Series Review: Into Shadow Collection

Series Review: Into Shadow Collection

In this collection, seven fantasy authors release their stories in collaboration with Amazon as part of their first Original Stories collection. 

The Garden by Tomi Adeyemi 

Years after her mother disappeared in search of a mythical place called the Garden, Yuliana is determined to uncover the truth. 

This was one of the weakest stories in the collection. The Garden follows Yuliana travelling in Brazil with a guide to a mythical garden, hoping to find what her mother couldn’t. It sounds promising, except all we’re given is a tourist misbehaving, as the writer tries to convince you otherwise. This story was meant for a bigger stage, but even within these pages, Adeyemi couldn’t convince me. I like the concept of alternating prose and poetry, but what does it say when the prose reads better than the poetry? 

Persephone by Lev Gossman

Young Persephone hides within herself, especially since her father’s disappearance five years ago, but when the school bullies go too far, she discovers a power that might be the key to everything. 

Without giving too much of the plot away, I was surprised by the turn this story took. But Persephone’s voice drips with the stereotypical behaviour of a Disney Channel teen protagonist. I found the plot rather intriguing, but the tone of voice felt dejected and separate from the girl we see on the page. 

The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow 

Spared from death to fulfil a destiny, can the girl who became a weapon find her worth under the watchful eyes of the Prince? 

You have probably already seen this short story makes its rounds through social media, and for once, a story lives up to the hype. Six Deaths is a beautiful short story, speaking directly into the desire of the girl who has been told repeatedly to sacrifice everything for the empire’s good. Harrow evokes every emotion possible in such a short amount of words; what a bitter-sweet tale for a girl who deserves so much more. 

“I would rather love a coward than mourn a legend.” It was 2 am, and I was on the floor. 

Continue reading “Series Review: Into Shadow Collection”

Monthly Rewind: January 2021

Monthly Rewind: January 2021


I actually surprised myself by reading 15 books this month. I have never read this much in a month, but I chalk it up to the UK being on its third lockdown. And now that I’ve graduated, all I can do it look for graduate jobs and read. It feel weird having this much time to read, but I quite enjoyed most of the books I read this month!

  • Six of Crows – I have finally read Six of Crows! I had bought a copy back when it was released but I hadn’t finished the Grisha Trilogy yet. So this book slowly fell down my TBR list because I had taken so long to read the first series. I didn’t like the trilogy that much, but I can definitely see the improvement in SOC. Pray I don’t take four years to read its sequel.
  • Loveboat, Taipei – I have really surprised myself this year with reading more contemporary novels and actually enjoying them for once! Loveboat was so good!
  • The Chosen – Eh, a little disappointing considering I have enjoyed reading Matharu’s previous series with my cousin.
  • Remnants of the Atonement – First DNF of the year 😦 I requested an arc because of a reddit post, but now I feel like I’ve been bamboozled.
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown – “Yours, Red.” Two damn words and I was a MESS. Damn, who is this person I’ve become that suddenly enjoys contemporary.
  • The Song of Achilles (RE-READ) – I have been playing too much of Supergiant’s Hades. I’ve been desperately trying to reunite Patroclus and Achilles in-game, but it’s hard because I can never seem to find the room where Patroclus can be found.
  • A Place for Us – A book that hit a bit too deep for me. Man, I was sobbing at 3 am.
Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: January 2021”

Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chih is a simple cleric, tasked with their magical hoopoe, to chronicle the lives of the people around them. When they meet Rabbit, an older woman, together, they recall Rabbit’s journey and her life story as the handmaiden to Empress In-Yo. Each chapter reveals something new, something harrowing. Before the effect of each tale can settle in, Rabbit asked Chih “do you understand?”, urging them and the reader to read between the lines and understand the truth behind a history that was erased.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a near-epic tale, all condensed into a hundred pages. As Chih sorts through the home, Rabbit recounts her story. Her being given up by her own people to joining the Empress in a game of loyalty, assassinations, and fortune tellings will ultimately topple an empire. In-Yo was brought to the court in a marriage of alliance, and it becomes clear, she would not go as expected. When her child is ripped from her hands, her people murdered and thrown out their land; Empress In-yo turns to the oppressed. She finds strength and power in what people chose to overlook and uses that to her advantage. These people have a story as well, and if you’re patient enough, you can hear it in all its glory.

There is a subtlety in how Nghi Vo writes that takes your breath away with so little words. A world unfolds with every new discovery Chih uncovers at the estate, leading to a new story, a new piece to the former Empress in her rise and fall, her exile and rebellion. These characters rarely stay a chapter, but their emotional impact resonates until the very end. Chih’s present with Rabbit’s past is a story of hidden history finally coming to light. The way Vo forms the conversation is immersive and elegant. A story that feels like a fairytale.

The term quiet fantasy was only made known to me last year, and I’ve been somewhat fascinated with finding books that fall under that category. And The Empress of Salt and Fortune hits every mark. In such little space, Vo has constructed a fantasy tale that is graceful and poignant. A forever recommendation.