Immortal longings

Chloe Gong

Book - 2023

"Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches. Princess Calla Tuoleimi lurks in hiding. Five years ago, a massacre killed her parents and left the palace of Er empty...and she was the one who did it. Before King Kasa's forces in San can catch her, she plans to fi...nish the job and bring down the monarchy. Her reclusive uncle always greets the victor of the games, so if she wins, she gets her opportunity at last to kill him. Enter Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat. His childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace, and he's deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Thankfully, he's one of the best jumpers in the kingdom, flitting from body to body at will. His last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning. Calla finds both an unexpected alliance with Anton and help from King Kasa's adopted son, August, who wants to mend Talin's ills. But the three of them have very different goals, even as Calla and Anton's partnership spirals into something all-consuming. Before the games close, Calla must decide what she's playing for--her lover or her kingdom"--

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1st Floor New Shelf SCIENCE FICTION/Gong Chloe (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 6, 2023
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Gong, Chloe. Flesh & false gods ; bk. 1.
Epic fiction
Fantasy fiction
Romance fiction
New York : Saga Press 2023.
First Saga Press hardcover edition
Item Description
Includes a conversation with Chloe Gong.
Physical Description
369 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Chloe Gong (author)
Review by Booklist Review

The Flesh and False Gods trilogy launches with a Hunger Games--style competition, in which 88 volunteers, who would rather risk death for immeasurable riches than continue living in squalor, battle in the twin cities of San-Er. During the competition, the illegality of body jumping--commandeering another body by transferring qi into it--is ignored, as long as the competitors' tracking bracelets move with them. Prince August manipulates the lottery to ensure Princess Calla Tuoleimi, in hiding for years after slaughtering her parents, the rulers of Er, is one of the competitors, counting on her desire to kill San's king to elevate himself to that position. Anton Makusa, who jumps bodies as easily as changing clothes, competes for the money to pay off his childhood love's medical bills as she lies in a years-long coma. Calla and Anton, modeled after Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, form an unlikely partnership, bouncing continuously between mutual obsession and the possibility of betrayal in this winner-takes-all scenario. The morally ambiguous characters with complex motivations in this richly built dystopia make this debut a must-read.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestselling YA author Gong (Foul Lady Fortune) probes her characters' sense of identity in her wonderfully high-concept adult fantasy debut and Flesh and False Gods series launch, a clever riff on Antony and Cleopatra. Five years before the start of the novel, Princess Calla Tuoleimi of Talin murdered her own parents and went into hiding. Now, as Talin holds its annual gladiatorial-style games in the twin cities of San-Er, Calla reappears to finish what she's started: kill the king, her uncle, and bring an end to inequality and poverty. Prince August Shenzhi, her cousin, aids her with this treasonous plan, but to complete it, she must first win the tournament. The inhabitants of Talin can jump between bodies at will, and royal exile Anton Makusa hopes to use this trick to win the games himself and put the prize toward keeping his comatose lover alive. As the games unfold, Calla and Anton strike an unlikely alliance that blossoms into a love affair--but only one can win, and to become victor, the star-crossed lovers will have to break their bond. Though this outing owes debts to both Shakespeare and The Hunger Games, the intricate magic system feels entirely fresh. Gong keeps the pages flying with pulse-pounding action, tension, and intrigue, creating an adventure that will linger in readers' minds long after the last page. Agent: Laura Crockett, Triada US Literary. (July)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Three participants in the capital's annual gladiatorial games have more on their minds than just emerging at the top of this year's pile of corpses. Calla, a discarded princess, believes the only way to save her country is to eliminate the monarchy--starting with the usurper who took her throne. Exiled noble Anton just wants revenge on everyone from the king on down--and he wants Calla. Meanwhile, Crown Prince August rigs the games to ensure his father's death and make Calla the scapegoat. As they battle it out, Calla and Anton go from enemies to lovers and back again in an endless cycle of sex and betrayal, while the city crumbles and the crown prince waits impatiently in the wings. VERDICT Best-selling YA novelist Gong's (Last Violent Call) adult epic-fantasy debut combines a plot of corrupt politics and rotting empires with the adrenaline rush of combat and intrigue and a romance that is literally for the ages, based on the tempestuous relationship in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Lovers of Sarah J. Maas's epic romantasy novels and the kickass fighting queens in Jennifer Estep's "Gargoyle Queen" series won't be able to turn these pages fast enough.--Marlene Harris

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Every year the twin cities of San-Er hold a set of games, a fight to the death with the promise of unimaginable riches for the victor. This time, there's an unlikely competitor--Princess Calla Tuoleimi, who's presumed dead, has entered the contest in disguise. For five years, Princess Calla has been living in hiding from the absolute monarch, King Kasa, ever since, in a defiant and ruthless massacre, she killed the leaders of Er--her own parents. Her plan has always been to free the people of San-Er from the oppressive monarchy, and she won't stop until the palace falls and she has the king's head. It's finally time for her to finish what she started, and the only way to get close enough to him is by besting the other 87 players and winning the competition. Lucky for her, the king's heir, August, would also like to see King Kasa dead and a new era for San-Er begun. With their aligned endgame of regicide and shared willingness to break some rules, August can assure Calla's safety until the final battle of the games. But this book isn't The Hunger Games--it's an epic fantasy. So the wrinkle? There are people in San-Er with the ability to jump between bodies, and the best jumpers are the most confident and deadly competitors in the games. Gong packs her story with thrilling fight sequences in which each player's distinct and recognizable pugilist style shines through even when they wear different physical forms. Eventually, Calla faces her toughest competitor, Anton Makusa, an exiled noble fighting to win the prize to pay off the medical debts of his beloved, who's in a coma. From the moment their weapons meet, Anton has Calla questioning her single-minded purpose. In a power play dripping with blood and lust, the two become allies, though they know there can be only one winner. Calla and Anton are as charming as they are deceitful. No matter whom you're rooting for, there's a lot on the line. When the book ends on a well-earned cliffhanger, readers will be clamoring for the next volume of this planned trilogy. Spectacular worldbuilding, breathtaking action, and plenty of mischief. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.