This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclaimer policy for more info.
This review comes out late because I really need time to process this The Empress of Salt and Fortune. I, personally, don’t read novellas as much – in fact, I thought this book was a novel! I probably might not have picked this book up if it was a novella, not because I don’t find it interesting but because I am unfamiliar with novellas. I was unsure whether a novella could be as “meaty” as a full length novel. Fortunately, I was proven wrong! But we’re not here to talk about my reading biases.
Before I get on with the review, here are some storytelling highlights from The Empress of Salt and Fortune:
🐇 Imperial Chinese setting
🐇 Critiques on power and monarchy
🐇 Fierce female friendships
🐇 Angry women taking back their rights
🐇 Anecdotal storytelling
🐇 Non-binary representation
🐇 Celebrating the untold stories of women’s achievements
THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE BY NGHI VO
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.
🌺 CHECK OUT THE BOOK ON GOODREADS
🌺 PURCHASE FROM BOOK DEPOSITORY (WORLDWIDE AND FREE SHIPPING)
IF YOU WANT TO SUPPORT ME, FEEL FREE TO SHOP THE ABOVE LINKS AS I MAKE A SMALL COMMISSION OFF OF YOUR PURCHASES WITH NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.
Where do I begin with this book?
Reading The Empress of Salt and Fortune has been an enlightening experience. I don’t say that lightly. By enlightening, I mean, it has changed how I have viewed story-telling. The simplicity and detail in this novella are astounding. Nghi Vo’s writing is lyrical. The emotions they have poured into this 128 paged novella is truly inspiring. The author took us from curiosity to anger, to joy, to grief in the span of these pages.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune is certainly a feminist tale of women rising up against injustice. In some ways, this can be through a silent but cunning plan, in others, it is simply telling the story one’s story. I love the disconnected yet emotional perspective the author lent to the book. The friendship between the characters is seen through Rabbit. The loyalty and strength the women found in each other were inspiring. We know that their story would have been as bold without the friendships they cultivated along the way.
🌺 Related Review: THE SWORD OF KAIGEN BY M.L. WANG: A JAPANESE INSPIRED MILITARY FANTASY ON TRAGEDY, LOSS, AND FAMILY
My only regret is that this novella had not been a novel. I would have loved to read more and yet, I am truly satisfied with the short encounter Nghi Vo gave us. This is an author I plan to read more from.
Thank you for reading my review!
🌺 Have you read The Empress of Salt and Fortune?
🌺 Do you enjoy reading novellas or prefer novels?
🌺 Which fantasy novellas would recommend I read?
If you enjoy my work here at Camillea Reads, consider helping me by donating to my buying me a coffee through ko-fi, using my Book Depository affiliate link or subscribing to my Patreon where I create YA Books and writer discussions!