Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Empress of Salt and Fortune, by Nghi Vo

★★★★☆ Intricate and Moving

(Silkpunk) An elderly lady who was once handmaiden to the former empress tells a young monk the story of what really happened during the six years the empress was in exile. (21,205 words; Time: 1h:10m)

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"The Empress of Salt and Fortune," by (edited by Ruoxi Chen), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.194 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a fine little story about how Rabbit sacrificed everything for the empress and what she got in return.

Perhaps the best part is the way we gradually learn more and more about the history of this place and the specific tactics the empress used to accomplish her victory over the old emperor.

The most moving parts of the story involve Rabbit’s relationship with young Sukai. The actual identity of the new empress is a pleasant revelation as well, but I saw it coming.

Con: The formula of “young woman loses her one true love but finds him again when she dies of old age” is a tried-and-true tear-jerker. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, but the relationship between Rabbit and Sukai is just a small part of the story. It’s weird that the whole emotional focus of the story is on them.

The real protagonist of the story is In-Yo, and her ceaseless effort to reach her goal drives everything that happens. But she remains rather distant to us, and her final success happens off-stage.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. I give this 4 1/2 stars. It is a very good story. Very worth reading for award consideration.

    There were 2 points of focus. There was Rabbit and Sukai, and Rabbit and the Empress.

    Almost Brilliant was a delightful minor character.