Marjorie Liu is someone who’s books I have always enjoyed. I discovered her via the co-created Monstress graphic novel and found her dark and spellbinding narratives captivating since. When I learnt that her debut of short stories was due for release I was excited and after finishing the E-ARC I am not disappointed.
We are led by the hand into the deep heart of the tangled woods. A place that is full of unexpected detours, dangerous magic and sometimes even more dangerous women. We meet memorable characters such as the Apprentice witch who seeks her freedom from betrayal with the help of bones of the innocent and a meticulously plotted spell. Briar, a bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, who discovers her love for Rose, whose soul emerges once a week. A runaway princess trying to escape an arranged marriage finding a true family in a troupe of traveling actors at the borders of a deep and dark wood. And others too. Each with their own, sometimes dark and disturbing, story to tell.
Liu’s narratives are all woven together beautifully, each one dark, lush and truly spellbinding. I have to say I did enjoy all of them but my particular favourites were the novella, The Tangleroot Palace and Where the Heart Lives. All were perfect though. While short each story’s characters shined out, being strong and memorable. It was wonderful to read stories about powerful females who often save themselves and their loved ones. The beautiful love story between Briar and Rose was so well created and weaved.
It is truly an amazing debut of short fiction and I hope we see more in the future. I particularly enjoyed the little notes at the end of each story informing us more of the processes or creation of the stories and characters there in. A definite must read for fans of Monstress. Each story is perfectly contained but I did wish sometimes I could learn more about these spellbinding women and the worlds they inhabit.
I want to thank Titan Books and Netgalley for the chance to access an E-ARC of this title. I have already purchased a physical copy which I know will be read again and again.
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