Siren Queen

Nghi Vo. Tordotcom, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-78883-2

Vo’s spellbinding latest (after The Chosen and the Beautiful) solidifies her position as a force to be reckoned with in speculative fiction. During the golden age of Hollywood’s studio system, names hold tremendous power. If a studio knows a star’s true name, it can control them, so cast and crew alike hide behind pseudonyms. After toiling on movie lots, a young Chinese American woman gets onto the screen by blackmailing a predatory director, earning a meeting with a bigwig where she takes her sister’s name, Luli Wei, as her own. But even after moving into the dorms on a major studio’s lot, casting doesn’t come quickly. Her first big break comes when she’s cast as a siren, and she goes on to make a career of playing monsters. Through these roles, she learns to stand tall as an outsider amid the bright lights and dark magic of Hollywood, loving and losing various female costars and outsmarting the men who seek to overpower her. Vo’s hypnotic prose blends metaphor with magic so seamlessly that reality itself becomes slippery. Her dazzling voice, evocative scene setting, and ambitious protagonist make this a knockout. (May)
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