The Singing Hills Cycle Books 1 and 2

The Empress of Salt and Fortune
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

Nghi Vo, 2020

Premise: These lightly linked novellas follow Chih, wandering cleric from the Singing Hills, in their capacity as collector of histories, stories, and the space between the two. 

Perfect. Divine. Breathtaking. If you love fantasy, if you love stories, stop what you're doing and read these. 

They can be read in either order (and there are more to come in the series), although I think starting with the first (The Empress of Salt and Fortune) might give a better introduction to the world. 

And what a world! Deeply fantastical and deeply Asian-inspired, it's a marvelous place to visit, if dangerous to live there. 

Each novella includes a frame story about Chih and a secondary story being told by one or more characters. In The Empress of Salt and Fortune, an elderly handmaiden cleverly reveals to the cleric the secrets behind recent power struggles in the empire of Anh. In When the Tiger Comes Down the Mountain, Chih tells a story they were taught about a long-ago romance between a tiger demon and a scholar, but there is another character with a competing version of the tale. 

The situation for Chih is rather different in each book, but both are completely engrossing, complex, and gorgeously written.

Highly, highly recommended. 

5 Stars - Awesome books. 

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