbit.
Such a sad, sweet story, that had me in tears by the end. Yet still managing to remain somewhat hopeful, it is everything I love in a story.