Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The Brides of High Hill by Nghi Vo!

Title: The Brides of High Hill
Series: The Singing Hills Cycle #5
Author: Nghi Vo
Source/Format: NetGalley; eARC
More Details: Fantasy; Novella
Publisher/Publication Date: Tordotcom; May 7, 2024

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
The Hugo Award-Winning Series returns with its newest standalone entry: a gothic mystery involving a crumbling estate, a mysterious bride, and an extremely murderous teapot.

The Cleric Chih accompanies a beautiful young bride to her wedding to an aging lord at a crumbling estate situated at the crossroads of dead empires. But they’re forgetting things they ought to remember, and the lord’s mad young son wanders the grounds at night like a hanged ghost.

One of my most anticipated releases of the year was Nghi Vo’s next novella in The Singing Hills’s Cycle, The Brides of High Hill, which the synopsis described as a gothic mystery. I’ve enjoyed books of that type from time to time, so, going into The Brides of High Hill, I was interested to see what Vo’s interpretation of it would look like.

The latest adventure of Cleric Chih takes a slight detour from the typical structure of the series, and puts them right in the thick of the action. There’s still a story that’s being told, but its clues can be subtle and are deeply embedded in the occurrences of the novella, rather than a story that is being imparted, in pieces, to Cleric Chih by other characters. The switch, however, works well, when the mystery and gothic aspects are taken into account. Atmosphere can be key—sometimes—and getting to see the faded or outright eerie elegance as well as the dilapidation that make up Doi Cao was a crucial part of setting the stage for the story.

And what a story it was. The twist managed to catch me by surprise, because it subverted the way I thought the story was going to go. But hindsight is 20/20. However, the ending is part of what I love most about Vo’s handling of The Brides of High Hill. It could have been straightforward, but it wasn’t. And I enjoyed that direction at lot more than my guesses.

At the end of the day, The Brides of High Hill is another great installment in the series.

About the author....
Nghi Vo is the author of the novels Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful, as well as the acclaimed novellas of the Singing Hills Cycle, which began withThe Empress of Salt and Fortune. The series entries have been finalists for the Locus Award and the Lambda Literary Award, and have won the Crawford Award, the Ignyte Award, and the Hugo Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind.

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Tordotcom) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you! 

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