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Empress of Salt and Fortune
Empress of Salt and Fortune | Nghi Vo
42 posts | 52 read | 51 to read
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.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
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100%
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BacklistReader
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Mehso-so

Book 2 for #clearurshitreadathon complete

Prompt: Smallest Book

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alysonwrites
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A novella about an empress in exile who plots a war against the kingdom that took her away from her people.🔸#augustreads2021

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BarbaraJean
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Mehso-so

I‘m still not sure how I feel about this one, other than realizing that perhaps novellas are not really my jam. I liked the world-building (but I wanted more). The characters were interesting (but I wanted more). The writing was beautiful, the plot was clever, but I didn‘t feel like I connected with either of the main characters. Overall, I just wanted more fleshing out of everything—and I think this may just be an issue I have with novellas.

39 likes1 stack add
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claudiuo
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Pickpick

Beautiful novella, I really loved the story and how it unfolded, in separate talks between the 2 main characters. Great writing! Thanks for TOR free ebook program, I already got the second book in The Singing Hills Cycle, I will start it soon.

Also finished last installment in the Murderbot series, Fugitive Telemetry; this series keep going strong and I love it.

Here is my #BookSpinBingo board

@BookishMarginalia #LitsyAtoZ

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Twainy
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Pickpick

🎧 Thank you HOOPLA & Josefine! Great novella!

(EDIT: I did warn you 😁 I‘m caught up for now, sorry so many)

Reasons I liked it (so I don‘t spoiler-it).

I feel a short story/novella is a difficult thing to write. Stephen King who can spend ten pages describing a fire hydrant is also a fantastic short story teller.

This book hits that mark. ⭐️ It‘s succinct. No extra words. I feel all the words belonged in this story.

⭐️⭐️⭐️2/3 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

Twainy
Also I like it when I‘m reading & something harkens back to a book I read in the past, not in a plagiarism sort of way but in a feeling or a place or a time or object etc. I was brought back to Man in the High Castle briefly and that grounded the fact that there‘s Asian folklore or history connected to this short story. ⭐️

👇🏻👇🏻
6mo
Twainy
While listening to this story it felt like a genuine bedtime story a mom would tell their child. The narration might be part of that feeling. It was comforting. ⭐️

And finally there‘s a RABBIT! She‘s a servant. I don‘t think it‘s supposed to be funny but when she brought a tray of 4 drinks all I could think was DID ANYTHING SPILL 😁 so it made me smile & think.

👇🏻
6mo
Twainy
Enjoy the woodland creatures!

I enjoyed this novella. Strong female characters.
6mo
22 likes3 comments
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vlwelser
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Pickpick

This got my attention because of the cover. I read the entire thing in an afternoon. Thankfully there's another book in the series because I definitely didn't get my fix. One main character is a bird. One is genderless. The third is an old woman named Rabbit. If you're still with me, definitely give this a go.

#BookSpinBingo square 10
@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 6mo
31 likes1 stack add1 comment
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kwmg40
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Pickpick

Excellent storytelling in this Hugo Best Novella nominee! An elderly woman who was a servant to a former empress tells a cleric about her time at the court, in a story with some surprising twists. @hugoawards @hugo2021

I'm at 9 hours and 20 minutes for the #20in4 readathon. One more day to go!
@Andrew65

Andrew65 Doing great 👏👏👏 6mo
26 likes1 stack add1 comment
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booksandsympathy
Pickpick

"Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves". Such a vibrant story told in so few pages! It's quite impressive that the author can build this whole world in less than 120 pages. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Nghi Vo.

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booksandsympathy
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Next book in the #Asianreadathon. A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This book chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy. The country represented is Vietnam.

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BookishTrish
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Pickpick

A very quick listen. It was easy to get caught up in the world and the story. #audiorisotto

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effani
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Pickpick

I loved this book in a way that I'm not sure I can put into words. It's about the way that material objects and memories combine to make history. It's about power in different forms - what it gives and what it takes away. I think I'll be thinking about it for a long time, and I can't wait to read the sequel.

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xicanti
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I started this beautiful little book late last night, continued it over breakfast, and finished it just now.

43 likes1 stack add
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danimgill
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Pickpick

At first I was bummed about the rainy day we had today (that might be snow overnight? I'm over you, March) but the gloomy atmosphere after work turned out to be the perfect ambience for this fairy tale of a novella. I was utterly confused at first but fell into the story relatively quickly, and I think Nghi Vo has a gift for wonderful prose. I never felt truly immersed in the story's world but I still liked it and will read more from this author.

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effani
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Here's my March #BookSpin list. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out! @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!!! 9mo
22 likes1 stack add1 comment
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cleoh
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“Something wants to eat you,” called Almost Brilliant from her perch in a nearby tree, “and I shall not be sorry if it does.”

#firstlinefridays @ShyBookOwl

45 likes1 stack add
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Angitron
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Pickpick

Beautifully written fairy tale-like short story. I loved the way each portion of the story was related to an object. Excited to read the next book in the series!

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UnidragonFrag
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Pickpick

This was so beautifully written and though just a novella, didn't leave me wanting for information nor did it overload me with it. Interesting story of women, both the ones in power and those very much not, and politics and how history can be distorted or erased. Looking forward to the sequel and Vo's soon to be released novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, which is a queer retelling of the Great Gatsby! 😱

51 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MsLeah8417
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

ChaoticMissAdventures I got access to her new book, it was my first of hers and it was so good, love her writing. 11mo
MsLeah8417 @ChaoticMissAdventures I have The Chosen and the Beautiful on my TBR ☺️ 11mo
13 likes2 comments
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SassenachTheBookWizard
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This morning's read

MidnightBookGirl Very cool cover! 11mo
70 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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leahrosereads
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Pickpick

I feel like I'm always saying it, but this right here, is why I love novellas so much. In 100 pages (sometimes a little more) I find myself running the gambit of emotions. Anger, hurt, joy, sorrow. This book made me feel them all and so much more, and I loved every moment.

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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Pickpick

A beautifully quiet, powerful novella about a woman servant, nicknamed Rabbit, who served an empress who overthrew the empire she was forced to marry into as a foreigner (she is incidentally queer too!). Rabbit's story is told through a frame narrative of a nonbinary cleric / archivist who visits Rabbit and the empress's former home in exile by a magical lake surrounded by ghosts. Gorgeous writing, understated emotional resonance.

42 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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swynn
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Pickpick

Between the death of one empress and the coronation of another, a cleric/historian meets a former servant of the former empress, and listens to the story of her rise. It's a crafty novella, with stories inside stories, often told through indirection, and as interested how a story is told as in the story itself. I liked it much, and will read the next.

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Grrlbrarian
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Pickpick

Loved this novella. So much to unpack and elegantly told. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ooh, and I‘ve now snagged both my #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 12mo
30 likes1 comment
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RainyDayReading
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Pickpick

Wow. I don‘t know what I was expecting but it definitely wasn‘t this! Such a beautifully written story with fascinating characters told in such a short amount of time (this is a novella). This feels almost like reading a fairytale, absolutely lovely. There‘s the story being told and the story you get when you read between the lines and the weight of it was surprising for such a small book. #merryreaders #wintergames2020 @Clwojick

swynn Oooh, this one is in my stack for this month. Glad to hear you liked it so well! 12mo
JazzFeathers Needs! 12mo
Clwojick Stacking! ♥️ 12mo
40 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Pickpick

There‘s so much here for such a short novel. Very compelling story with a great setting and characters. 4⭐️ #hoopla

33 likes1 stack add
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asterese

"Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves."

Finally knowing the context of this quote was just
...??

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asterese
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Pickpick

Why aren't novellas more popular these days? In so few pages and words, I felt like I passed through an entire world and history here. 🥺😲

This is a must-read.

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speljamr
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Pickpick

Yet another great TOR novella story. This one is about an empress who out-schemes her master. There will be a follow-up book to this in December.

#fantasy

57 likes2 stack adds
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booksandsympathy
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So I was excited to learn my local library has a summer reading program for all ages. I decided to participate and created an avatar for myself too. I reached 100% today and have now won a free food coupon at Raising Cain's, a state parks pass, and a free book! This is the book I chose. I get to pick up my prizes next month.

julesG Congratulations! 1y
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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AutumnRLS
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I've never met a TOR novella I didn't love!

Tracyantoon Agreed!! Wish I could find them more readily at the library! 1y
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Jillsmith
Mehso-so

This is really short if you want a quick read.

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julesG
Pickpick

It's a quick read. I'm sure I'd have given it 4 stars, instead of 3, if the gender neutral pronoun hadn't puzzled me so much. I know why it's there, but it is confusing.

Quick #buddyread with @DuckOfDoom and @Maike

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DuckOfDoom
Pickpick

The story feels familiar, but the storytelling is great.
The length of the book is exactly right and I loved the small worldbuilding details, the item lists, and Almost Brilliant.
#buddyread with @julesG and @Maike

29 likes2 stack adds
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aartichapati
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Pickpick

Really beautiful and intricate storytelling in only 100 pages! I wish it was longer. Loved the setting and the characters and the way the author unwrapped the story. Can‘t wait to read more by her.

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Soscha
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My quarantine care package has arrived!

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MsLeah8417
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This definitely felt more like a long short story than a novella. I liked it, I didn't love it. I feel like she went too spare with the writing. Which is a pity because the concept is great, the characters had real promise but I felt kept at a beautifully written distance from them. Still a pick and an author I would read again, I'd just like a bit more visceral connection.

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ness
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Pickpick

This novella is stunning. It feels like This Is How You Lose the Time War and Sorcerer to the Crown and the Tensorate series. It‘s beautiful and fierce, and I loved every word.

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IhoardBOOKS
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Pickpick

I read this thanks to #Netgalley. This is a wonderful novella that unfolds into a beautiful story set in an imperial China like setting. The story tells of how a lonely and mostly reviled woman, In-yo, got her own back from the ones who sought to lay her low and keep her there. It is a puzzle story that each chapter unfolds and lets you know how In-yo arrived, what she arrived to, and how she started her slow rise to power. Beautiful and amazing.

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Briary
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Finally it's Friday! Hopefully I will have a restful weekend full of books for a change.

I'm finishing up The Return of the King, and, as I am wont to do, started a few new books. Attenborough is a joy always, Black Sheep a soothing reread, and The Empress of Salt and Fortune awaited new release. So I should be content for the weekend. 📚🎧👾

12 likes1 stack add
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IhoardBOOKS
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Such a stellar novella. What unfolds is a beautiful, complex story set in an imperial China like setting. The story tells of how a lonely and mostly reviled woman, In-yo, from the north got her own back from the ones who sought to lay her low and keep her there. It is a puzzle story that each chapter unfolds and lets you know how In-yo arrived, what she arrived to, and how she started her slow rise to power.

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Briary
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More books I am piling to my overflowing shopping basket.. But I seem to have missed The Epic Crush of Genie Lo when it came. Chinese folklore brought to this day, monkey king, and demons, and a perfectionist heroine who finds herself to be an immortal. Fun!

And The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a Tor novella coming out in March. Asian period drama, revenge, angry women, and, hear me out: WAR MAMMOTHS.