The Empress of Salt and Fortune is the first novella in the Singing Hills Cycle by Nghi Vo.
Finished on: 30.12.2021
[Here’s my review of the second novella.]
Cleric Chih arrives at Thriving Fortune, long since abandoned after the death of the Empress. They have been sent there to record everything of note for the Singing Hills Monastery. Apart from the things that remain in Thriving Fortune, there is also Rabbit. She used to be a servant of the Empress In-yo. Rabbit agrees to tell Chih the Empress’ story – a story that is also Rabbit’s story in the end.
I read the second novella in the Cycle first (because I missed that it was the second novella), so I was more prepared for how utterly fantastic Vo’s writing and storytelling is. The Empress of Salt and Fortune proves that again, and expecting it doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is a novella by Nghi Vo. It’s part of The Singing Hills Cycle, but stands alone.
Finished on: 27.9.2021
The cleric Chih is on a story-gathering mission that brings them to a group of mammoth riders who promise to lead them across the mountain. But on their way, they get trapped by three hungry tigers. To keep the tigers from eating themself and their companions, Chih promises the tigers a story – the story of the scholar Dieu and her tiger lover Ho Thi Thao. As Chih spins their tale, the tigers do have some corrections to offer, though.
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is a beautiful, intricate piece of writing that I found absolutely lovely. I can’t wait to dive more into this world.