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145 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 16, 2018
Her eyes were the depths of the sea, the depths of the sky, the hungry maw that always sought sustenance, and Yên was as nothing before that. She was drawn, inexorably, stripped bare of everything. Of duty, of filial piety, of knowledge, of words.
It was night in the palace, and nothing made sense anymore: courtyards with towers that became underground silos, gardens with trees on every wall and roof, endless rooms where the windows opened on a hundred, a thousand different realities, where two suns became a sun eaten by a wolf became ten crows of fire spreading burning winds amidst a hail of arrows, where the moon was encircled by the roots of a banyan tree, its leaves falling pale and lifeless over the ruins of the earth....
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.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.
Fish, river, gate, storm.
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.
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.