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Review: Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

June 2, 2021

About the Novella:

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.

Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.

Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

My thoughts:

I simply love Aliette de Bodard’s writing. The imagery and delicate yet stunning worldbuilding in this novella are divine to read. This one is full of tense political machinations and royal intrigue. There is also a layered secret f/f love (or two) and a magical fire elemental. Who could want anything more?

Thanh is a Princess but she is not the eldest child, she is the spare, therefore her role as a child is to be sent away to royal palace in ruling Ephteria to “learn” though really she is little more than a hostage. After a terrible (and mysterious) fire destroyed the palace she was sent home. Now her role is little more than a diplomatic negotiator (with little power as her mother still has final say).

Tensions rise when the Ephterian diplomatic party arrive with the intention of increasing their control over Thanh’s home and people. Within the party is Thanh’s first love. Their secret romance is threatened with exposure from many sides. Thanh’s love ignites. But that is not all that is in danger of destruction by fire.

The subtle tensions and political games are a delight to read. As are the soaring beautiful descriptions of the palace, people, dress and environment. A fabulous read that will leave you wanting more.

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