The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a book that is as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. I mean look at the cover ????. The story 100% delivers on the expectations the cover brings into play.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a phenomenal fantasy novella. I cannot recommend it enough. Nghi Vo has beautifully lush writing that makes this very short novella (it’s only 112 pages!) feel fully fleshed out despite it’s length. It is a truly wonderful book.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune follows Chih, a non-binary cleric who travels the country recording verbal histories. They are not really the focus of the story in this book, but rather a vessel for recording the story who we learn the story through. The framing of the story is excellently done and it suits the novella format perfectly.
Instead, we learn the story of the Empress. A woman who was married to the Emperor as, essentially, a part of a treaty. It is a sapphic story, full of anger and the power of angry women. Angry women will fuck you up when you have wronged them, end of story.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune has a range of different queer representation and is a deeply feminist story. It is also an incredibly enjoyable read. Nghi Vo is clearly a skilled writer and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
If you haven’t checked The Empress is Salt and Fortune out yet, I would definitely recommend it! Especially since the next book (which also reads as a standalone) in the series comes out Today! You can read my review of When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain here.