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In the Vanishers’ Palace

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,875 ratings  ·  493 reviews
In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the la
Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by JABberwocky Literary Agency
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  1,875 ratings  ·  493 reviews

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Lois Bujold
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: f&sf readers and, oddly, old fans of Cordwainer Smith
Recommended to Lois by: random internet reviews, plus read another story by the author so my curiosity was primed
This story was pitched to my interest by a comparison to the fairy tale Beauty & the Beast, and yeah, those bones are under there, but the referent to which I was put most disturbingly in mind was Cordwainer Smith's classic short story "A Planet Named Shayol". Incomprehensible magical-technological alien invaders have landed, occupied, and absconded, leaving lasting devastation in their wake in the form of plagues human, animal, botanical, and magical, something of a cross between genetic gray g ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the Vanishers’ Palace is an adult fantasy f/f retelling of Beauty and the Beast with an all-Vietnamese cast. In this book, the “beast” is a shapeshifting dragon, and since the only thing that is better than both f/f romances and monster romances is an f/f monster romance, I knew I had to read it.

Monster romances have always been one of my favorite kinds of romance. I’m sure there are others out there, but In the Vanishers’ Palace is the first f/f one I’ve ever read, and I’m glad I found it –
Samantha Shannon
Dark and dreamlike and wonderfully surreal. There were so many exquisite details I loved, like the words that trail behind Vu Côn and the beautiful names of the illnesses.
Mel (Epic Reading)
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
The issue with speculative fiction (a genre that is essentially science fiction and fantasy together) is that it can be very confusing. I love the idea of really unique stories being told; but when you take out a base premise that is easily understood by your reader then you need to provide some tethers. Aliette de Bodard is missing the points of context that allow a reader to stay engaged in a story and able to process the information. In the Vanishers' Palace is so convoluted at times that it ...more
K.J. Charles
A wonderful SFF book (I love a blend of tech and magic so much) set in a post-colonial dystopia where the brutal ruling people have wrecked the place including the climate, left a horrifically damaged society behind them, and buggered off leaving their victims to make something of what little they have left. /looks at camera/

It's superbly depicted with magnificent economy, and utterly miserable, until our heroine is taken by a (lady) dragon as sacrifice and the story moves into a Beauty and the
There'll never be a place where everything is right, but we can try our best to strive towards it."

So What's It About?

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, b
Genevieve Cogman
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. A beautiful read - rich, detailed, enjoyable, meaningful.
2.5 stars

This book was eye-opening for me because I've had multiple realizations while listening to it, first and foremost the realization that not caring about a book is a much worse feeling than not liking it.

This book was... objectively fine. It had things I like in theory but didn't care for here and things I actually liked. I just really didn't care about any of it and I feel so bad but it is what it is.

It might be that as soon as I started listening I realized that I actually really hate t
Sep 06, 2018 marked it as arc-tbr
f/f beauty and the beast retelling with DRAGONS? sign me the fuck up 👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀
In the Vanishers' Palace is the third Beauty and the Beast retelling I've read recently (I can't help it, it's my favourite fairytale so I can never resist retellings!) and I think it was the most unique of the three. Aliette de Bodard has created a really interesting world based on Vietnamese mythology which I just wanted to spend more time exploring. I could happily read book after book set in this world learning more about the Vanishers who devastated the earth before disappearing and leaving ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The setting is a post-apocalyptic disaster left by a biotech-based singularity with Clarke's Law in full effect. In that completely alien setting de Bodard gives us a queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where the Dragon Vu Côn accepts the life of the young scholar Yên in payment for an act of healing. Yên thinks she's doomed, bu Vu Côn has her teaching the Dragon's two foundling children Thông and Liên in an effort to ready them for a life beyond the Dragon's abode in the Vanishers' Palace. ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intense, dark, and very lovely. Aliette de Bodard is marvelous at building broken, grimly beautiful worlds. I loved the fairy tale feel of this book and the way Viet culture is woven into the retelling of a classic story. It was also fantastic to see a Beauty and the Beast story that made freedom of choice and personal autonomy such strong themes. I think I was a little thrown at first because I was expecting more of a romance and this is really about attraction and potential rather than a full ...more
This was both interesting and weird and finally, let me unsure about my feelings for the book. The Vanisher’s Palace was kinda cool but the magic system with words was pretty confusing. The characters were okay but I liked the twins more than the MCs or their romantic plotline. And I think I’m having quite a bit of bad luck that I keep picking up these books with contagious diseases or viruses during the pandemic - so if you wanna read this novella, this is probably not the right time.

I loved t
The Captain
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy/sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

I have read some of the author's short stories and enjoy her writing style.  This is a beauty and the beast retelling based on Vietnamese myths and culture.  The story is an interesting blend of fantasy and sci-fi.  The tale takes place in a world destroyed by an alien race called the Vanishers.  The Vanishers used Earth as a plaything and left chaos behi
And then she'd wake up, gasping, trying to breathe, raising her hands to her face, remembering Vu Côn's touch on her skin, as wet and as cold as the oily river.

Review also on Reads Rainbow

Galley provided by publisher

Rep: lesbian mc, bi mc, Vietnamese setting and characters

In The Vanishers' Palace is the first book by Aliette de Bodard that I've read, and boy is it a good one. It's an f/f, dark fantasy inspired by Beauty and the Beast and Vietnamese mythology, with dragons. If the whole p
Scarllet ✦ iamlitandwit
Her gaze swept the room, stopping for a bare moment not on Elder Giang but on Yên, and in her eyes, Yên saw the contained fury of the river’s storms, the floods that killed, the cold that froze bones until they shattered.

Fish, river, gate, storm.

This stunning f/f Beauty and the Beast retelling is so much more than a retelling. Aliette de Bodard did the thing when she thought of this poetic and out-of-this-world concept. Like it is utterly amazing in its lore and worldbuilding.

I am in awe
Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
riends, I am very, very choosy about my “Beauty and the Beast” retellings. To the best of my recollection, the only one that I have ever loved is Robin McKinley’s Beauty. I liked Uprooted, but I loved it best when it was doing things other than retelling “Beauty and the Beast.” I hear good things about W. R. Gingell’s Masque, but I am not pinning my hopes on it. So when I tell you that I was blown away by Aliette de Bodard’s novella In the Vanishers’ Palace, a queer retelling of “Beauty and the ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED In the Vanishes’ Palace. It’s a such a terrific novella, and I feel like it was the perfect length for this story (although I wouldn’t mind spending even more time in this world and learning more about it).

First, there is a dream-like quality about the world itself that is just great. We’re given just enough information to understand, mostly, what’s going on, but everything feels very ephemeral, as if you could forget about it, like a dream upon waking. I think this is one of
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kelsea by: Maraia
When I first read this book 2.5 years ago, it didn’t click for me. It was one of the first novellas (maybe the first?) I’d ever read that wasn’t tie-in fiction. I didn’t appreciate the pacing, the slow depth of character arcs and building emotions, the hinted-at world-building, or the retelling aspects. I was confused. I wanted more.

But, Maraia, the friend of mine who gifted me this book, loves this novella. I wanted to give it another chance because I trust her judgment. I’ve also read more Ali
Lost Planet Airman
Good. Norton-esque. A little light on explanations of the Vanishers and what's what with the supposed coexistence of magic/spirits and technology. Sex scene more intense, explicit, and weird than I prefer in my reading. And I apparently missed a few details on audio, like the age of the protagonist. ...more
In the Vanishers' Palace is a f/f retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with a DRAGON. Aliette de Bodard did an excellent job on this one!
The writing and the world she created was just MAGICAL. I immediately fell in love with the setting and the characters. And it's not just a romance but also so much about family and motherhood and has the most adorable pair of siblings!
5/5 from me for an adorable romance, a mind-fuck of a setting, being hella queer (bi/lesbian/non-binary characters of color),
Zen Cho
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: by-women, sff, asia, by-poc, romance
An intense, atmospheric read from a brilliant writer.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-f, lgbtqia, high-fantasy
The dragon’s eyes were a light grey, the color of storm clouds gathering. She was looking straight at Yên with an expression that was half-irritation, half-hunger, as if she would gobble Yên whole, given half a chance. 

And what scared Yên most? This might, in the end, be just what she longed for.

A hugely imaginative fantasy tale (with a good dose of sci-fi) that tackles colonialism, imperialism and a Beauty and the Beast-esque narrative in a Vietnam-inspired world. It's got magic! It's got r
I’ve been telling everyone I know about In the Vanishers’ Palace, a f/f retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”… with dragons! So get ready for a really excited review.

Yên is a failed scholar in a harsh world. She and her mother are barely accepted in their village community for her mother’s skills as a healer, but Yên knows their situation is precarious and that they are likely to someday be cast out or killed. When Yên’s mother summons the dragon Vu Côn to heal the daughter of a village leader, Vu
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This sounded very promising and started out well, but in the end I just felt there was too much of some and too little of some other. Let me explain:

The world was fascinating and drew me in right away. What had happened? Who were the Vanishers and where did they go? The mix of Fantasy and SF with Vietnamese culture in there too, was great. But then all too quickly we got to the Beauty and the Beast bit and that's where I was lost. I felt like the attraction was just that, an attraction. We were
31 Mar 2021

1. I was told this was a lesbian beauty and the beast retelling. And while I liked the book I have to say the similarities are mostly superficial. Yes, the MC does give herself up to a powerful, monstrous being in order to save her parent and the being in question takes her home for purposes of her own. But that's about it.

2. I mention this because Beauty and the Beast retellings come with certain expectations. Mostly that of a slow burn romance where the characters slowly develop fee
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
2.5 Stars...I think.
I'm honestly very confused on how I feel about this one, unfortunately.
I have seen some really positive things about Bodard’s writing and when I saw this novella up for review I knew I had to finally give her work a chance. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite work for me the way I had hoped it would.

The world of Vanishers’ Palace is quite intriguing and steeped in Vietnamese lore, which is something that I am largely unfamiliar with. We have two different planes of exist
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Reviewed for the Bibliophibian.

Received to review via Netgalley

I wanted and expected to love this story. It’s a queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast, based on Vietnamese folklore with sci-fi elements as well, and dragons. There’s even a sci-fi library that I really want to exist. I pre-ordered it, requested it on Netgalley, and generally waited on tenterhooks. How did I find it? Well.

It opens promisingly enough: Yên, the daughter of a healer, is traded to a dragon in exchange for her healing
Aliette de Bodard is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors of short fiction - In the Vanishers' Palace is her latest release and it's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast inspired by Vietnamese folklore and dragons. It's set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world which has been partially ruined by a mysterious group of creatures called the Vanishers who have now vanished and left the people of world to try to pick up the pieces. It's fantasy (because dragons and magic) but also felt science-f ...more
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Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris. She has won three Nebula Awards, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and four British Science Fiction Association Awards. She was a double Hugo finalist for 2019 (Best Series and Best Novella). Most recently she published The House of Sundering Flames (Gollancz/JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.), the conclusion to her Dominion of the Fallen trilogy, s ...more

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