The Empress of Salt and Fortune


Everything is worth remembering. The details in life that are often overlooked or considered irrelevant are the very details that make something what it is, that tell the story of its passage through the world. There are no insignificant people, just as there are no meaningless memories. This is the philosophy of the clerics of the Singing Hills, and thus the mindset that brings together Chih and Rabbit.

I loved this story. I loved the way that Vo built the world around the tale she decided to tell, weaving in the details without holding the reader’s hand. Allowing the reader to explore this beautiful and strange and foreign world through Rabbit’s stories and through Chih’s observations. The mark of a good book is leaving the reader wanting more once the last page has been read, and The Empress of Salt and Fortune definitely accomplished that.

I really enjoyed the way that Vo went about relaying the story of the Empress, through the eyes and memories of Rabbit. I found it extremely unique and captivating. Using Chih’s mission of preserving knowledge as a catalyst to tell the story was also quite brilliant, and throughout the entirety of the story it felt completely organic. I appreciated how Rabbit and the Empress were both represented as being strong and powerful women, though they exhibited those qualities in different ways.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a magical experience that is made even more captivating through Vo’s gorgeous prose. It is one of those rare tales that becomes something more than simply words on a page. Rabbit’s stories of vengeance and love and loss and hurt will resonate within your soul, evoking ancestral memories and reminding you of what it means to be human.

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