The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1)
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama 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. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.
TITLE: The Empress of Salt and Fortune
AUTHOR: Nghi Vo
LENGTH: 112 pages
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Main Character(s).
*I received a review copy as part of the 2021 Hugo voters packet.
THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE unwinds layers of grief and years of confinement amidst luxury into the willing ears of a Cleric sent to record all they can.
The layering of the framing narrative and the tale being told made this feel like it has the scope of a much larger novel while keeping the intimacy of a personal story told by one person to another over an ultimately brief period of time. I loved it and I'm eager to read more in this series.
CW for xenophobia, grief, pregnancy, medical trauma (not depicted), death.