• Well Red

Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves


Title: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Author: Nghi Vo

Published: 2020

Publisher: Tor


Rating: ****.5


Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Empire of Anh

Difficulty: Mild

Pages: 118

Series: Standalone


Always spoiler free.


I chose this book as part of an Instagram readathon (#ReadingAsiaPacific) created @candid_copywriter & @theurban_reader for April. I had sort of been aware of the book, but the Readathon challenged me to read new books, so I picked it up.


Here’s the thing. I don’t like novellas and short stories. I really, really dislike them, in fact.


I really, really loved this one.


The Empress of Salt and Fortune isn’t really about Empress In-yo, it’s about Rabbit.


The Empress of Salt and Fortune isn’t really about Rabbit, it’s about Empress In-yo.


What you get is a small snapshot into someone’s life. The Empress In-yo seems to have the most amazing life; her story could span a full series of books. Instead, Vo has chosen a focus on a short length of time, showcasing Empress In-yo’s life firstly through Rabbit explaining the significance of a series of belongings.


It’s a messy way of sharing a story, piece by piece, but so much more realistic. It’s all about what’s happening between the lines. And it’s not really about Empress In-yo’s past, it’s about the bond between Rabbit and Empress In-yo.


I can see how some people may not have enjoyed how the novella was laid out. You get the story through the eyes of the Cleric, listening to the stories told from the perspective of Rabbit, and it unfolds in a way where you begin confused, and then you gain understanding as you are told each new story, bit by bit.


It’s short, but completely, perfectly formed. It doesn’t need to be longer. You can understand everything you need to in the 118 pages, and where the story may lack exposition, each new belonging shares a new snapshot that allows you to understand more about Rabbit and Empress In-yo.


I don’t really know what else to say without giving something away. It’s beautifully written. I loved it. I would always recommend it.


Well Red Reviews


Would I recommend this book? YES


Favourite quote(s):


“Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.”

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