Into the Riverlands

Tor.com (Singing Hills Cycle, Bk. 3). Oct. 2022. 112p. ISBN 9781250851420. $19.99. FANTASY
The third novella in Vo’s Crawford Award–and Hugo Award–winning “Singing Hills Cycle” (after When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain) continues to follow cleric Chih as they travel through the empire of Ahn, collecting stories for their monastery, which is devoted to the preservation of history. On a little-used trail through the Singing Hills, Chih is accompanied on their journey by two young sisters (one of them a martial artist) and a local middle-aged couple, who take turns telling tales to ease the journey. One such story is the local legend of two martial artists, Wild Pig Yi and Gravewraith Chen, who fought over the treasure carried by the beauteous Nin but banded together to face a dangerous gang. It’s a good story that Chih is determined to preserve, but when the party reaches their destination, the cleric learns that not all good stories are true—or over. Like the previous books in the series, this one rides the knife edge between telling a story and being in the middle of it and explores how tales become legends.
VERDICT Vo’s (The Chosen and the Beautiful; Siren Queen) latest is highly recommended for readers of the previous books in the series and anyone who likes high fantasy inspired by Imperial China or wuxia movies and stories.
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