The Tangleroot Palace – Marjorie Liu

While I’d already well and truly fallen in love with Monstress, I hadn’t read anything else by this author. After being wowed by this collection, I will now be working to rectify this egregious mistake.

Sympathy for the Bones

Clora works with bone needles and thread. She doesn’t make mistakes. 

Fear of a hoodoo woman was natural. Fear was how it had to be. 

The Briar and the Rose

In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, we meet the Duelist who, on Sundays, is called Briar. While six days a week are devoted to violence, the seventh contains love. 

The Duelist had learned, long ago, that oppression could be defeated only through study; like a sword, the mind must always be tended to if it was to aim true. 

The Light and the Fury

Superheroes, war and crystal skulls. 

“Can you be what they need?”
“No,” she said quietly. “But I can try.” 

The Last Dignity of Man

His mother named him Alexander Lutheran. Wasn’t it inevitable that he would aspire to become Lex Luthor? 

And he has lived up to that name, in more ways than one. 

Where the Heart Lives

This story takes place in the Dirk & Steele universe, well before the events of the first book in the series. Although I tend to stay as far away from romance novels as possible, I’m intrigued enough to want to dive into the first book. 

“We all have our homes,” she said quietly. “The ability to choose yours is not a gift to take for granted.” 

After the Blood

Amish vampires! A sequel to the novella, The Robber Bride, which I now need to read. 

Only so long a man could keep secrets while living under his family’s roof. 

Tangleroot Palace

When Sally’s father arranges for her to be married to the Black Knight of the Poisoned Cookies (not his real name), she decides to turn to the Tangleroot forest for help. It’s not like she’s got anything to lose.

Bonus points to the raven in the tree next door that believes in book-life symmetry, waiting to caw until the exact moment the raven in the story did. 

“Most people, when they have questions, ask other people. They do not go running headfirst into a place of night terrors and magic.” 

It is rare for me to love a short story collection more than I love the idea of it but this one exceeded my expectations.

The Light and the Fury was the only story I wasn’t immediately captivated by. The rest, I adored, but none more so than The Last Dignity of Man

Content warnings include mention of death by suicide, death of animals, miscarriage and sexual assault.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Titan Books for the opportunity to fall in love with this collection.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

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 collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

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 travelling 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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