Cho’s work blends together the wide array of her various cultural influences with a frequent interest in queer and lesbian characters to great effect. Highly recommended for those interested in well-written fantasy fiction outside of the post-Tolkien mold.
Captivating ... Most of the stories feature independent-minded women who either have magic of their own or know someone who does. Their determination often serves them well…but not always. Along the way, they learn about self-acceptance, lost love, or new opportunities. Not all of the lessons are happy ones, and some come too late to do lead characters any good. All of the stories have something important to say, and they say it in the most enthralling, devastating, and uplifting ways ... Featuring imaginative scenarios infused with Malaysian folklore.
Cho showcases tongue-in-cheek wit, sensitive characterization, and wide literary range in this update to her 2014 Crawford Fantasy Award–winning collection, which includes nine new stories. The most breathtaking entries feature wry and perceptive marriages of Malaysian folklore, modern pressures, and the nuances of intergenerational relationships ... While lighter pieces...can end abruptly, all 19 stories tackle fantasy tropes with a fundamental sweetness and humor that never ignores the complexity of intercultural life. Powerful but subtle magic woven into the fabric of intricate worlds make Cho a sure favorite for readers of Kelly Link and Carmen Maria Machado.
A collection of speculative stories that play on Malaysian folklore and fantasy tropes with humor and compassion ... Stories...combine folklore with the mundane ... The stories are told with the precise and almost sparse voice of fairy tales, but they can sometimes veer toward the excessively fanciful. Some...rely too much on humor and speculative elements without quite landing. Nevertheless, the collection’s most moving stories harness seamless worldbuilding, intriguing character development, and thematic complexity ... A swath of delightful and intricate stories from a wildly inventive storyteller.