Fireheart Tiger is an action packed novella that explores colonization and abuse. This is my first piece of work from de Bodard and I am so excited I finally got to it! After hearing the praise of Fireheart Tiger I knew I had to check it out! Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts.
Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.
Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.
Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?
My favorite element in Fireheart Tiger was the discussion of imperialism paired with the world. Just within these pages, de Bodard tells a story about responsibility, power, and the future. Thanh is trying desperately to hold off colonizers who have used the ages old excuses of ‘savegery’ to justify their colonization. Her efforts, in the midst of a force of power, one with veiled threats and manipulation, was absolutely phenomenal to read. While the sands in the hourglass are counting down, Thanh is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t end up in enemy clutches.
While I enjoyed Fireheart Tiger immensely, I wish there had been a smidge more development with the relationships in the novella. The ways Thanh is manipulated and gaslit were heart wrenching and I didn’t expect it! Without drifting into spoiler territory, there was just one relationship which I wish had a little more depth – even though I love what I saw of it! Fireheart Tiger looks at the feeling of freedom, the burning in desire, and the rage in rebellion. And you know that you’ll always hook me when you mention sapphic ships!
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