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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen series comes a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land....

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world. 

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference. 

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement. 

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies - and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn's dark, unspeakable secrets....

Contains mature themes.

©2018 Aliette de Bodard (P)2019 Tantor

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  • April Ohms
  • 15-08-2020

such a wonderful book

wow. The performance was fantastic, and the story and lore even more so. The lore is rich without being overbearing. The voices are distinct without being silly, and the emotions come though the reading without being too heave or making it difficult to listen to. The story is a beautiful romance about power struggles and navigating a broken system. It deals with intelligent characters butting up against each other, and learning new cultures and knowledge through relationships with people. and the Romance! it's about feeling this attraction to someone who is supposed to hurt you, and feeling that guilt. and then being confused when that hurt never comes (or not in the way you expect). and on the other side, its about living in your own world, and then this person comes in and changes your whole view of it, and learning empathy through it. the romance is beautiful and front and center. the characters are complex and real. and the magic system feels new without being too hard to understand. also there is a prominent nonbinary character, and others too. It's set in a harsh world, but there is no homophobia or transphobia, and lots of lgbtq+ characters. If your looking for a good queer romance or just a good book, i highly reccomend.

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