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Ship of Fates

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In the gridlocked harbor of San Francisco's Barbary Coast, a ship hung with red paper lanterns draws crowds eager to gamble and drink. Aboard this red-lit ship, the fates of two young women will be altered irrevocably and tied forever to that of an ancient lighthouse keeper who longs to be free.

Set against the backdrop of Gold Rush-era San Francisco's Chinese immigrant co
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Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Lanternfish Press
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  57 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Rebecca
Interesting idea, and spin on Fairytales but very bleak and lacking any hope. The prose is fine, often times beautiful, but the swearing, anachronistic dialogue, and pointless sexual metaphors took me out of the story. Excessive passive verb tense distanced me from the characters. I felt like I was being told everything rather than shown. Good ideas, but left me bored and wondering what the author was trying to say with this book.
Tim Hicks
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, historical
I suppose it's my reading background that made me not enjoy this.
I read many SF/F books, and a smidgen of historical. Lots of fantasy, involving mythology and fairy tales from many places.

Stealing gold and fleeing by whale? No problem.
Tossed up in San Francisco, Gold Rush days, where Chinese people and women are treated as you might expect if you've read about it before.

So here's Mei, trapped in her lighthouse. Did I miss the part where we were told what happened when she tried to leave? You
...more
Katie Lawrence
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Review to come. Really enjoyed learning a bit about a historical time that I was not very familiar with. I did a lot of Googling after I finished the book.

Review for the Library Journal:

DEBUT In this slim first novel, Chung crafts a dark, original fairy tale about fate, consequences, and the origins of California's gold. An unnamed narrator in an unidentified time begins the story, visiting an abandoned lighthouse in San Francisco. The heavy door is answered by an age-defying Chinese woman, who
...more
Keilla
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Happy Release Day! This is a atmospheric novel that will transport you through history with a bit of magic.

Read it now!
An
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Ship of Fates is an original fairy tale that combines Eastern and Western folklore with the Chinese-American immigrant experience. As someone who comes from an Asian background, I found it refreshing to see a historical fiction that focuses on Asian-Americans without the stereotypical "exotic" mystique of the Far East. The author openly acknowledges the discrimination that early Chinese immigrants encountered (and still continue to) in America. Aside from overt racism like "Orientals" and "China ...more
L.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strange, beautiful, and fantastical tale-within-a-tale set during the Gold Rush on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. Ship of Fates is a magical realist immigrant story about an immortal woman who is desperate to escape her ancient curse.

It is centered largely around various women, the society that enslaves them, and the way they victimize each other in turn. Almost invariably, the appearance of male characters feels jarring and intrusive to the narrative - the lighthouse that imprisons Mei is re
...more
Nathan Elias
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bee
Feb 28, 2020 added it
A complicated, short novel that I think I need to discuss with someone to get a full sense of. Full of the gold rush & Barbary Coast, with Rapunzel elements and maybe hints of Kaguya? It's a history that I wish I had better context for, which is a personal statement that I think of as a rousing endorsement. ...more
Gaze into the Blue Light
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun novella to read. I loved the setting the most. The Barbary Coast, docks, ships, and the seas coast made me feel like I was there. The descriptions of the people and scenes inside the ship were fun. It is a modern fairy tale so it can feel like What’s the moral here? sometimes but overall I enjoyed the drama and history.
*Lanternfish Press provided a copy to review
Tj
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful debut. Beautiful storytelling with a dash of humor to set off moments of gnarled realism. I think the book’s strongest message is about perspective. About how one’s own voice can both command and be absorbed by myth. It tells a forgotten narrative while creating a new one that is modern, intelligent and, maybe most importantly, fun to read.
Joan Osborne
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Well. Fairy tale?
Krayfish1
Mar 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Very cool setting. More stories about SF during the gold rush, please! Interesting style.
Cindy
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The art of storytelling features an engrossing tale and pitch-perfect delivery; Caitlin Chung excels at both in her debut, Ship of Fates. A young woman listens as Mei, an ancient lighthouse keeper, combines the legend of "Maker of Gold Mountain" with her tragic life story. The young woman hears "these stories--the ones about her, about this place, and about the old place, too."

The legend begins in China in 1000 BC, where Mei, a beautiful woman betrothed to a foreigner, steals her dowry gold and
...more
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