THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE BY NGHI VO: A BEAUTIFUL NARRATIVE ON FIERCE FRIENDSHIPS AND THE ANGER OF WOMEN

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Mabuhay, friends!

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

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THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE BY NGHI VO

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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.

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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.

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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?

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19 thoughts on “THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE BY NGHI VO: A BEAUTIFUL NARRATIVE ON FIERCE FRIENDSHIPS AND THE ANGER OF WOMEN

  1. Belle says:

    This book sounds so good—I’m really curious about the writing style 😮! I personally enjoy novellas because they’re very digestible for my scattered brain haha. I can see how you’d want this book to be longer though! Lovely review, Cam 🙂!

    Like

  2. Erin Tweed says:

    You had me at “fierce female friendships.” These kind of relationships need to be shown more in all types of media. I hadn’t heard of this book until now, but it sounds so great. Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    Fierce female friendships is a way to get a book on my list!!! This sounds incredible, great review!

    & I feel the same way about novellas. I don’t read them often because I am so in love with worldbuilding, but the few I have read have been incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sophia Ismaa says:

    This looks amazing, I’ve added it on goodreads. I can’t help but think of Sansa Stark because of the moving south for a political marriage. I can’t wait to read it, maybe it’s all the more impactful because of its length! Also, your Pinterest visuals are amazing, you should probably give us all a lesson.

    Like

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