The empress of salt and fortune

Nghi Vo

Book - 2020

"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."--Provided by publisher.

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

SCIENCE FICTION/Vo, Nghi
3 / 3 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor SCIENCE FICTION/Vo, Nghi Checked In
1st Floor SCIENCE FICTION/Vo, Nghi Checked In
1st Floor SCIENCE FICTION/Vo Nghi Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Novellas
Published
New York : A Tor.com Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
121 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781250750303
125075030X
Main Author
Nghi Vo (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A young novice, Chih, and their hoopoe companion make their way to the house where the Empress of Salt and Fortune once lived in exile, hoping to recover and note any artifacts for the abbey's historical records. Instead they find an old woman named Rabbit, who tells them that back when the empress was just a northern royal named In-yo, Rabbit was her shadow, her servant, and her devoted friend, and she can tell stories no one else would know. This novella tells an epic story through small moments and intricate details, and its world-building is done with care, from the codes hidden in fortunes and linguistics to the folktales mentioned in passing in Rabbit's story. In-yo is a transfixing figure, and Rabbit is a moody, fascinating character in her own right. Vo's debut has it all: from sapphic love to cruel betrayals; from political intrigue to lakes that glow red to ghosts that continue to walk old paths. Despite its length, The Empress of Salt and Fortune will appeal to all fans of epic fantasy, and readers will be excited to read whatever Vo comes up with next. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A young novice, Chih, and their hoopoe companion make their way to the house where the Empress of Salt and Fortune once lived in exile, hoping to recover and note any artifacts for the abbey's historical records. Instead they find an old woman named Rabbit, who tells them that back when the empress was just a northern royal named In-yo, Rabbit was her shadow, her servant, and her devoted friend, and she can tell stories no one else would know. This novella tells an epic story through small moments and intricate details, and its world-building is done with care, from the codes hidden in fortunes and linguistics to the folktales mentioned in passing in Rabbit's story. In-yo is a transfixing figure, and Rabbit is a moody, fascinating character in her own right. Vo's debut has it all: from sapphic love to cruel betrayals; from political intrigue to lakes that glow red to ghosts that continue to walk old paths. Despite its length, The Empress of Salt and Fortune will appeal to all fans of epic fantasy, and readers will be excited to read whatever Vo comes up with next. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After war comes a political marriage: A young royal woman from the north arrives in the Emperor of Ahn's palace to become Empress and signal a new beginning. But In-yo is a stranger in a strange land, reviled for her foreign origin, and eventually exiled to a mage-created summer prison after birthing a son. With her is Rabbit, a handmaiden sold by her family to the palace to cover a tithe, becoming friend and confidante to the new empress. For the next four years, In-yo's surface is stoic and resigned, but as spies and fortunetellers sift through her residence, she begins to ascend a path that will lead her away from the decisions of the men in power—to find her own. VERDICT Rich details and emotional prose captures readers from the first page of this imaginative and powerful novella. Spun through reflections of the past, in archived objects of love and hate, the tale of Rabbit and In-yo lights up the dark history of monarchy and turns it into a delightful feminist fantasy.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Vo's adventurous debut combines myth and fable with political intrigue to build a stunning feminist fantasy set in a land inspired by imperial China. Chih, a traveling cleric, and their bird, Almost Brilliant, meet Rabbit, an elderly woman who spent her life as a handmaiden, and collect her many stories. Rabbit was sold to the court when she was five years old because her parents could not pay their full taxes. Once installed there, Rabbit quickly rose in the ranks of servants. The exiled Empress In-Yo from the North arrived at court later intending to take part in a political marriage and produce an heir. Both outsiders, In-Yo and Rabbit form a fast bond that runs deep, defying simple categorization. As Rabbit, who has remained loyal to the empress, reveals a tale of conspiracies and rebellion, Chih must decide what they will do with these spilled imperial secrets. The subtlety and nuance of Vo's evocative storytelling lend the novella an epic, timeless feel. Equal parts love and rage, this masterfully told story is sure to impress. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Mar.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Vo's adventurous debut combines myth and fable with political intrigue to build a stunning feminist fantasy set in a land inspired by imperial China. Chih, a traveling cleric, and their bird, Almost Brilliant, meet Rabbit, an elderly woman who spent her life as a handmaiden, and collect her many stories. Rabbit was sold to the court when she was five years old because her parents could not pay their full taxes. Once installed there, Rabbit quickly rose in the ranks of servants. The exiled Empress In-Yo from the North arrived at court later intending to take part in a political marriage and produce an heir. Both outsiders, In-Yo and Rabbit form a fast bond that runs deep, defying simple categorization. As Rabbit, who has remained loyal to the empress, reveals a tale of conspiracies and rebellion, Chih must decide what they will do with these spilled imperial secrets. The subtlety and nuance of Vo's evocative storytelling lend the novella an epic, timeless feel. Equal parts love and rage, this masterfully told story is sure to impress. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Mar.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

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