New Books: December-January (2019-20)

NewBooks-20200109

After a quieter end to 2019, the start of 2020 was met with a blizzard of new ARCs and DRCs. Some of these aren’t out for some time (May, June, and even August!), but I wanted to get a mention of the books up on the site ASAP, so people have an idea of what’s on the way — and many of these look fantastic!

Featuring: Megan Angelo, Andy Clark, Bill Clegg, Karen Dietrich, Doug Engstrom, Lee Goldberg, Ilze Hugo, Gregg Hurwitz, Alex Irvine, Hao Jingfang, Stephen Graham Jones, Erica Katz, Nick Kyme, Mark Lawrence, Eddie Robson, Lewis Shiner, JC Stearns, Paul Tremblay, Emma Jane Unsworth, Nghi Vo, David Heska Wanbli Weiden

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Quick Review: THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE by Nghi Vo (Tor.com)

VoN-EmpressOfSaltAndFortuneA short, engaging novella about imperialism and exclusion

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.

In this short novella, Vo introduces us to a handful of interesting and engaging characters, as one regales another with a story of imperialism and oppression. As the synopsis states, the world depicted is akin to imperial China, and the author has a gift for writing evocative, albeit-brief description. After meeting Rabbit, the emperor’s wife’s handmaid, Cleric Chih learns Empress In-yo’s story. Through this, we glean the larger picture of not only In-yo’s life, but also the world and culture in which all of the characters exists. Continue reading