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October 27, 2022

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo ~ a Review

by MK French

Cleric Chih of the Singing Hills continues to record stories. This time, they go to the riverlands to hear about near-immortal martial artists who haunt the region. Chih runs into several people along the way, including members of a feud, becoming part of the history they want to record.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of Asian fantasy novel Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo
October 2022; Tordotcom; 978-1250851420
ebook, print (112 pages); fantasy

Into the Riverlands
is the third book of the Singing Hills Cycle, and my review for When The Tiger Came Down The Mountain is available here. Chih is still accompanied by Almost Brilliant, a talking bird with an incredible memory. There's no need to have read the prior books, though they're definitely fun and you won't regret picking them up. This book is more wuxia inspired (is there a term for Vietnamese wuxia?) and some of Chih's traveling companions had been trained in Chinese styles, leading to the impressive fight in the inn that opens this tale. As with the other books, there are multiple stories nested within this one, as Chih collects stories and folklore. I happen to really enjoy that kind of story and love Chih's job.

In addition to the lovely stories making up the riverland culture, we see multiple fights and glimpses into martial lore and skill, the way Chih tries to set a peaceful example and is pushed a little out of their comfort zone. Chih is horrified by violence and instead continues to work on healing and collecting stories. This becomes a strength when comforting children and those outside of battle, and some of the stories were clues as to the identity of Chih's companions on her route. It's subtle, and a really fun reveal when I figured it out.

Buy Into the Riverlands 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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