December 03, 2018

BLOGMAS| In The Vanishers' Palace

In the Vanishers' Palace
Aliette de Bodard

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UK Release Date: October 16th, 2018

DISCLAIMER: I was sent an electronic review copy by the author in exchange for an honest and truthful review.

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets...


A dark, rich f/f retelling of the age old fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, In the Vanishers' Palace packs a punch in her thoughtful story of post-colonialism, love, and parenthood in both biological and adoptive families. And I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. 

My biggest fear (which shouldn't have been a fear because I trust Aliette as an author) was that the romantic would find itself entering into Stockholm Syndrome and unequal footing. However, within t
he relationship between Yên and Vu Côn, Bodard addresses this and uses the art of flirting with fruit to make the butterflies flutter until they are on equal footing. Can I have more characters flirting with fruit, please?

The post-colonial setting was an interesting choice, but a good one. It lay down the foundation of building a narrative of healing and relearning thought patterns. Bodard throws you straight into the story and it's up to the reader to feel around the world building, so if you don't like stories like that, then this might not be for you. I freaking love it, however, I feel like I could've spent longer in this world. There's so much more that this world could give us - and I hope Bodard revisits this world.


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