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The Red Threads of Fortune (The Tensorate Series) Paperback – September 26, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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“Joyously wild stuff. Highly recommended.” ―The New York Times
“Yang conjures up a world of magic and machines, wild monsters and sophisticated civilizations, that you'll want to return to again and again.” ―Ars Technica
“I love JY Yang’s effortlessly fascinating world-building for its layers and the seamless way it intertwines with her characters’ lives and choices. Pack in thrilling action and mysteries to be solved, and this novella heralds the opening of a great new universe of tales.” ―Kate Elliott, author of Black Wolves and Court of Fives
“Full of love and loss, confrontation and discovery. Each moment is a glistening pearl, all strung together in a wonder of world-creation.” ― Ken Liu, Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner and author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie
“An inventive fantasy from an exciting new talent, The Red Threads of Fortune will immerse readers in a fascinating world of battles, politics, magic and romance.” ―Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
“An epic, moving story of people fighting to protect their city. Filled with memorable characters and set in a wonderfully imaginative and original universe, this will leave you eager for more.” ―Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author of The House of Shattered Wings
“JY Yang's strikingly confident debut novella The Red Threads of Fortune is a work of soaring, kinetic fantasy, like a Miyazaki movie decided to jump off the screen and sear itself into prose, and in doing so became something entirely new.” ―Indrapramit Das, author of The Devourers
“The extraordinary creatures and landscapes of JY Yang's relentlessly captivating, heartbreaking, and powerful Tensorate series will sweep you up, while the vivid characters ― especially Sanako Mokoya ― will keep your heart earthbound and enthralled. I couldn't put these books down, and can't wait to pick them up again.” ―Fran Wilde, award-winning, Nebula & Hugo-nominated author of Updraft, Cloudbound, and Horizon
“A fantastic novella... I can't wait to see what else Yang will do.” ―Locus
“Yang's writing is quiet, but it is the quiet of strength. It doesn't need to shout to be heard.” ―Michelle West for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
“[The Red Threads of Fortune] authentically depicts trauma and lays promising groundwork for future books in the series.” ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
JY YANG is a lapsed journalist, a former practicing scientist, and a master of hermitry. A queer, non-binary, postcolonial intersectional feminist, their work often examines issues of race, class, and gender. They have short fiction published or forthcoming in places including Uncanny, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons and Tor.com. They are the author of the Tensorate Series, which begins with the twin novellas The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune. They live in Singapore, edit fiction at Epigram Books, and have a MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia.
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I loved this little novella. It’s got awesome things like giant raptors and flying nagas, but the real reason I love this story is the deep emotional heart of the protagonist overcoming her grief and choosing to live after the death of her daughter.
I know there’s another novella set before this one, The Black Tides of Heaven, but I haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet. Clearly, The Red Threads of Fortune stands on its own.
After her young daughter died in a tragic accident, Sanao Mokoya abandoned her old life to go hunt wild nagas near the edges of the kingdom. For three years, she’s existed in a limbo, not really caring whether she lives or dies. Now, she and her pack of raptors are trailing a naga rumored to be bigger than any she’s hunted before. And she’s not the only one looking for the naga; she soon encounters someone else, a mysterious person named Rider, who has magical capabilities unlike any Mokoya has seen before. If she can trust Rider, they can work together to defend the city of Bataanar from the giant naga… and whomever is controlling it.
It’s amazing how much The Red Threads of Fortune packs into 160 pages. It’s an intricate, beautiful story of grief, loss, and healing and the relationships between mothers and daughters. And the prose is fantastic, which isn’t a huge surprise, since I’ve already known from their short stories that JY Yang is an amazing writer.
I adored Mokoya as a protagonist. The great thing about older characters is that they’ve got so much history. Mokoya is a woman in her forties with an estranged husband and a dead daughter. And a pack of raptors, of course. She’s scarred and world weary, and at certain points she contemplates suicide. She’s the sort of rough around the edges female character I adore.
Also, she’s queer, a word that could be applied to this novella in general. Part of the world building is that children are considered gender neutral and don’t chose their gender until they get older. There appears to be no prejudice against same-sex relationships, and one of the major characters, Rider, is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. It’s so wonderful to read a queer friendly, non-Western fantasy with great female characters. Also dinosaurs. I seriously loved the dinosaurs, you guys.
Actually, I just loved this novella in general. It’s doubtlessly one of my favorite reads of 2017, and it’s made me eager to get to The Black Tides of Heaven.
Overall though, these two books are surely just a warm up for a much bigger and more ambitious set of stories. I congratulate JY Yang on creating something superb and fresh, and look forward to seeing them flex their muscles with more stories in this world.
Mokoya is a deeply felt character, shaped by the grief she carries, but I didn’t initially sympathize with her. Indeed I was almost exasperated as people demonstrated compassion for her, while she demonstrated little reciprocal kindness. Maybe I was a harsh critic because I had heard such high praise for these novellas that my expectations were unrealistic. By the end I understood Mokoya better, and was far more in accord with her.
I love the setting of these novellas: a vivid, fascinating, fantastical secondary world that draws on Asian legacies rather than those of medieval Europe, but that is its own true self, a world in which children are nonbinary until they choose their gender, a world in which the sun rises and sets many times a day, a world in which Machinists vie against the established magic of the Tensorate. Recommended, but not so much that your expectations are unreasonable!
Most recent customer reviews
The Red Threads of Fortune follows the journey of Sanao Mokoya on the hunt in a vast desert for a massive flying creature known as a naga, and...Read more