Reviews

Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances , by Aliette de Bodard

n8b's review

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adventurous emotional funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

imyril's review

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adventurous mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

jessie_h's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious medium-paced

5.0

Y'all! My favorite dragon prince and his murder husband are back to solve another murder mystery and I am literally the heart eyes emoji now that I've finished! This novella was everything! 

It starts off with Thuan (the soft bookish dragon husband) and Asmodeus (the stabby overprotective fallen angel husband with lots of knives) babysitting while visiting Thuan’s family. They soon find a ghost and uncover a murder that leads them into all sorts of troubles ranging from being attacked while babysitting to an ex-lover making an appearance. It’s mixed together with a hefty dash of emotional struggle, knives, and romance. 

Aliette de Bodard has built such an intriguing gothic fantasy world that instantly sucks me in. Her writing is beautiful and I adored the Vietnamese mythology mixed with the lore on fallen angels. The plot was intriguing and was a good mix of action, romance, and comedy. The babysitting scenes alone had me grinning like a loon. My heart didn’t know it needed the scenes with Asmodeus and Thuan being uncles. My heart is a pile of goo reading about how protective they are of all the children.

My favorite part though was the romance. Thuan and Asmodeus have come a long way since the first book but their marriage isn’t without its issues and their relationship struggles kept me glued to my ereader. I needed to know if things were going to be okay or not!

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope with everything I have that we get even more novellas about my favorite murder husbands! I really can’t get enough of them or this world.

Queer Rep: Bisexual, Gay, M/M Romance

*ARC provided by the Publisher via Netgalley


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adancewithbooks's review

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funny mysterious 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

 Thank you to JABberwocky Literary Agency and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

Before reading this short novella, I first read of Dragons, Feast and Murder and The Dominion of the Fallen trilogy in a week and a half or so. I was very much prepared for this world. While I know this novella is being advertized as a standalone novella, I can't help but feel that it is the best to have read those before diving into this.

And I say this because this novella delves a little deeper into the relationship between Thuan and Asmodeus. A lot of their relationship is settled in the trilogy where this novella is a companion too. But there is still a lot of things they don't talk about a lot. They've been tossed into this and that situation. And talking things out was never part of the repertoire for them. But in this book they have to. I think to really appreciate that and to appreciate how much that means for a character like Asmodeus you need to have read the previous installments. And how our duo each deals with things so very differently. Perhaps so very different from what is expected from them. A lot would pick Thuan as the caring one but in this instance it goes a little differently. I like how the author set that up.

Outside of that it is interesting to once again return to the dragon world and to see the two that the two young ones have grown up so much. The plot in itself wasn't quite as interesting as the dressing up was. I loved reading it for the characters that I have grown to love. 

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shanaqui's review

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adventurous emotional funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances picks up on Thuan and Asmodeus from Aliette de Bodard's Dominion of the Fallen world once more, and once more they're in the world of Thuan's birth rather than safe (well, relatively slow) in Asmodeus' particular domain. As ever, they love each other very much, but Asmodeus is a stabby creature of revenge, while Thuan believes himself saner and more just... though it does become clear that Asmodeus is capable of love, self-sacrifice and reaching for justice, while Thuan is more hide-bound than he'd like to admit.

It's not quite "together, they fight crime", but it's not far off either. While babysitting, they quickly stumble upon a mystery and a ghost, and following that to where it leads promptly exposes all the stress-fractures in their relationship, and all the flaws of both of them.

For fans of the characters, it's lovely; it's being billed as a one-shot, which I wouldn't say is entirely true. I think it works on its own, probably, but there's more to it when you can see it against the backdrop of the Dominion of the Fallen books, and the last of Asmodeus and Thuan's relationship. That said, you don't need to have read them recently (I haven't), because it gives a lot of cues about their background to help make things clear.

It was a fun read, for sure, and I'll pick up anything else that happens to come out about Asmodeus and Thuan.

jce's review

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adventurous funny hopeful reflective sad tense
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? Yes

4.0

 This was an interesting and enjoyable read. It's quite short, and while it's described as a stand alone, I did feel I would have enjoyed it more had I read previous books set in this world. There was a lot happening with the fantasy and magical elements and I occasionally felt a bit lost. I did really love the characters, enough that I'd like to read the first book in the series. And the world was intriguing for sure, I just felt a little like I'd been thrown in the deep end and might have fared better with a clearer introduction. I'm not always a big fan of established relationship in trouble plot lines, but the relationship and characters really worked for me in this one. 

rheah's review

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lighthearted mysterious

3.0

Aliette de Bodard is always hit or miss for me and this one was a miss for me. My enjoyment of her stories is always VERY subjective so do not let me turn you away from this story.

If you want cozy fantasy with an established gay couple who just wants some peace and quiet and spend some time with their children but instead gets roped into a ghost mystery this is for you.

I think that why didn't work for me here was the dialogues. They felt a bit stiff and I didn't like the many onomatopoeia in the text.

sahibooknerd's review

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adventurous dark emotional funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5


I’ve been following the journey of this book on social media since the author decided to write it just for fun and I’ve been so so excited for its release. And when I got the opportunity to request for an arc, I jumped on it immediately. And then had to read it even though it doesn’t release for months. 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you should know that Aliette is one of my favorite authors and I’m always in love with her short stories and novellas in particular. And this one is even more special because I adore Asmodeus and Thuan as characters and as a couple. It’s fun that this sequel to Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders is again set during the their vacation in the underwater dragon kingdom and they end up having to solve murders. The whole idea of Asmodeus babysitting is hilarious and I was very interested to see it, but what the author gives us is so much more. 

Asmodeus and Thuan are vastly different people and it’s always fascinating to see how their relationship actually works. And this story which takes place six years after their marriage shows that it takes hard work to keep their relationship strong. Thuan is a compassionate cinnamon roll who can be self sacrificial when it comes to people he loves, but the famously stabby Asmodeus can also be the same if he decides to protect someone. They are very much at odds with each other in this story about how to go about solving the murders and protecting a certain someone but we know that ultimately they will be fine and their love will sustain. Their relationship with their nieces Ai Nhi and Camille is amazing and even the girls seemed so taken with their Unka Thuan and Unka Asmo. The kids are also brave and kind and very thoughtful, even in dangerous circumstances they don’t fully understand. The murder mystery itself is fairly straightforward and a fascinating exploration of toxic masculinity, but it’s the characters and their interactions that make this book fun. 

To conclude, this novella was everything I expected from it and more. Along with a serial murder mystery, we have endearing ghost children, commentary on the various ways of correctly and wrongly brewing tea, insights into an established relationship with diametrically opposite personalities, and lots of fun interactions. I can only hope the author will continue to write more stories featuring my favorite murder husbands. 
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