The Splinter in the Sky

Gallery/Saga. Jul. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781668008478. $27.99. SF
DEBUT Tea specialist Enitan endures the Vaalbaran empire occupying her home, Koriko, until they kidnap her sibling Xiang. After volunteering to be a hostage to suppress discontent, Enitan is taken to the floating imperial capital, the Splinter, with one goal: rescue Xiang. To do so, she agrees to spy for both the empire’s enemies and the newly elevated Vaalbaran Imperator herself. She’ll have to play both sides and ignore her growing connection with the Imperator if she wants to win freedom for her sibling, her people, and herself. The novel enmeshes its characters in political intrigue while exploring prejudice and empire. In the Splinter, Enitan faces cultural appropriation and tokenization but leverages her culture to survive and become a dangerous player in her own right. Developing alongside the action is an enemies-to-allies relationship between Enitan and the Imperator, complicated by questions of power and privilege with a resolution that may ring truer for some readers than others.
VERDICT Ashing-Giwa’s debut will appeal to fans of A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine and those who enjoy a decisive protagonist who throws herself into the action.
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