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February 14, 2021

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard ~ a Review

by MK French

Thanh is the youngest princess and had been sent to the northern kingdom of  Ephteria as a child. She returned home when the  Ephterian palace had burned down and is now serving as a diplomat in trade relations with Ephteria. The crown princess wants her and all that they're bargaining for, and won't take no for an answer. The fire that had raged years ago threatens to come again now.

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Fireheart Tiger
February 2021;; 978-1250793263
ebook, print (104 pages); fantasy

The cover of Fireheart Tiger is gorgeous, highlighting the imperial palaces of Vietnamese history, propped up with the guns  Ephteria uses to maintain their supremacy. This is overshadowed by Thanh and the fire cradled in her palm. Ultimately, Thanh has to choose between a volatile, controlling princess and a fire elemental gaining sentience, and the court intrigues between kingdoms hang in the balance. As with Aliette de Bodard's other novels, the language used is carefully chosen. It's generally sparse around Thanh, who is so used to being invisible and catering to others' needs. It's not just filial piety, but the dedication of a subject to her empress, so she's caught up in multiple chains to please her mother.

This is short, probably best called a novella. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because you can easily devour the book quickly. At the same time, you devour the book quickly and I was left wanting to know more in this universe. Eldris of Ephteriais a woman who carries a quiet menace, appearing well mannered in the beginning. Her entire team does as well, so that Thanh is trapped within her own home. When that desperation is broken and she takes ownership over her future and her desires, I cheered. She's clever, and better at political machinations than she thinks. I would love to see more of her future if there are more novels in this universe.

Buy Fireheart Tiger at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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