Warning: printf(): Too few arguments in /home/kerily5/public_html/feministfantasy/wp-content/themes/generate-pro/functions.php on line 116
A fantasy novel set in an imaginary land but based on the Communist revolution in China? An exile tries to restore the power of women in a land that has forgotten its heritage. A sequel to The Secrets of Jin-shei, 400 years later.
“The Embers of Heaven
by Alma Alexander
In my review, I described best-selling novel The Secrets of Jin-Shei (also reviewed on this site) as “A mainstream fantasy”. This popular and well-loved novel just had to have a sequel, and here it is at last. Set four hundred years after the first book, Tai’s descendents have left Syai for the sunlit seaside land of Elaas. Amais is the child of a fisherman and the daughter of an exiled Syai prince, who listens to the tales her grandmother tells her and dreams of discovering the “women’s country” for herself. When her grandmother dies, Amais, her mother and young sister leave Elaas to bury the ashes in Syai but find it no longer the beautiful, magical land of willows and pagodas, silks and incense they imagined. It is a country on the verge of revolution. It looks as though centuries of history are about to be swept away…
Here is an intense, beautifully told tale that is as likely to appeal to readers of historical novels as those of fantasy, and is indeed more mainstream novel than genre escapism. Surely nobody would wish to escape to Iloh’s revolution, Ms Alexander’s retelling of the Chinese Revolution seen through a fantasist’s dark mirror. Syai is not China, but a version of it as might exist somewhere in a parallel universe. This is a compelling story about dreams and where they lead, of how one person’s determination to change history can do so, for good or ill and how destruction for whatever reason is never a good idea. It is a tale full of revolution, travel, pleasure and heartbreak that kept the pages turning far into the night. This is another one for the keeper shelf that will probably get read more than once and which operates on many levels. A rare treat.”