Reviews for Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard

joceraptor's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes

4.0


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otrops's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

domreadsall's review

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emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

Actual rating: 3.5/5

Fireheart Tiger is a short novella that focuses on Thanh, a quiet princess who acts as a diplomat when the nation of Ephteria comes to try and claim more of Thanh’s home country for their own. While I loved the premise and enjoyed some elements of the execution, Fireheart Tiger didn’t quite live up to my (admittedly high) expectations.

I found the prose gorgeous in Fireheart Tiger—there were so many turns of phrase I highlighted for their elegance and beauty. The overall atmosphere and the glimpses we get of the worldbuilding were some of my favourite parts, though I definitely wanted more worldbuilding. Thanh as a main character in particular shines in my opinion, and her personal arc through the novella was engaging and satisfying.

However, I think I went into the novella expecting a more lighthearted sapphic fantasy romance, but that wasn’t what I got. I think the path Fireheart Tiger takes has important messages and this didn’t knock down my rating; it handles more serious topics like colonization, abuse, trauma, and self-discovery quite well. What did knock down my rating was a lack of clear character motivation and rushed character development; there was a bit of whiplash in moving from one situation to the next without sufficient grounds to establish it. Were the novella a little longer to let the characters and world breathe more, I think it would have been a full 4 stars for me.

Overall, I still think this was a solid read that many will enjoy, particularly if you (like me) have been vibing with the non-Eurocentric queer fantasy we’ve been blessed with in the last couple years; I haven’t seen Vietnamese-inspired fantasy much at all and I’m glad it’s in the world!

Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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tango's review

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adventurous fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.0

catapocalypse's review

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emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

 This is a brief, fiery whirlwind of a story about a princess trying to figure out love and how to secure freedom for herself and for her country. The kingdom is inspired by Vietnam, fending off an encroaching colonizer power. Thanh is a princess who's always been made to feel of lesser import by the Queen, but her past "stay" in imperialist Ephteria has granted her insight into their motives and workings to assist her mother with trade negotiations between the kingdoms. The meetings bring a couple things to light which have haunted Thanh since that stay: Ephterian princess Eldris seeks to reignite their youthful affair, and the fire that burned down the Ephterian palace, almost taking Thanh with it, seems to have followed her home. Neither are entirely what they seem to be.

It's difficult to say too much about a read so short without spoiling things! It's only a quick taste of a compelling world. But it has important things to say about the dynamics between imperial powers and those they work to colonize, and how even a romance between princesses is not exempt from those dynamics. 

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serenityasice's review

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4.0

A very good, Southeast Asian-flavored novella that explores abusive relationships and learning to heal from that, and something I found personally relevant. I felt the story needed more buildup in between major events, but Aliette de Bodard genuinely depicts abuse wonderfully in here, in several different ways, and I think it's well worth a read and discussion re. tropes surrounding romance.

lylah's review

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emotional hopeful reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
There’s a lot packed into this little novella—I wish it were longer if only to get a bigger glimpse into this intricately detailed world that Aliette de Bodard so stunningly sweeps you into. The main character Thanh deals with her past trauma and the reemergence of a controlling ex who, while trying to woo her again, is also trying to make her country bow down to her empire—an unfair dynamic from all angles, and one that Thanh gets realistically manipulated into. 
 
As a side note, I remember reading an Asimov three times this length with all male characters and being disappointed that there was not a single woman. This book has maybe one man in it and he gets maybe one line so amen to that.

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mweis's review

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emotional reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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never_sam's review

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emotional hopeful mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

llincathryn's review

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emotional hopeful mysterious fast-paced

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