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New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. “The Tan New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. “The Tangleroot Palace is charming and ruthless. Tales that feel new yet grounded in the infinitely ancient, a mythology for the coming age.” —Angela Slatter, author of The Bitterwood Bible “Marjorie Liu is magic! Her writing is passionate, lyric, gritty, and riveting. She belongs high on everyone’s must-read list.” —Elizabeth Lowell, author of Only Mine Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.


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New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. “The Tan New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. “The Tangleroot Palace is charming and ruthless. Tales that feel new yet grounded in the infinitely ancient, a mythology for the coming age.” —Angela Slatter, author of The Bitterwood Bible “Marjorie Liu is magic! Her writing is passionate, lyric, gritty, and riveting. She belongs high on everyone’s must-read list.” —Elizabeth Lowell, author of Only Mine Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

30 review for The Tangleroot Palace: Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    may ➹

    Inventive and transportive, magical and haunting, The Tangleroot Palace is a collection of seven unique short stories written with Liu’s beautifully flowing prose. Each story is the perfect length to let you revel in the intriguing worlds she creates, yet leaves you wanting more as well. From hoodoo dolls to supervillains to vampires, every story is unique and captivating, many reading like fairy tales or twisting regular tropes into new shapes. Honestly, I think this is one of the strongest ant Inventive and transportive, magical and haunting, The Tangleroot Palace is a collection of seven unique short stories written with Liu’s beautifully flowing prose. Each story is the perfect length to let you revel in the intriguing worlds she creates, yet leaves you wanting more as well. From hoodoo dolls to supervillains to vampires, every story is unique and captivating, many reading like fairy tales or twisting regular tropes into new shapes. Honestly, I think this is one of the strongest anthologies I’ve read yet, with me enjoying all but one of the stories. Overall content warnings (some stories have specific ones that I will mention later): murder, death, violence, gore, depictions of blood. —★— Sympathy for the Bones - ★★★★ I absolutely loved this one, so perfectly creepy and dark as it is. It’s written well, mystery sown in its words—not revealing too much yet affecting all the same. The story slowly unraveled around me as I took in the circumstances of the protagonist’s stolen life and the work she did. In essence, this is about freedom and taking your life into your own hands when it was destined for something else, and both the literal and metaphorical depictions of this through the use of hoodoo dolls was brilliant. CW: dismemberment The Briar and the Rose - ★★★★ A twist on the tale of Sleeping Beauty, this was darker than I expected it to be, but I loved it. I adored the (sapphic) romance that formed, where the sheer power of hope and love they had for each other was so wonderful to see. The villain of the story, a body-stealing witch hungering for power, was absolutely terrifying but well-crafted. As the author wrote, this is a “tale about women, and the power of women, and how women save each other and themselves through sisterhood and love.” Rep: lesbian MC CW: rape, suicidal ideation, miscarriage Call Her Savage - ★★★★ First of all, I want a full novel set in this world immediately, because the alternate China-Britain politics of it are so fascinating and I so badly want to see them explored more. Second, this story was just so cool. It stars a soldier who was accidentally born superhuman and raised as a weapon her whole life, following her life after war brings her trauma and changes the way she views herself and morality. I don’t want to say much, but the way this explored betrayal really appealed to me and had me losing my mind a bit. Rep: biracial (Chinese, Scottish) wlw MC CW: war The Last Dignity of Man - ★★★½ This story is kind of hilarious because this man is literally trying to be Lex Luthor while bioengineering giant worms. And honestly… that’s kind of why it didn’t fully work for me, because it’s absolutely wild and not all the parts clicked together. I really love the idea, someone who attempts to emulate a villain in hopes that a countering hero exists—and loves him—but it wasn’t executed as well as I wanted, especially with the giant waste-eating worms. But I think what is most compelling about this story is the feeling of loneliness that permeates it; it feels so real and tangible. Rep: gay MC CW: mention of suicide Where the Heart Lives - ★★★½ I loved so much of what was going on in this story—particularly the setting (an immortal woman in the form of a forest who takes people) and the themes (finding love and family when you have never been familiar with what those are). This truly reads like a fairy tale, with that whimsical whirlwind adventure feel to it. However, something about it was a bit eh for me and the story didn’t hit me as hard as the others did. After the Blood - ★★ I don’t have much to say about this one, because I didn’t really care about anything that happened. This story is about humans who became vampires after a virus took out 80% of the world’s population. I honestly was confused throughout the story, and the only part that interested me was what happened at the end. CW: animal death The Tangleroot Palace - ★★★★½ The titular novella of this collection, and my favorite, this takes the typical tale of a princess running away from home and an unwanted arranged marriage, and transforms it into a fascinating, magical story about illusions and agency. This was a story that slowly grew on me more and more as I kept reading, not fully invested at first but completely in love by the end. In the beginning, I was a little off-put by the romance and how insta-lovey it was, but then the end came and I became absolutely enamored by it, particularly with how I thought it subverted a typical trope. The setting, a magical forest ruled by an imprisoned woman, also grew in its intrigue over the course of the story. This novella just has such a fascinating exploration of illusions and truth and how the lines can be blurred to work for or against someone, as well as a feminist twist to the usual choiceless princess who cannot save herself, and it was the perfect choice to end the anthology. CW: mentions of parental death —★— If it wasn’t already clear, it was truly a joy to read this collection of short stories. Liu’s lush settings allows her to play with so many interesting themes and tropes, and I think that is why I loved almost every single story. If you want fresh, fairytale-like takes on fantasy with powerful magic and women, told through gorgeous writing and set in enthralling worlds, you will find everything you’re looking for within these pages. Thank you to Tachyon Publications for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    this is going to be everything... Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch this is going to be everything... Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mitticus

    For those that still are confused: NOT A COMIC BOOK. Anthology of short stories and novelletes , ranging from fantasy to horror and post-apocalypsis. Apparently a good portion of readers know Marjorie M. Liu from the graphic novel Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening, but I have been a fan of her ever since I read The Iron Hunt from her incredible urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss. Here she presents us with some of her short stories, of which I knew a couple; At the end of these Liu gives some comments f For those that still are confused: NOT A COMIC BOOK. Anthology of short stories and novelletes , ranging from fantasy to horror and post-apocalypsis. Apparently a good portion of readers know Marjorie M. Liu from the graphic novel Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening, but I have been a fan of her ever since I read The Iron Hunt from her incredible urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss. Here she presents us with some of her short stories, of which I knew a couple; At the end of these Liu gives some comments from when they were written, some of which she considers to be part of the universe of her ideas (like Dirk & Steel), that is to say full of magic. 1)“Sympathy for the Bones” (4.3 stars)-for me a re-read- is a tale full of dark magic , hoodoo dolls, witches, and desperation in the mountains. 2)“Briar and Rose” (5 stars) is a retelling of Sleepy Beauty. A very interesting, and again dark story, of saphic love, dark witches, and a woman warrior looking to free her love. Skip all the stereotypes. 3)“Call Her Savage” (3.5 stars) steampunk and alternate history, where China is at war with England, and have colonies in America (Scot-Irish and Chinese people). A Marshall is call back to help. War , betrayal, and pain. Took me a while to get me into this story, a bit confused by the setting. So much elements here. First frustration to hope for a full novel here. 4) “The Last Dignity of Man” (3 stars) a... genious mad scientist? a wannabe villain that dream about a hero? something like that. However, strangely this man with his loneliness pull at my feels. 5)“Where the Heart Lives”(3.5 stars) it's more in the fairytale side, with mysteries in the woods, strange dreams, a lost love, and a young woman finding acceptance and a place for herself. 6)“After the Blood” (3.5 stars) post-apocalypytic story, where the Amish are seek for farming skills, there are monsters in the woods, and a woman hide secrets but the powers calls. Oh, and a (view spoiler)[amish vampire. Reminds a tiny bit of Bill Compton here (hide spoiler)] . Cats are your best friends ;) Again , leaves us wishing for a novel here. 7)“Tangleroot Palace”(3.6 stars) A princess who must marry a warlord, escapes to the forest looking for a possible solution, But she found old magic (view spoiler)[This time reminds with the horned queen and crows of Malefica (hide spoiler)] . With a bit of humor , a bit predictable but quite charming. I like the idea of strong woman saving herself. And yes, a theme with the Woods, old magic, and souls trapped. Don't forget the broken people. +My thanks to Netgalley and publishers for the digital ARC.+ --------------------------------- Contain: (view spoiler)[ “Sympathy for the Bones” copyright © 2012. Originally published in An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Ace). | “Briar and Rose” copyright © 2016. Originally published in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Saga Press). | “Call Her Savage” copyright © 2010. Originally published in Masked, edited by Lou Anders. (Gallery Books). | “The Last Dignity of Man” copyright © 2013. Originally published in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius, edited by John Joseph Adams (Tor Books). | “Where the Heart Lives” copyright © 2012. Originally published on Smashwords. | “After the Blood” copyright © 2010. Originally published in Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love, edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin (Gallery Books). | “Tangleroot Palace” copyright © 2009. Originally published in Never After (Jove). (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Valliya Rennell

    3.25 stars **Many thanks to Majorie M. Liu, Tachyon Publications, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Release date: 15 June 2021** This short story anthology is one of the most interesting books I have read. I do not know if I have ever read one that made me experience such a range of emotions. There were a few that I absolutely loved and some that didn't really capture my interest as much. That being said, a few of these are an absolute must read! Sympathy for the Bones: 3 3.25 stars **Many thanks to Majorie M. Liu, Tachyon Publications, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Release date: 15 June 2021** This short story anthology is one of the most interesting books I have read. I do not know if I have ever read one that made me experience such a range of emotions. There were a few that I absolutely loved and some that didn't really capture my interest as much. That being said, a few of these are an absolute must read! Sympathy for the Bones: 3.5 stars This was the perfect story with which to start this anthology. Liu's whimsical writing sets the tone and the morbid twists are wonderful glimpses of what is to come. In fact, the moment I read the imagery found on page one, I thought I would absolutely love this because I absolutely love pretty but purposeful language. Although I did enjoy this (a lot) it wasn't my favorite mostly because of the confusing ending. Despite this, I have to give points for the voodoo themed story. I do not think I have ever read one. The parallelism that is utilised to move along morals was subtle but showed the influence of environment on our lives! I also love myself a good revenge story :) The Briar and the Rose: 4 stars A fairytale exactly like I like it (I wish the titular story was more like this one). One of my favorite genres(?) is retellings: I eat them up. Luckily for me, this was a Sleeping Beauty sapphic retelling. Liu creates a magical atmosphere where The Duelist and Carmela and Rose live. It works as a short story because it utilises time jumps, repetition, a character focus, and an ethereal fantasy element to move the story along. Once again I was a bit confused by the ending, but this time I didn't mind it as much because I already understood the ethereal nature of the story and it didn't pull me out of the text. Also the sprinkle of commentary was great. Call Her Savage: 2.75 stars This is a steampunk alternate history story about a woman named Xing. I thought this story was just below "good". The reason for this is because, unlike The Briar and the Rose, I do not think it worked well as a short story. This should have been a full length novel. There is much more that was needed to be elaborated on and wasn't. The ending also required an emotional connection and deeper understanding that just wasn't there because of the lack of context and word count. If the author ever makes this into a feature length novel, I'll gladly read it though! The Last Dignity of Man: 4.75 stars This is my FAVORITE short story I have ever read. I love superheroes. Though I do consider myself more of a Marvel fan than DC, I absolutely loved the relation between escapism and mental health and self-projecting onto heroes and villains. It is a masterful story. Fits perfectly into the constraints because we get context from setting clues and the way that Alexander Lutheran thinks. It has a bittersweet ending that will stay with me for a long time. Cannot recommend this enough. (Be sure to push through the first page or so, the beginning is a bit weird). Where the Heart Lives: 3 stars This is apparently a prequel to a series called Dirk & Steele, maybe I'll check it out now because this story definitely made me intrigued. Unfortunately, I kind of wished that this would have been a bit longer just like Call Her Savage because there was some fleshing out of characters that should have happened and the Fae aspect was a bit rushed. Personally, I don't think this would have been enough for a novel, per se, but rather a novella. Majorie Liu really shows her mastery of creating a haunting tone in this short story, even though I already praised this. The haunting forest shone here and Lucy was a heart-warming protagonist. After the Blood: 2 stars The weakest short story in this collection. Amish vampires in a post-plague world where people live in small enclaves does sound very interesting, but I felt like it was a bit too long. Seriously, we could have given these pages to some of the other stories! The themes about morality were being point-blank fed to you and I just didn't really care. Maybe I would if I read Dirk & Steele, but alas I haven't. It was fine, I didn't exactly dislike it. ... and it had cats. Tangleroot Palace: 2.5 stars The titular short story of this anthology did disappoint me a little bit, I can't lie. It was written as a fairytale, but in the way that I do not like. Liu plays with the runaway princess trope where the main character Sally refuses to marry the malignant Warlord. To escape her fate, she tries to enter the Tangleroot Forest, but things do not go exactly as planned. First off, the magic was interpolated with the story in a peculiar way: >the author didn't seem to be able to make up her mind if she wants to go all in with the fantasy aspects or if she wants to focus more on the plot. In my opinion it should have been either focus on the realism, but make it magical, or go all in with the fantasy. The twist is obvious from the moment Sally encounters (view spoiler)[Mickel (hide spoiler)] so I wasn't exaclty shocked by the ending. Again, I'm not saying this is a bad short story, it is fine, but I kind of hoped it would be something more. Maybe I just didn't understand this. The Tangleroot Palace: Stories has been a ride with enormous highs and decent lows. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this collection overall. If anything, you truly must read The Last Dignity of Man!

  5. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    i fell in love with liu's monstress series, so i knew i had to read her debut story collection about dangerous women. Sympathy For The Bones ➸ ★★★★☆ This gave me literal chills. A haunting, evocative story about the price we'd pay for freedom. ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[grave desecration, dismemberment, blood & gore depiction, needles, murder, and terminal cancer (sc) (hide spoiler)] . Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Data i fell in love with liu's monstress series, so i knew i had to read her debut story collection about dangerous women. Sympathy For The Bones ➸ ★★★★☆ This gave me literal chills. A haunting, evocative story about the price we'd pay for freedom. ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[grave desecration, dismemberment, blood & gore depiction, needles, murder, and terminal cancer (sc) (hide spoiler)] . Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    4.5 stars rounded up The Tangleroot Palace was just as good as I hoped it would be. It is a lush, darkly magical collection of short fiction from the creator of Monstress, including the titular Tangleroot Palace as a full-length novella. I loved all of them and was completely swept away. It was also cool because Liu includes brief notes at the end of each tale discussing what it was originally written for and when, which I found to be fascinating. Sympathy for the Bones features a young woman forc 4.5 stars rounded up The Tangleroot Palace was just as good as I hoped it would be. It is a lush, darkly magical collection of short fiction from the creator of Monstress, including the titular Tangleroot Palace as a full-length novella. I loved all of them and was completely swept away. It was also cool because Liu includes brief notes at the end of each tale discussing what it was originally written for and when, which I found to be fascinating. Sympathy for the Bones features a young woman forced to learn dark magic from the woman who took her in decides she has had enough and will use that dark magic to her own advantage. In The Briar and the Rose we get a sapphic reimagining of Sleeping Beauty that draws on the fact that the original story involved sexual assault while the young woman was sleeping. In this version, it becomes a story of possession where a witch has taken over the body of a beautiful young woman and the only person who notices is a female bodyguard. Call Her Savage is like steampunk meets monstrous bioengineering in East Asia. The Last Dignity of Man is about a wealthy, young, gay biotech genius who fantasizes about being Lex Luthor while carrying out disturbing projects on behalf of the government. It's an interesting reimagining that carries a surprising amount of emotional weight. Where the Heart Lives is the first of three stories about dark secrets living deep in the woods. This one is about a young woman forced to leave home and live with a woman everyone thinks is a witch in the middle of a haunted forest. After the Blood is a post-apocalyptic survival story with vampires and zombies where Amish people now hold power because they know how to survive without modernity. Lastly, The Tangleroot Palace is about a down to earth princess resisting an arranged marriage by running away to the dark and dangerous woods in search of help. I very much enjoyed all of the stories and would recommend checking out the collection if it sounds up your alley. They often feature queer characters, or characters of color, or women who are not satisfied with the lives they are supposed to live. They are stories about love, death, grief, violence, and identity. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    i'm already vibrating at unknown frequencies Youtube ☆ Twitter i'm already vibrating at unknown frequencies Youtube ☆ Twitter

  8. 4 out of 5

    Library of a Viking

    Do you want to read a short story collection exploring voodoo magic, Amish vampires, a wannabe superhero villain, a princess that does not like others to decide her future and more? Then I can recommend The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu. Let me first start by saying that I haven’t read any other work by Liu, so I did not know what to expect. However, after reading this short story collection, I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised. The best thing about this collection is that each story Do you want to read a short story collection exploring voodoo magic, Amish vampires, a wannabe superhero villain, a princess that does not like others to decide her future and more? Then I can recommend The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu. Let me first start by saying that I haven’t read any other work by Liu, so I did not know what to expect. However, after reading this short story collection, I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised. The best thing about this collection is that each story feels unique and different. The plot, the location and characters vary from each other, which made this book enjoyable to read. Liu repeatedly demonstrates how bad-ass women are and how women can achieve great things. My favourite short stories are “Sympathy for the Bones”, “The Briar and the Rose” and “Tangleroot Palace”. After each story, there is a short explanation about why and when the story was written, which I loved reading. Although I enjoyed this collection, I didn’t find the stories “Call her savage” and “After the blood” interesting. My most significant criticism is Liu’s characters. Unfortunately, there were only a few memorable characters in this collection. Liu demonstrates that she can write compelling and unique characters in this collection. Richard from “The Last Dignity of Man” and Sally from “Tangleroot Palace” were fantastic characters. After seeing that Liu can write memorable characters, it frustrated me that most of the characters in the other short stories didn’t have much depth. The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu is a unique short story collection that takes the reader on a wild journey. I can recommend this book to anyone that wants to read something different in the fantasy genre and enjoys short-story collections. 4 / 5 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Rep: lesbian mcs, gay mc, Chinese mc CWs: gore, violence, implied rape, miscarriage Galley provided by publisher The Tangleroot Palace is probably one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. I loved Marjorie Liu’s Monstress series, but I had never tried any of her short stories before now. Each and every one of the stories here is one you want to see more of. They are, at once, perfectly paced and yet not nearly long enough. I won’t go through each story individually becau On my blog. Rep: lesbian mcs, gay mc, Chinese mc CWs: gore, violence, implied rape, miscarriage Galley provided by publisher The Tangleroot Palace is probably one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. I loved Marjorie Liu’s Monstress series, but I had never tried any of her short stories before now. Each and every one of the stories here is one you want to see more of. They are, at once, perfectly paced and yet not nearly long enough. I won’t go through each story individually because I wouldn’t really have much new to say about each one after a point, but there wasn’t a single story in this collection I didn’t love. There’s a fair bit of variety in genre — all are speculative fiction, but in amongst that you have fantasy, science fiction, alternative history and a bit of a dystopia too. The best part of this collection, I think, is that it doesn’t matter what genre or plot Marjorie Liu chooses to write about, you’re always fully absorbed in it by the end of the first paragraph. She has this knack of worldbuilding so seamlessly along the way too, which is great because there’s not exactly time in short stories for info-dumps. But at the same time, it’s that skill that makes me desperate to see what she’d do with a full length book. And then, obviously, there are the characters. I think probably the best way to illustrate just how good Liu is with characters is this: in a story about a man with a Lex Luthor kink (yeah), creating giant waste-eating worms, I found myself nearly crying. Really then, this is one you do not want to miss out on.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hsinju

    The Tangleroot Palace contains six short stories (“Sympathy for the Bones,” “The Briar and the Rose,” “Call Her Savage,” “The Last Dignity of Man,” “Where the Heart Lives,” “After the Blood”) and one novella (“Tangleroot Palace”), all of which are fantasy with hints of horror and gorgeously written. At the end of each story, there is also brief commentary by Liu, providing some background and thematic connections between the stories. I adore the writing, which flowed beautifully, and I love how e The Tangleroot Palace contains six short stories (“Sympathy for the Bones,” “The Briar and the Rose,” “Call Her Savage,” “The Last Dignity of Man,” “Where the Heart Lives,” “After the Blood”) and one novella (“Tangleroot Palace”), all of which are fantasy with hints of horror and gorgeously written. At the end of each story, there is also brief commentary by Liu, providing some background and thematic connections between the stories. I adore the writing, which flowed beautifully, and I love how effortlessly detailed each sentence is. Fantasy short stories are extremely difficult to pull off, given the need to provide enough world building and plot within the limited word count, and Liu delivered not one but six satisfying stories. The first story, “Sympathy for the Bones,” opens with a funeral and is about hoodoos, setting the tone of the whole book to be both magical and macabre. In “The Briar and the Rose,” we have a sapphic retelling of Sleeping Beauty as suggested by the title, a love story between swordswoman Briar (WOC) and Rose, whose body is possessed by a sorceress. I really enjoyed this one but the climax was glossed over and I felt it could’ve been so much more amazing than it already is. “Call Her Savage” is set in the Tang Dynasty around the Opium War and Empress Xiao Shen Cheng (Manchu: ᡥᡳᠶᠣᠣᡧᡠᠩᡤᠠ ᠣᠯᡥᠣᠪᠠ ᡧᠠᠩᡤᠠᠨ ᡥᡡᠸᠠᠩᡥᡝᠣ) was also present in one scene. The main imagery of this story revolves around stars, in military star, stars in the sky, the name of the main character Xīng (which is 星, stars, in Chinese yet never explicitly mentioned in the text). This one was a little confusing for me—perhaps I tried too hard to tell history from fiction—with some information being laid out too thickly, but I loved the historical aspect nonetheless. With Xīng (Chinese-Scottish, sapphic) being a superhero, this leads us to the next supervillain story, “The Last Dignity of Man.” Alexander Lutheran (achillean) is a powerful but lonely man who loves the idea of being Lex Luthor. This is definitely the most disturbing story for me due to the gore. “Where the Heart Lives” stars a non-speaking love interest and follows Lucy’s journey into the forest in an attempt to save a woman taken twenty years prior. Cursed forest and magic are important themes that thread through the rest of the book. “After the Blood” is a story about a pandemic with three characters who are not fully human, one of which is vampirish. In the novella “Tangleroot Palace,” Princess Sally, whose name is Salinda, faces the haunted Tangleroot Forest in search of an escape from the marriage proposal from the Warlord. I liked the atmosphere of the story and how Sally prefers to live a relatively common life, leading her to some adventures that she didn’t anticipate. With Liu’s beautiful writing as smooth as breathing, The Tangleroot Palace is an engrossing story collection debut (she has several published graphic novels), and I absolutely cannot wait for more of her works. I received an e-ARC from Tachyon Publications via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Content warnings (in the order of the seven stories): 1. death, murder, dismembering, bones, past child abuse, pedophilia, blood 2. rape, possessing, hints of slavery, racism, mention of war, blood, death, pregnancy, miscarriage, dismembering 3. war, blood, drowning, death, poison, bullets, mention of rape 4. gore, blood, bone, hospitalization, mention of death, mention of drunk driving 5. kidnapping, mention of death 6. blood, cutting, gun, pandemic 7. blood, death, arranged marriage

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I’ve not read any of the author’s novels before but I have enjoyed her Monstress graphic novel series for it’s beautiful art and a host of powerful and brilliant female characters. So it was no surprise to know that this collection of stories too is mostly about women - women who are strong of will and determined to survive. There is a bit of a common theme about magical woods through most of these stories and the descriptions truly gave me chills, as did some of the events which took place. The I’ve not read any of the author’s novels before but I have enjoyed her Monstress graphic novel series for it’s beautiful art and a host of powerful and brilliant female characters. So it was no surprise to know that this collection of stories too is mostly about women - women who are strong of will and determined to survive. There is a bit of a common theme about magical woods through most of these stories and the descriptions truly gave me chills, as did some of the events which took place. The author doesn’t shy away from showing us the darkness and all of these stories revel in toeing the line between light and dark, letting us to believe what we choose. A very interesting collection, which is even more enhanced by the author’s commentary about why she wrote each story and what she feels about them now. Sympathy for the bones Dark and twisty tale about what one woman would do for the sake of freedom, for being relieved from being shackled to someone cruel, and what would she do differently than what was done to her. A bit gruesome, but nevertheless quite interesting. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Briar and the Rose A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, this story was a wonderful tale of female agency, finding the courage to survive in desperate circumstances when there doesn’t seem to be any hope, and two women helping each other through the power of their love. Very beautiful writing. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Call Her Savage Set in an alternate colonial world, this is the story of a powerful woman who was once famous for her strength and exploits in war, but who can only remember the grief and ravages of the time; how she has tried to stop fighting because she couldn’t handle it anymore, but ultimately it’s not always her choice, and circumstances decide what her path forward should be. Interesting combination of colonialism, magical crystals, advanced technology and plain old war. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Last Dignity of Man Parts of this story were horrific to read, but the emotions it invokes are even more intense. I don’t wanna give away much but amidst a combo of a tech billionaire who wants to be a comic book supervillain and meet his nemesis, and lots of morally ambiguous scientific experimentation - all I could feel was the desperate loneliness throughout. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Where the Heart Lives Set in a mystical forest which is described stunningly, this is a bittersweet story of what loneliness does to a person, as well as how experiencing love and family for the first time can make a person strong and resilient. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ After the Blood Set in the bleak aftermath of a pandemic, this was hard to read because of our own reality but it was also interesting to see Amish vampires, and many other supernatural creatures fighting for survival in a very changed world. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 The Tangleroot Palace This eponymous story was more like a novelette than a short story and again had a mystical scary forest, a trapped queen, and a young woman bound to marriage who just wants her freedom but discovers her capacity for more along the way. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    I love this cover so much, I would buy it just to stare at it. As for what's inside, I only liked half of these stories unfortunately. I really do enjoy Lui's writing but I do think there's too many extra details that we don't need in most of the stories. I haven't read her graphic novels but I definitely want to soon. She has unique ideas that I enjoyed reading about. Some of the stories did bore me though. Thank you Netgalley and to the publisher for an advanced copy of this book! I love this cover so much, I would buy it just to stare at it. As for what's inside, I only liked half of these stories unfortunately. I really do enjoy Lui's writing but I do think there's too many extra details that we don't need in most of the stories. I haven't read her graphic novels but I definitely want to soon. She has unique ideas that I enjoyed reading about. Some of the stories did bore me though. Thank you Netgalley and to the publisher for an advanced copy of this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arie

    Sympathy for the Bones: 4/5 so, so dark - dark in the way of rot, of things left under rocks a little too long, of the deep dark well of things that should be buried and stay buried. There's not so much a twist as a build-up to the inievitable, and the ending is left with just a hint of ambiguity - enough to still unsettle once the final page is turned. Just missed the tiniest... bite to it all. The Briar and the Rose: 5/5 I'm maybe being ever-so-slightly overgenerous with the 5/5, as there were t Sympathy for the Bones: 4/5 so, so dark - dark in the way of rot, of things left under rocks a little too long, of the deep dark well of things that should be buried and stay buried. There's not so much a twist as a build-up to the inievitable, and the ending is left with just a hint of ambiguity - enough to still unsettle once the final page is turned. Just missed the tiniest... bite to it all. The Briar and the Rose: 5/5 I'm maybe being ever-so-slightly overgenerous with the 5/5, as there were technically a few moments that dragged a little for such a relatively short amount of time, but OH I think this might be the very best retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a twist to the story that's so utterly claustrophobic and horrifying it makes the (view spoiler)[sweet sweet ending (hide spoiler)] all the better. The Light and the Fury: 2/5 This was my least favourite of the collection, not so much because it's bad (it isn't), but possibly because it felt too much like a hasty chapter from a much, much larger story, rushed into being a sort-of-standalone that never quite learned to walk on its own. Too much need for explaination in too little time, and as I read this after others that also were small pieces of other, larger worlds that felt fully fleshed on their own, I think I was expecting... more? The Last Dignity of Man: 3.5/5 Solemn and bitter-sweet, and a timely reminder of the folly of playing gods. Where the Heart Lives: 4/5 Just so... beautiful. The author mentions a clear preoccupation with what lies in the forest, the spirits of trees, and this is the first time in the collection that comes through so strongly. It also makes me want to read the novel series this apparently a sort of (very) early prequel to. After the Blood: 4/5 I would definitely watch a tv show set in this possible future. There are moments through the story that gleam with sunlight, and are described so beautiful you feel fully present - others lack clarity, a little, though it's hard to tell if this is intentional. I feel like I want to actually see it all, to understand. Or maybe just another read through will be the thing. Tangleroot Palace: 5/5 Just the loveliest thing. Liu gives us a story so familiar it feels like following a path home, or a thread in a well-worn blanket, but she brings it to life and gives it such wonderful little twists and turns along the way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maija

    The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu is a collection of 7 stories, one of which is a novella. Many of you probably know Liu from the dark fantasy comic series Monstress, but she has written novels, too. My previous experience of Liu is only from the Monstress comics, but I love especially the worldbuilding in those, so I was excited to check out her short stories. The gorgeous cover art is by her Monstress collaborator, Sana Takeda. These dark fantasy stories once again show Liu's strength in wo The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu is a collection of 7 stories, one of which is a novella. Many of you probably know Liu from the dark fantasy comic series Monstress, but she has written novels, too. My previous experience of Liu is only from the Monstress comics, but I love especially the worldbuilding in those, so I was excited to check out her short stories. The gorgeous cover art is by her Monstress collaborator, Sana Takeda. These dark fantasy stories once again show Liu's strength in worldbuilding. Some of them are even a bit too packed for such short stories, but in most of them the world feels real and unique and well-thought-through. Each story has a short author's note following it, and I really like when that is included in short story collections. I also prefer the notes after rather than before the stories so that I have some context for them. Something that Liu remarked upon in one of her author's comments, and something that I also noticed myself, was that a few of the stories share in common magical forests with terrible secrets or powers. Apart from the recurring dark forest, I could also find recurring themes of making your own family and finding your own place. I'll go through the stories individually, since seven seems like a manageable amount to talk about in one review. Sympathy for the Bones– 3 stars An apprentice witch seeks her freedom. This was one of those stories that I didn't have any strong feelings about. It had elements and themes that I find interesting, like revenge, family, and freedom; a main character with maybe questionable morals; doll magic... but the story just didn't hook me. It might've been the setting that wasn't my cup of tea, or then I wanted the story to be more spooky or dark. The Briar and the Rose – 4 stars An original take on Sleeping Beauty, and my second favourite from the collection. We follow a main character, called the Duelist, who is the bodyguard to a sorceress who can't stay up too late every Saturday because of a dark secret that we learn during the story. It's also a love story between two women, one of which isn't the sorceress. To probably no one's surprise, this was one of my favourites from the collection. You know I enjoy my fairytale retellings, and this was a very different take on Sleeping Beauty, with a different storyline and setting, but still some elements in common. I liked the main character and the love story. This was first published in The Starlit Wood fairytale anthology, which I really want to get my hands on. I've now read two stories from the anthology and liked them both. Call Her Savage (The Light and the Fury) – 2 stars In my ARC copy the story has the first title, but judging from the Amazon preview it seems the title was changed. I'll update the title when the book is out and this is confirmed. "In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex." That short description from the back of the book sounds really exciting, doesn't it? But to me it was one of the weakest stories in the collection. It had way too much worldbuilding for such a short story. The crystal skulls powering everything, as well as the people getting sort-of-superpowers from them, were very interesting concepts, but it was a lot, and I don't think it worked as a short story. So many elements and ideas. The fraught relationship between the MC and the ex was my favourite part, but it was a very short part of the story. The Last Dignity of Man – 4.5 stars My absolute favourite, the standout of the collection. A rich, young businessman, who owns a large company specialising in biotech, models his life after Lex Luthor. This one was a story that I wasn't sure about in the beginning (because I didn't know how the Superman link would be handled), but which quite quickly turned into my favourite. The main character was the strength of the story. He wants there to be good in the world, wants to be loved, but isn't sure either possibility really exists. He is so lonely and conflicted, and it really radiates throughout the whole story with this sad atmosphere. Such a good story. Where the Heart Lives – 4 stars This was a cosy story about finding your family, and it was my third favourite from the collection. Lucy is not wanted at home by her father and brothers, and is sent to be a serving girl to a mysterious woman living a few towns over. There, in a house surrounded by a mysterious & haunting forest, among strange magic, she finds somewhere she belongs. Some parts in the end were perhaps a bit rushed, but I really enjoyed the feel of this. I liked how magical everything in the world felt and how cosy and peaceful the life in the house felt even though the people had their own tragedies and there was dark, scary magic around. A found-family type of story. This was apparently a prequel to a series of hers. After the Blood – 2.5 stars This is a post apocalyptic story where, after some sort of a pandemic, people now live among overgrown forests and strange monsters and magic. This takes place at a farming community led by the Amish. The main character isn't Amish, she lives on the outskirts, but there are Amish characters in the story. This one had a vampire in it, so one would think I'd like this, but sadly, no. This was another one that was a bit of a miss for me. It had a lot of other stuff in it as well apart from the vampires. The post-apocalypse, the Amish farming community, past trauma, strange new magic, ghouls, something going on with the forest. It was hard to get a grasp on, because not all the elements felt quite 'done' yet. The main character in this one was the one I got the least from in the whole collection, the others felt like complete characters. Maybe it was also slightly too long. Tangleroot Palace – 3 stars The title story of the collection was also the longest story, a novella. The official description goes like this: “A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods." And that's a pretty good description. I liked the fairytale setting, the characters were good, but I wanted more from the plot. I enjoyed it, but it was a middle-of-the-road story for me. I felt like the other stories had more of a Marjorie Liu twist in them. This is also the earliest written story in the collection, so that might have something to do with it. These stories were published between 2009 and 2016. The ones that were my least favourites were from 2010, so they were earlier works of Liu's. I give the collection as a whole 3 stars. It's hard for a short story collection to get more from me, since there are always stories I love more and stories that don't work for me. But I am very happy I got to read The Last Dignity of Man and The Briar and the Rose, especially.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I am familiar with Marjorie Liu’s work from her "Monstress" series, which I love for its darkness and tough women. And the series' beautiful artwork, from the mind of Sana Takeda, whose gorgeous work graces the cover of the terrific collection of short stories (and one novella). The Tanglewood's stories are dark and creepy, and I didn't find a weak one in the bunch. I particularly loved the recurring presence of trees in these stories, with their age, hunger and power central to situations in seve I am familiar with Marjorie Liu’s work from her "Monstress" series, which I love for its darkness and tough women. And the series' beautiful artwork, from the mind of Sana Takeda, whose gorgeous work graces the cover of the terrific collection of short stories (and one novella). The Tanglewood's stories are dark and creepy, and I didn't find a weak one in the bunch. I particularly loved the recurring presence of trees in these stories, with their age, hunger and power central to situations in several stories. The stories are: -Sympathy For The Bones -The Briar And The Rose -Call Her Savage -The Last Dignity Of Man -Where The Heart Lives -After The Blood -Tangleroot Palace It was hard to pick a favourite within this collection, but if hard pressed, would say that Sympathy for the Bones and Tangleroot Palace lingered in my mind after finishing this book. Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for this ARC in exchange for a review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alena Reading

    Check out my new Booktube channel! Some people saw the author, the cover, and immediately thought it was another graphic novel like Monstress. While the cover was done by the same artist, this is actually a collection of short stories by Marjorie Liu, written by her at different times of her career. As with all collections like this, some stories are going to be better than others. There are 7 total and I personally enjoyed 4 of them, all of which turned out to have similar dark fairytale vibes. T Check out my new Booktube channel! Some people saw the author, the cover, and immediately thought it was another graphic novel like Monstress. While the cover was done by the same artist, this is actually a collection of short stories by Marjorie Liu, written by her at different times of her career. As with all collections like this, some stories are going to be better than others. There are 7 total and I personally enjoyed 4 of them, all of which turned out to have similar dark fairytale vibes. Those were Sympathy for the Bones, The Briar and the Rose, Where the Heart Lives, Tangleroot Palace. These stories are creepy, atmospheric, feature reimagined old tales, hoodoo dolls, magical woods, and dangerous witches. The other 3 stories didn't work for me for different reasons. Call Her Savage didn't leave any impression on me and I immediately forgot about it the next day. Nothing interesting happened, and I didn't care or was interested in the characters or the world. The Last Dignity of Man was absolutely atrocious and disgusting. The protagonist was the most unbelievable character I've ever seen. Basically he was obsessed with comics and tried to look like Lex Luthor because that made him believe that because of that a Superman should also exist and would come one day and love him. WHAT? Also the plot was so vomit inducing and full of worms, human feces, and blood. Don't eat or even drink while reading it. I would actually just advise to skip this story. After the Blood was kind of a post-apocalyptic tale about the forest soaking up some virus and turning people into vampires, zombies and something else. I think? Honestly I'm not sure what happens here because it was painfully vague the whole time. Overall I would recommend checking out this collection just for the 4 aforementioned fairytale stories. ARC provided by Tachyon via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This is my first foray into Liu’s work (Monstress sits, frowningly, on my shelf unread) and while I can’t say I liked all the stories in this collection, the ideas presented and the worlds created were so incredibly unique and bizzare that I’m now very interested in her other works. I usually review anthologies as a whole because individually reviewing 10+ stories, some merely a couple pages, is difficult. The Tangleroot Palace only has seven stories, all of which nicely fleshed out and ‘full’, This is my first foray into Liu’s work (Monstress sits, frowningly, on my shelf unread) and while I can’t say I liked all the stories in this collection, the ideas presented and the worlds created were so incredibly unique and bizzare that I’m now very interested in her other works. I usually review anthologies as a whole because individually reviewing 10+ stories, some merely a couple pages, is difficult. The Tangleroot Palace only has seven stories, all of which nicely fleshed out and ‘full’, so I’ll review these independently. Sympathy for the Bones – 4/5 A creepy, Appalachian(?) inspired story about a young girl trained by her grandmother to kill people through voodoo dolls. I enjoyed the overall vibe and MC’s determination to free herself from this vicious cycle of grandmother indoctrinating granddaughter The Briar and the Rose – 5/5 A sapphic sleeping beauty retelling, told from the perspective of the beefy sapphic duelist. Big sword lesbian/book lesbian vibes and overall very cute Call Her Savage – 2.5/5 A ragged old superhero called to duty one last time, set in an alt-history backdrop where China has colonized the West Coast of America and losing a war to the Brits. There’s a lot of moving parts here and I can see what Liu is trying to do, but this is one of those, would work better as a novella or full length novel stories The Last Dignity of Man – 5/5 SadGay™ wannabe Lex Luthor slowly learns to let got of his childhood comic book ideals and learn that he doesn’t need a Clark Kent to be happy. My favorite of the entire collection. CW for graphic descriptions of worms Where the Heart Lives – 3/5 A Forest with a Secret story. The concept was interesting but I wasn’t really engaged with any of the characters After the Blood – 2.5/5 There were a lot of moving parts and I didn’t understand what Liu was trying to do. Post-apocalyptic, people with superpowers hiding from those without, the Amish are involved in some form? Apparently this is a prequel to one of Liu’s other stories, which is probably why I didn’t understand it. The Tangleroot Palace – 2/5 I think this is a very loose interpretation of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, where a young princess, forced to marry a feared Warlord runs away to a forest to do….stuff? Just didn’t like this story in general. Overall, I rate this collection a 3.5/5. A lot of interesting concepts and I adored The Briar and the Rose and Where the Heart Lives but the rest of the collection was a miss for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    M. (Inside My Library Mind)

    so what you're telling me is that Marjorie Liu who wrote the single most expansive world I ever encountered in a graphic novel (or any book for that matter) wrote a short story collection about DANGEROUS WOMEN AND DANGEROUS MAGIC and no one told me?? i will literally die of excitement so what you're telling me is that Marjorie Liu who wrote the single most expansive world I ever encountered in a graphic novel (or any book for that matter) wrote a short story collection about DANGEROUS WOMEN AND DANGEROUS MAGIC and no one told me?? i will literally die of excitement

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nerdy Werewolf

    "You can't stop a plant that wants to grow. You'll only crush it if you try." Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with short story collections? Like, I always think to myself, "They're short! I'll breeze through it!" Then, I start them and if they're good...well, I forget about wanting to let each story sink in. Basically, it always takes longer than I expect and I do it to myself. Anyway...to the stories! Sympathy for the Bones -Similar premise to "Malice" as far as dark magic goes...I "You can't stop a plant that wants to grow. You'll only crush it if you try." Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with short story collections? Like, I always think to myself, "They're short! I'll breeze through it!" Then, I start them and if they're good...well, I forget about wanting to let each story sink in. Basically, it always takes longer than I expect and I do it to myself. Anyway...to the stories! Sympathy for the Bones -Similar premise to "Malice" as far as dark magic goes...I loved the language-the dialect. Some of it was difficult to understand, but you could still follow the emotions. Awesome/gruesome magic system. Well-ended. ☆☆☆☆ The Briar and the Rose -A sapphic twist on Sleeping Beauty that was SO original (and I've read at least two other sapphic retellings...). I loved how the sleeping curse was applied and how intertwined all of the characters were. Beautiful. ☆☆☆☆☆ Call Her Savage -An alternate-history in which California was settled earlier than the east coast in America. Dirigibles and war and rumors and legend. Probably my least favorite story...still pretty compelling and easy to follow. ☆☆☆ The Last Dignity of Man -A complex look into the psyche of someone who wants to be a villain, but actually has a heart. With sci-fi government experiments as the backdrop, I was actually fascinated by this premise! ☆☆☆☆☆ Where the Heart Lives -All I could think while reading this one was "Oh my gosh, I wish could read more of this world!!" Found family, the start of something good...At the end, I found out it was a prequel story to her urban fantasy series...and I'm so excited to dive into it!! ☆☆☆☆☆ After the Blood -Post apocalyptic, never really got introduced to the world, just kind of stumbling through it, surviving. Zombies...vampires? Magic? Creepy. Felt like the beginning of something more...very dire. ☆☆☆ Tangleroot Palace -I'm so glad this one was last. I figured the "twist" out, but it was still an absolute joy to read. All about lineage, found family, responsibility, self-fulfillment. I mean, I closed the book with a smile. What a lovely little fairy tale. ☆☆☆☆☆

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I am not usually one for short stories but I've been reading Marjorie M Liu for years so I took a chance. I'm SO glad I did. This collection of stories was amazing. It felt inventive and imaginative, while at the same time created a truly nostalgic feeling of reading one of the old fairy tale anthologies. I am not usually one for short stories but I've been reading Marjorie M Liu for years so I took a chance. I'm SO glad I did. This collection of stories was amazing. It felt inventive and imaginative, while at the same time created a truly nostalgic feeling of reading one of the old fairy tale anthologies.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ☽Ari

    This cover has me DEAD. This cover has me DEAD.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ola G

    4/10 stars My full review can be found on my blog. I’ve known Marjorie Liu as the author of Monstress, a dark fantasy graphic novel series with the wonderful art by Sana Takeda. I liked Monstress well enough to request Liu’s short stories collection from NG the moment I saw it there – just look at this cover! In hindsight, I might’ve been better served by gathering more intel on Liu’s work of fiction first. That’s not to say that the collection is irredeemably bad; most stories are inherently read 4/10 stars My full review can be found on my blog. I’ve known Marjorie Liu as the author of Monstress, a dark fantasy graphic novel series with the wonderful art by Sana Takeda. I liked Monstress well enough to request Liu’s short stories collection from NG the moment I saw it there – just look at this cover! In hindsight, I might’ve been better served by gathering more intel on Liu’s work of fiction first. That’s not to say that the collection is irredeemably bad; most stories are inherently readable and subtly creepy in Liu’s trademark Monstress way, and there are a couple that are actually all right. As for the rest, however, ah – best see for yourself, below. As usual, I offer here a short summary of each story, each scored separately, with an overall rating at the end. Sympathy for the Bones 7/10 A nicely creepy voodoo (here called hoodoo) story, with dolls and gris-gris and the possession of one’s soul. The sewing aspect was what’s really drawn me to the story, and the spin on the usual witch-and-her-victim trope was interesting. In Liu’s stories men have no agency – and while in this one it made perfect sense, the issue of male agency clearly delineated in the conclusion in a wonderfully perverse way, the whole idea quickly turned into a tired, overused schtick in other stories. The Briar and the Rose 4/10 A retelling of The Sleeping Beauty, with a completely unnecessary heaping of cringy. Here, men are actively stupid and spineless, the fabled prince is a masculine lesbian, and the princess’s body is inhabited and continuously sexually exploited and abused by an old powerful witch with some sort of sexual addiction. The Sleeping Beauty is creepy enough on its own, without such weird spins. The relationship here is quite sweet, actually, and I would enjoy it but for the plot. I know that those idealistic wishes of mine will never realize, but I just wish authors would have enough responsibility and presence of mind to read not only fairy tales but also their analyses – some really smart people already covered that ground, and better, and didn’t leave in their wake the lingering feeling of distaste. [...] Summary All in all, this collection boasts of strong feminist vibes, strong and well done LGBT+ representation, fairytale inspirations, and acres of haunted forests. All of it is very tame and mainstream, however, bordering on mushy, with just a tad of uncanny here and there to spice up the comfortable popcorn read. If you feel like this is something for you, you may quite enjoy it. For me, it was unfortunately a largely forgettable experience, the stories laying bare the deficiencies of Liu’s storytelling I was willing to overlook earlier in the Monstress comic books because of Takeda’s art. I have received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annemieke / A Dance with Books

    Thank you to Tachyon Publications and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Tw/CW: Rape | Miscarriage | Mentions of suicide | Animal Death I first heard of Marjorie Liu because of the comic Monstress that I am a fan of. So when I saw this gorgeous cover and a story collection by her hand, I knew I had to request. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this collection. The first two stories certainly didn't grab me like I though Thank you to Tachyon Publications and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Tw/CW: Rape | Miscarriage | Mentions of suicide | Animal Death I first heard of Marjorie Liu because of the comic Monstress that I am a fan of. So when I saw this gorgeous cover and a story collection by her hand, I knew I had to request. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this collection. The first two stories certainly didn't grab me like I thought they would but then the story Call her Savage came around and I fell quite in love with how this story was told. And that continued on with the rest of the stories in this collection. Most of the stories have a fairytale like feel and some are even inspired by some of them. There are always strong woman and a lot of diversity to go around, making this a very solid and strong collection as a whole. Sympathy for the Bones | 3,5 stars In itself this is a very interesting and creepy story about voodoo. But personally could have done with a bit more of wickedness in Ruth than we got in the story. I just didn't quite feel the fear we were meant to I guess. The Briar and the Rose | 3 stars This is a sleeping beauty retelling with quite a bit of a dark twist with a saphic romance. Unfortunately I didn't quite care about the characters. Call her Savage | 5 stars This story is set in an alternate China-Britain. It follows a soldier who was trained as a weapon from birth and retired in her own way. But when war threatens, reappears. The politics and the whole interactions just completely drew me in. The Last Dignity of Man | 4 stars This was an interesting play on Superman. Our mc is trying to be Lex Luther which is kind of ridiculous on its own. The whole story is really, but then there are the underlaying emotions of loneliness that come through. Where the Heart Lives | 5 stars This fairytale story was everything I like to see in a whimsical kind of story. The magical forest one has to stay away with. The orphans taken in by a woman on her own. I just loved all the aspects and I would love to read more about them. After the Blood | 3,5 stars A story about humans becoming vampires after a virus. I really liked the idea and the characters but it got confusing in parts. Tangleroot Palace | 4 stars This story takes the typical tale of a princess running away from an arranged marriage into a lovely tale about magic and things not being what you think they are. And again, a magical forest. I love those.

  24. 5 out of 5

    belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)

    thank you netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. check the full review on my blog~ Each setting is unique and different. At the end of every short story, Marjorie M. Liu would insert a short note to explain what inspired her to write it which I thought was a really nice touch. As it’s a collection, at every start of a new story, there’s a sense of confusion and disorientation for the first few pages. Despite that, Marjorie M. Liu’s immersive writing imme thank you netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. check the full review on my blog~ Each setting is unique and different. At the end of every short story, Marjorie M. Liu would insert a short note to explain what inspired her to write it which I thought was a really nice touch. As it’s a collection, at every start of a new story, there’s a sense of confusion and disorientation for the first few pages. Despite that, Marjorie M. Liu’s immersive writing immediately snapped my attention and I just found myself back into the flow of reading each story. ☠︎ SYMPATHY FOR THE BONES Clora’s under the teachings of Old Ruth, a hoodoo woman, who takes requests of those who are desperate. The crafting of hoodoo stitchwork requires bones and magic. In Sympathy for the Bones, it’s about the things people do for freedom without considering the cost they will be paying. ☠︎ THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE Hired by her mistress, the duelist knows all her wicked ways and who she truly is. Rose and Briar could only meet on Sundays when the mistress slept, and through that time, they fell in love. There’s a whimsical, fairytale-esque vibe to The Briar and the Rose. ☠︎ CALL HER SAVAGE As war rages between the Chinese and the British, Xīng McNamara returned to the battlefield reluctantly. The story develops as the reader finds out about the relationship between Xīng and Maude that left a 10-year gap. Furthermore, there’s great description of the war and incorporates steampunk into it. ☠︎ THE LAST DIGNITY OF MAN RanTech is manipulating these worms that grow to huge sizes as they continue consuming sludges and toxins. Alexander, the CEO, questions the morality of it. However, there’s this question of is he a villain or the hero of the story? Regardless, this man’s story is saddening. ☠︎ WHERE THE HEART LIVES This might be my favourite out of all the short stories. It has a combination of human connections and magical elements that created a perfect setting. The woods near their house is mysterious, magical and a dangerous place to enter. ☠︎ AFTER THE BLOOD Post-apocalyptic setting after a plague that decimated the world and left only 20% of humanity behind. Features three characters who aren’t accepted by the people around them. This was a very quick read but Marjorie M. Liu still did a great job in the setting and the characters. ☠︎ TANGLEROOT PALACE To quell any potential invasion by the barbarians, the king decides to let the notorious Warlord marry his daughter, Sally. Wanting another option that will prevent her horrible wedding-to-be and keep the peace, the only place she can get an alternative is in Tangleroot and that’s where Sally will venture to. While it has a little predictability and the romance is the total opposite of a slow burn, this short story has it all: magic, a sleeping queen, a witch, and a traveling troupe. This full-length novella had me wishing for more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    Im really conflicted with this book. The collection of stories, all had very intriguing themes and plots, but the first half of the book was so hauntingly beautiful and yet the last three stories came off as boring to me. Despite that im so glad i got to read this because the first 4 stories really are *that* good. * sympathy for the bones I got so haunting vibes from this because the writing style fit so perfectly well with the tone of the story. It was atmospheric, and so, SO beautiful. I wouldn Im really conflicted with this book. The collection of stories, all had very intriguing themes and plots, but the first half of the book was so hauntingly beautiful and yet the last three stories came off as boring to me. Despite that im so glad i got to read this because the first 4 stories really are *that* good. * sympathy for the bones I got so haunting vibes from this because the writing style fit so perfectly well with the tone of the story. It was atmospheric, and so, SO beautiful. I wouldn’t say its lyrical but, i honestly don’t know the writing style just took a hold on me until the character work decided to show itself. The main character’s thoughts, how her mindset changes, why she is the way she is, the way the magic was fleshed out in such a short story, ive got nothing but praise for the author. The ending again, was ironic and the darker themes were explored so well, i’m hesitant to call it gray morality because she too admits to her own doings but that certainly had reasons, this haunting tale is a unique take on a character who we would usually see as an antagonist. The voice was so distinct and well defined. * The Briar and the Rose This was a queer reimagining of sleeping beauty. The author maintains the dark and haunting original themes at the same time giving it a fresh perspective. I adored the character work of Briar and the romance was truly heartwarming and the plot while meandering, had a much deeper thematic plot going on between the lines and behind the words. This paired up with the beautiful and atmospheric writing style the Briar and the Rose is truly a masterpiece. * Call her Savage This is probably my favorite one on this book. The writing style was again phenomenal, but what truly made this story worthwhile was its character work. The story follows the Lady Marshal Xing through the Opium wars as she, after heavy losses and betrayals comes back to fight for her nation. It showcased what war does to a person, how one’s moral compass changes so much after being a killer, after so much violence, how people’s entire mindset and perspectives changes. Xing was so well realized with such a distinct voice, i fell in love with her. And the queer romance, if one could call it that, was haunting and tragic but what moved me most was Tom and Xing on that final scene. When all is lost and its just them against the colonizers. I absolutely love this story so so much and i cannot recommend this enough. * Last Dignity of Man This one. Damn. Right up there with Call Her Savage. Again the writing style was so atmospheric and impeccable really, it added so much to how well defined the character Alexander was and how distinct the voice felt. The premise is so so unique. A man who basically owns half the city with all this power with such a unique kink. I appreciate the author bringing topics most people dont even talk about let alone write about, but beyond that this was still fundamentally a story about wanting to be loved. Hoping that somewhere someplace, someone would love him. And thats such a strong message no matter how different he deals with that i think we all relate to it so so much and thats what it makes this story so special. The sci fi element and plot too was surprisingly enjoyable because i don’t usually love sci fi plots like this but this worked. * Where the heart lives * After the blood Both of these, felt so disappointing idk after those 4 banger stories i expected something more. The writing style was not as atmospheric either and it didn’t capture me like the other 4 did. The characters felt weak and not that distinct and the plots were boring honestly. * tangleroot Palace I guess with this one, again the writing style became more descriptive than atmospheric and I didn’t love that. I didnt care much for the romance but the romance was a pretty huge part of the story. Honestly it was too tropey and the fact that the romance aspect was presented as a plot twist made it as disappointing as it seemed to me because it felt too obvious and yeah i just didn’t like that. The world isn’t particularly something i enjoyed either. Its still an okay story but barely. :(( All in all i highly recommend the first 4 stories, the last 3 not so much but get this book for the first 4 its worth it!! Thank you to Tachyon Publications for providing me with an arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Swetha - a chronically perturbed mind

    I think i requested the book thinking it would be a graphic novel, but nevertheless, the fact that it was written by the author who wrote one of the books i badly want to read kept me going. Short stories are usually not my thing, and in this book, the author admits that some of them are snippets or back stories from her popular series. I am not a fan of stories that seems like from the middle of a bigger story, and also going in blind, into a book and not understanding the premise or world syst I think i requested the book thinking it would be a graphic novel, but nevertheless, the fact that it was written by the author who wrote one of the books i badly want to read kept me going. Short stories are usually not my thing, and in this book, the author admits that some of them are snippets or back stories from her popular series. I am not a fan of stories that seems like from the middle of a bigger story, and also going in blind, into a book and not understanding the premise or world system, until the end. So yea. Last story, which is the titular story, was a dark fairytale sort of book, which I liked better than the rest. Thank you netgalley for the #gifted copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sasan

    This is my first time reading a book by Marjorie Liu, and it being an anthology makes me really glad as I now know which type of her stories resonate more with me than not. I have received this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you at Tachyon Publications and NetGalley for the opportunity. ─────────────────── I believe that because she tries to incorporate as many themes and ideas in her book as possible, I want to go through my thoughts for each story one by one instead of just a gener This is my first time reading a book by Marjorie Liu, and it being an anthology makes me really glad as I now know which type of her stories resonate more with me than not. I have received this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you at Tachyon Publications and NetGalley for the opportunity. ─────────────────── I believe that because she tries to incorporate as many themes and ideas in her book as possible, I want to go through my thoughts for each story one by one instead of just a general thought process (These would be so easy to spoil) as I've been doing for some other anthologies I've read lately. Before that however, I have to commend her choice of adding her own small message at the end of each of the seven stories where she discusses the inspirations behind the stories, her aim and sometimes her own thoughts and ideas before writing. I really enjoyed reading that, and honestly, I would welcome it if more anthology writers followed this approach as in usual novels, the author does give a brief of their own thought process at the end. Moreover, I liked the length of almost all of them with the exception of one. Because they are only seven, I think that it gave Ms. Liu the chance to take her time telling these stories and it's another thing I liked about the anthology. So without further ado: Sympathy for the Bones To be fair, this is my first exposure to a story detailing the usage of hoodoo so I took it as somewhat of a learning experience. That aside however, this story gripped me from the start and refused to let go till it was done. The way this magic works, and what is required for a practitioner was fascinating. I really liked that the author included multiple instances of its application, what happens afterwards and what that made our main character, Clora, feel in the end. The anthology deals with several hard ideas, if I can call them that, and in this one it's being held by invisible strings beyond your will and with seemingly no way out. I liked the dangerous feel this brought to it and I really like to see how the protagonist reacts to situations like these or how they struggle more like. I believe that out of the seven, this was my favourite one overall. The Briar and the Rose While I do think that I enjoyed the previous story a bit more than this one, I do think that out of the seven, this story had the most interesting mix of elements in it. In a sentence, I'll call it a strange mix between Rumpeestiltskin and Sleeping Beauty. To someone like me, who isn't a big fan of retellings so far, I think this was a very interesting experience to read about. The main idea of trying of trying to save someone in this type of way is something I don't see very often, its often one-sided and usually it's this big and loud affair. Here it was more subtle, more cunning and with an impending time limit that made it feel more dangerous. "As most women I know will tell you, they don't always sleep a lot - but they fight plenty." Call Her Savage For the first half of this story, I wasn't very invested and I think it is something I can attribute to my lack of knowledge about the world she's envisioning here, since once that made sense; it was a lot more interesting. I think reading this story, to me, was a bit of an amusing idea since I was being somewhat bombarded in my usual book channels with "superhero fantasies." and this one was like that in a way, just a little bit more bloody. I liked that she didn't shy away from it, because if you're writing about war, I don't need it to be anything less than dangerous. I also liked that she included a legend of sorts in the story and made it have a big role, gave it a bit of history, but made its effect felt in a lot bigger ways than simply passing through. Which brings me to our protagonist here and how that affected her own state of mind, it wouldn't be the first time I read about this type of hero and it also wouldn't be the first time they were made to do things that they didn't want to do, but I enjoyed seeing her overcome the obstacles. The Last Dignity of Man This also follows the whole superhero angle, but kind of flips it over its head. I for one, like seeing the attempt and especially the aftermath of any human character attempting to play god. It's a bit of a cliche setting given how easily known the outcome is, but I still enjoy seeing it. Moreover, the idea here isn't actually a bad one, it could potentially be very good if done right, but yeah, not our place. This story is also the first one where I considered the main character to be simply pathetic, the whole hero worship thing exists, but to this extent makes it hard to accept as easily when it's from a character of this type and lets say, status. However, I will also say that I really liked being in his mind and learning more about this need of his. I have a hard time connecting with people, or at least being overly attached to someone, but I have seen it and being in someone's mind like that gives me an interesting perspective even when the "voice of reason" in this case, or rather their reason to exist felt a bit on the nose. Where the Heart Lies I didn't enjoy this story all that much, which is to be expected given that it's a collection of short stories (I will admit that the bigger focus on romance is probably the main reason as to why), but I will say that the themes she discusses in each of them is more than enough to make up for it. In this one, we talk about self worth and belonging. "She understood now, what could drive a women to abandon all." The above quote resonated deeply with me, because I know first hand what it feels when you're pushed just so and the only thing that matters after that is getting away. This ties in with how our protagonist Lucy, ends up feeling in a world where women are basically property to some of the men around her. She gets sent away by her father to a place, that at first glance, will seemingly appear to be a death sentence and she discovers many new things, amongst them are very dark secrets and dangers as well. I personally really enjoyed this contrast, it's horrible and dangerous, but there are times when the resolution makes it all better. After the blood Reading this in a pandemic is not a very good idea, but hey, I finished it. I will also say that this story is the only one of the entire collection where I felt completely and utterly detached from every single happening in it. I couldn't care less about the characters, I couldn't care less about their struggles and I couldn't care less about their romance either. Why though? simply because, it combined two entities I really dislike in any story. I did like the resourcefulness however, I enjoy survival stories a lot and I really hoped that this would be a bit more interesting for me to read in the end. Even though, I didn't enjoy it, I do think that reading the survival aspect of it combined with Ms. Liu's writing made the experience better than it might have been any where else. The Tangleroot Palace Final story of the collection, and is most likely the only one where I think it was a bit longer than it needed to be. I do think that the themes she was going for were fun to read about, and I really think that I would have liked it a lot more if it was a more solo effort than not. I say this because the whole "banding" together aspect, made the resolution easy to see from that single second. I think I've been exposed to many stories where I'm not very surprised anymore, but I do think that a what if scenario is something I'll enjoy a lot more than anything else in situations like these. That of course, does not mean that the story was boring, no, it was much better than the two before it. The mystery surrounding the Tangleroot Palace was fun to try and discover, I also liked that Sally thought of different ways to change her own fate and I enjoyed seeing her venture on an adventure. Having that adventure be dangerous was the cherry on top if you will, growth stories are much more felt to me when they aren't easy. I will say that I liked the twist at the end there in regards to the final confrontation, but yeah, solo > group any time. ─────────────────── A very interesting experience overall and I would not mind reading more books by Marjorie Liu now that I know which type of books of hers would suit me best :)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brandee

    Check out this review and more on The Quill to Live! I’m only one volume into Monstress by Marjorie Liu, but I enjoyed my experience with the graphic novel enough to know I wanted to pick up her new short story collection: The Tangleroot Palace. It wasn’t hard to buy into: Sana Takeda’s gorgeous art is gracing the cover and it promises tales of dangerous women. The Tangleroot Palace is a collection of seven short stories that were written in an eight-year period when Liu was living in the forested Check out this review and more on The Quill to Live! I’m only one volume into Monstress by Marjorie Liu, but I enjoyed my experience with the graphic novel enough to know I wanted to pick up her new short story collection: The Tangleroot Palace. It wasn’t hard to buy into: Sana Takeda’s gorgeous art is gracing the cover and it promises tales of dangerous women. The Tangleroot Palace is a collection of seven short stories that were written in an eight-year period when Liu was living in the forested midwest. The setting had a huge impact on her writing during this time as we see the forest and all its secrets take center stage in many of the stories. I loved the ominous woodland vibes because it made everything that much more mystical and unknowing. Liu’s introduction also highlights the fact that she tried to leave the stories as is and avoided editing them (if at all) in order to keep the integrity of her voice from back then. Some stories are more compelling, others are more fleshed out, and some are the beginnings of a much larger tale. I loved them all for what they were able to accomplish. Here’s a breakdown of the collection: “Sympathy for the Bones” features dark magic and poppets to explore the power a person can hold over another. “The Briar and the Rose” is a new twist on the tale of Sleeping Beauty and details a defiant love. “Call Her Savage” portrays a war-torn world soaked in exhaustion, violence, and heartbreak. “The Last Dignity of Man” tells an emotional story about connection featuring a man pretending to be Lex Luthor. “Where the Heart Lives” is a prequel to Liu’s Dirk & Steele series and shares a hopeful tale of love and found family. “After the Blood” is an Amish vampire tale about love, understanding, and new beginnings. “Tangleroot Palace” tells the story of an independent and not-so-traditional princess choosing her own destiny. The collection is named for its final story, “Tangleroot Palace,” which stands out from the rest due to its longer length, giving us a more complete look. However, a forest is not made up of just one tree, so while “Tangleroot Palace” can easily steal the show, the compilation as a whole is a strong showcase of Liu’s writing prowess. I am amazed by the variety presented in Tangleroot. There’s everything from whimsical fairy tales to a modern superhero to a gritty war story. Each is written in a unique style that catches your attention immediately. The stories are deeply immersive and I found it hard to read more than one a day. I say this as a form of praise because the worlds were interesting, and I wanted to stay in them a while longer before having to jump into another fabulous Liu creation. The only downside is that I want more. I am greedy for content. The stories move quickly because they are short (duh) and don’t have the space to explore the world in depth (totally appropriate). Liu’s biggest crime is writing short stories so well that I want the entire world served up to me in detail. Each story in The Tangleroot Palace is so unique with the only common thread being Liu’s incredible imagination. The collection will easily appeal to many and each story will resonate with everyone differently. I definitely loved some stories more than others, but I promise you there’s not one bad apple in the bunch. I’d love to know which story stands out the most to you. Rating: The Tangleroot Palace - 8.5/10

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    Overall very enjoyable. Each story could stand on its own, which is very refreshing when it comes to short stories, which often feel incomplete or rushed. See my thoughts on each story below: Sympathy for the Bones: This didn't go where I expected, though I'm not sure why I didn't expect it. I think because Clora didn't have enough kindness in her or Ruth didn't seem evil enough. There wasn't enough depth to either of them to really show us our journey. Really cool concept though. The Briar and th Overall very enjoyable. Each story could stand on its own, which is very refreshing when it comes to short stories, which often feel incomplete or rushed. See my thoughts on each story below: Sympathy for the Bones: This didn't go where I expected, though I'm not sure why I didn't expect it. I think because Clora didn't have enough kindness in her or Ruth didn't seem evil enough. There wasn't enough depth to either of them to really show us our journey. Really cool concept though. The Briar and the Rose: I'll admit I was a little put off by the descriptions of the Duelist, but I'm always here for a sapphic story where the MC and love interest work together to fight the system and overcome the odds. It also twined the style of a fairytale with the detail of an epic fantasy. Would definitely read a full novel of this. Call Her Savage: There is a very unfortunate passing mention to scalping, but damn this story is a lot. Alternate history / magical steampunk with China as a world superpower competing against England in the 1800s. So many salient points about culture and history (personal and cultural) and the atrocities of war. Another one I wish was a full novel. The Last Dignity of Man: love the concept of "be the villain to summon a hero" - especially when Alexander doesn't actually want to be the villain, he wants to be "just bad enough" to warrant a hero, someone who is purely good. There's an unfortunate offhand suicide comment that didn't need to be there, though. Where The Heart Lives: I'm really impressed by how complete these stories feel. I've yet to find one that isn't quite able to stand on its own, which is so common with short stories. In this case, the difference between Lucy at the beginning and Lucy at the end of the story didn't feel vast enough (perhaps because of the short timeline) but the overall concept works After the Blood: Possible zombie apocalypse? Amish vampires? What on earth did I just read? I feel like I need answers. Apparently there's a novella set in this universe and now I need it. Because I have so many questions - and not in a "this story feels incomplete" way but in a "I really want to see every possible direction this could take" way. Tangleroot Palace: Very fairytale-esque. Insta-love, evil queens and generational curses. I loved the glimpses we saw of the Tangleroot forest, and really wish we could have dug in deeper to see more than flashes. But this was already the longest story in the anthology so I can't be mad. {Thank you Tachyon for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    This is closer to 4.5 stars but I'm still obsessed with it! I requested this ARC from Netgalley because I am such a huge fan of Marjorie Liu's Monstress series and I had never picked up any of her prose writing before. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was exactly what I was looking for from this little collection of stories. Even though I definitely preferred certain stories to others, I think there was only one of these stories that I wasn't super enamored with. Which is saying someth This is closer to 4.5 stars but I'm still obsessed with it! I requested this ARC from Netgalley because I am such a huge fan of Marjorie Liu's Monstress series and I had never picked up any of her prose writing before. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was exactly what I was looking for from this little collection of stories. Even though I definitely preferred certain stories to others, I think there was only one of these stories that I wasn't super enamored with. Which is saying something! But I loved the overall voice and style of this collection and I really fell in love with the author's writing style. Monstress is such a wonderful series, but I'll admit part of why I love it so much is the illustrations...this collection proved to me that Marjorie's writing is strong enough to stand on its own. She has such a way with prose and I loved how she built these worlds in such a short amount of words. As someone who's trying to write their own novel, I found a whole new appreciation for that sort of thing. This collection was queer and magical and strange, and I found myself wishing more of these stories were full books! It was really cool hearing the short commentary after each story to know where the author's head was when she was writing these. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of a good short story, and this will definitely stand as one of my favorite collections.

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