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Review: Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

March 31, 2018

Review: Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

About the Book

Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appareance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.

A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.

As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past…and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars…

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this. WOW, talk about fabulous. Spaceships and detectives. A Sherlock Holmes style mystery. The “Dr Watson” character is a spaceship – which is an amazingly original idea and as a sci fi fan I simply loved it. Poor The Shadow’s Child. Traumatised from war, she just wants to make enough money to pay her rent. She meets the strange and cold, Long Chau, who offers her money for a trip into deep space to collect a body for her experiments. Instead they find a mystery that must be solved in order to save a life.

I am a massive fan of crime mysteries and sci fi. I love the way deep space is portrayed here. So mysterious and creeptastic. I really wanted to see this on a big screen. It is a new spin on space travel that I desperately want to see more of. The AI mindship The Shadow’s Child’s avatar to communicate is a unique character and story telling idea. And I want to read more of Long Chau’s deductions.

This is only a novella but I savored every word and boy I wanted more. I brought the limited edition hardcopy and it is simply beautiful. I do hope author Aliette de Bodard writes more adventures for Long Chau and The Shadow’s Child.


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