Aliette De Bodard
Tor, 2021 (2021)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's an unusual romantic fantasy, featuring a lesbian love triangle - Aliette De Bodard's
. It stars dark-skinned young princess Thanh of Binh Hai. Eight years before, she was sent at age sixteen to the powerful realm of Ephteria as a hostage. While there, she formed a relationship with Ephteria's Princess Eldris, heir to the throne.
s the story opens, Thanh recalls the night the Ephterian palace burned. Forgotten in her attic room, she escaped alongside Hai serving girl Giang, who then disappeared. Now, home in Binh Hai, she awaits an Ephterian trade delegation, from whom she expects to hear
'the truth of steel beneath the silver-tongued platitudes.
' She worries about things mysteriously catching fire around her, as has happened since her return. She's anxious not to keep disappointing her mother, the empress.
hanh is unsettled to see Eldris leading the delegation. When they are alone, they resume their relationship, but where will it lead? Thanh knows that Eldris likes the unattainable but grows quickly bored. Then, Giang appears again, revealing that she's a living elemental, whose accidental release caused the palace to burn. To Giang, Thanh is now her '
' and they comfort each other.
fter Thanh agrees to be Eldris' consort, she sees a darker side to her fiancee. How will this be resolved without Thanh's home being burnt to ashes? Read
to see how Thanh comes fully of age and into her true self.
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