A review by catapocalypse
Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard

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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