The Tangleroot Palace: Stories

Marjorie Liu. Tachyon, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61696-352-1
Liu (the Monstress series) charms with this spellbinding collection of six short stories and one novella. The standouts are “The Briar and the Rose,” a darkly fascinating retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” in which a female duelist discovers her witch employer is living in the stolen body of Princess Rose, and helps Rose to regain it; and “Call Her Savage,” a steampunk western set during the Opium Wars and following half-Chinese antiheroine Lady Marshal as she struggles to be the hero others need her to be. Also of note are the haunting and eerie, “Sympathy for the Bones”; “The Last Dignity of Man,” about a would-be supervillain who realizes he must be his own superman; and two stories set in the world of Liu’s Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series: the atmospheric historical fantasy, “Where the Heart Lives,” which serves as a prequel to the series, and the dystopian “After the Blood,” about Amish vampires, set in the series’s future. The title novella offers a more standard secondary world fantasy, about a runaway princess drawn to an enchanted forest, but uses this familiar plot to probe the character’s feelings of being trapped. Liu’s mastery of so many different subgenres astounds, and her ear for language carries each story forward on gorgeously crafted sentences. This is a must-read. Agent: Duvall Osteen, Aragi Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 12/18/2020
Release date: 06/15/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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