Siren Queen

Tor.com. May 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250788832. $26.99. FANTASY
Movie magic is made manifest, beguiling, and deadly in Vo’s (The Chosen and the Beautiful) tale about Luli, a Chinese American girl who is determined to realize her dreams of movie stardom, no matter how much she has to lie, cheat, or steal. Inside the closed world of the film studios, Luli learns that Hollywood magic literally consumes the soul, one picture or autograph at a time. The studios have made bargains with hell, and Luli learns she will be forced to pay in blood if she can’t reach the stardom she craves. Luli declines to play the roles expected of her and angers the studios; in particular, she refuses to pretend to be either straight or subservient, making her a monster in the eyes of the powerful movie execs. Luli’s stance ultimately makes her a star, and she shines in the firmament for all who come after her.
VERDICT Luli is a compelling character both on and off the screen in this story that takes the mythmaking of Hollywood and transforms it and her into something transcendent. Highly recommended.
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