Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Tordotcom • Kirkus Reviews
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic . . . and against her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and she soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
Four cultures collide in this disjointed journey across a land reminiscent of post-colonial Southeast Asia. Iron Prince Jimuro of Tomoda, last of his bloodline, fights to make it to his own coronation, hoping to establish an unprecedented reign of peace. Bitter and remorseful Tala of the Sanbu Islands wears her anger like a shield, and ensuring the safety of Prince Jimuro is the only goal that spurs her on. Lee Yeon-Ji of the Jeongson vassal state of Shang, who lives by her rule of "leave them before they leave you," is recruited into the powerful Li-Quan police force and sent to capture the prince. Princess Shang Xiulan vies for the Shang throne against her own sister by using the Iron Prince as an offering. Magic abilities pop up without notice as the plot requires, and the geographical staging and overlapping territories are confusing. Krueger (Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge) does little to develop the plot or the fantastical aspects of the setting, but the book teems with cultural references in the characters' personalities. Readers with a taste for Southeast Asian culture will appreciate the backdrop, even if they are less than won over by the story itself.
A story that’s stuck with me
I love the world building and the depth of each character. Reader, I picked this book up because of the reviews on the book jacket, and it did not disappoint. Give it a go!
A riveting fantasy novel set in an Asian inspired world
I was given a chance by Penguin Random House and NetGalley to read this book early. It was a deeply engaging and enjoyable ride from the very first page. The authorial voice is both excellent and exciting which enhances the superb world building. But the world, although lushly described, is only the beginning. What will really captivate you are the amazing characters, each with their own distinct narrative voices. Not to mention that the magic system is quite unique and very entertaining to read about. If you're looking for a fantasy book set in an Asian inspired world with an all Asian cast and a battery of queer main and side characters that is extremely well written, then I suggest you pick up this book.
Pokemon in Real Life - No Joke
This book was fantastic. I can't rave about it highly enough. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy at Denver Pop Culture Con this year and get approved for a NetGalley, and I absolutely loved it! It may be a slow build, but it’s worth it. The author builds fantastic characters. The book is filled with moments that get you excited to continue on. I didn't think I'd be so impressed with a giant rat, or a box of mushrooms, but believe me when I tell you this book had me laughing, crying, and getting really worried about my favorite characters as the pages turned. I'm a big fan of Manga and Anime, and I think that really put this book over the top for me because I could (and would LOVE) to see it as an anime in the future. It's got it all, the tough military type, the reluctant ruler, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and the awkward but fantastic wannabe detective. I just couldn't stop reading it, and have already recommended it to my friends, book club, and random strangers. It's worth picking up a copy! You won't regret it! I loved it, and my boyfriend loved it, it appeals to all readers and it's got amazing representation of cultures and sexuality. It's fantastic and just want we need right now! Go read it!