The Tangleroot Palace

The Tangleroot Palace

4.11 (368 ratings by Goodreads)
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July 2021 Indie Next Recommended Book

[STARRED REVIEW] "Liu's mastery of so many different subgenres astounds, and her ear for language carries each story forward on gorgeously crafted sentences. This is a must-read"
--Publishers Weekly, Top-10 forthcoming SF/F/H title

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom's deep, dark woods.

Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu's first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 17.78mm | 454g
  • United States
  • English
  • 1616963522
  • 9781616963521
  • 18,316

Review quote

Publishers Weekly 2021 Top-10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Forthcoming Titles
2021 Indie Next List selection

[STARRED REVIEW] "Liu (the Monstress series) charms with this spellbinding collection of six short stories and one novella. The standouts are "The Briar and the Rose," a darkly fascinating retelling of "Sleeping Beauty," in which a female duelist discovers her witch employer is living in the stolen body of Princess Rose, and helps Rose to regain it; and "Call Her Savage," a steampunk western set during the Opium Wars and following half-Chinese antiheroine Lady Marshal as she struggles to be the hero others need her to be. Also of note are the haunting and eerie, "Sympathy for the Bones"; "The Last Dignity of Man," about a would-be supervillain who realizes he must be his own superman; and two stories set in the world of Liu's Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series: the atmospheric historical fantasy, "Where the Heart Lives," which serves as a prequel to the series, and the dystopian "After the Blood," about Amish vampires, set in the series's future. The title novella offers a more standard secondary world fantasy, about a runaway princess drawn to an enchanted forest, but uses this familiar plot to probe the character's feelings of being trapped. Liu's mastery of so many different subgenres astounds, and her ear for language carries each story forward on gorgeously crafted sentences. This is a must-read."
--Publishers Weekly,

[STARRED REVIEW] "A collection of short stories exploring the emotional complexity, diverse physicality, and layered sexuality of resourceful women. In 'Sympathy for the Bones, ' Clora is old Ruth's unwilling apprentice witch in Kentucky, forced to murder men with hoodoo magic or surrender her soul. Having lost her family, Clora longs to know what it feels like to love and be loved, even as she plans her escape. Another kind of escape is brewing in 'The Briar and the Rose, ' a retelling of 'Sleeping Beauty, ' only this time the charming prince is a brown warrior-woman who must walk the dangerous line between freeing the woman she's come to love and her duty to her mistress¬--the sorceress who inhabits Rose's body six days out of seven. In 'Call Her Savage, ' a striking magical alternate history, ex-Lady Marshall Xing MacNamara--who comes from New China, on the Pacifica coast of an America allied with its Native peoples--must kill her former lover Maude in order to stop the Redcoats from colonizing the world. Rounding out the collection are a story about Amish vampires and a secret marriage in a plague-ridden future that gingerly explores trauma and strength; a gay wannabe-supervillain looking for a superhero to love him in a story that asks what true vulnerability can awaken; and a princess, determined to forge her own path through sentient trees and evil queens, who wrestles with how to remain true to duty, heart, and mind. Within each tale, author Liu gives a masterclass in the art of storytelling. She doesn't waste a word or a comma, nor does she miss an opportunity to dive into what makes us human, no matter who we are or who we love. In the title novella, the protagonist learns that 'some trees are bark and root, and some trees have soul and teeth." So, too, will readers find that Liu's writing is all "soul and teeth." Neither will release them quickly. The only drawback to these seven stories is that readers will want far more time in each world."
--Kirkus, starred review

[STARRED REVIEW]"Marjorie Liu gathers six previously published short stories and an original novella in a powerful collection of speculative fiction, showcasing the talent that's won her several Eisner and Hugo awards. With a range of themes and settings, the stories in The Tangleroot Palace showcase immersive world building and emotionally evocative prose, the same writing that has made her so successful in her paranormal romance novels and in powerhouse comics like Monstress (with Sana Takeda)."
--Shelf Awareness

"The Tangleroot Palace is charming and ruthless. Tales that feel new yet grounded in the infinitely ancient, a mythology for the coming age."
--Angela Slatter, author of The Bitterwood Bible

"This is a superb collection from start to finish. Mysterious, beautiful and strange, harsh and charming, it fires the emotional palate."
--Charles de Lint, author of the Newford series

"Marjorie Liu captivates with her evocative language an instinct for adjusting the story's tone according to its content and the ideal narrative perspective."
--Ancillary Review of Books

"A spellbinding collection."
--Book Riot

"Some authors excel at one thing; others can do it all. Whether it's fairy tales or superheroes or the post-apocalypse, Liu always delivers, and with her own unique spin."
--Marie Brennan, author of Driftwood

"Beautifully written, deeply engaging, and full of wonder and strong female characters.
--Grimdark Magazine

"Rich and evocative tales with just the right amount of bite."
--Kelley Armstrong, author of Bitten

"5/5 stars. Absolutely mesmerizing storytelling."
--Ash and Books

--Book Lover's Boudoir

"Vivid writing that lights up my brain. Evocative settings. Memorable characters engaged in dark struggles. When I read Marjorie Liu's stories, I know I'm in the hands of a master."
--Carrie Vaughn, author of the Kitty Norville series

"Liu's astonishing range reaches stunning heights of savagery and tenderness, with groundbreaking visions of fairy tales, alternate history, and high fantasy, even challenging the conventions of feminism itself. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be swept away by the tragic romance, nail-biting adventure, and dread-inducing terror found within these boundary-pushing texts, where representation is the key ingredient to supremely engaging storylines, accessible to all."
--Cemetery Dance

5/5 stars. "Fans of genre fiction and short stories should pick this one up. Liu's talent with world building alone make this collection a must read."
--Allusory Book Reviews

5/5 Stars. "Each tale brought something beautiful and totally original to the table and I truly felt completely immersed in every sentence Liu wrote."
--A Series of Various Events

Praise for Monstress

"Brilliant...Stuffed with intricate myths, dense history, crisscrossing political relationships and magical technology, the world of Monstress is everything a fantasy reader could want."
--NPR Books

"[T]his is a book that will be wildly embraced by all fans of graphic literature."
--School Library Journal

"With Monstress, the Chinese-American writer and her Japanese Illustrator now have a platform that allows them to represent the breadth of their cultures and aesthetic interests."
--LA Review of Books

"Monstress might be the most ambitious comic book on the market. It takes guts to go all out and create a swirling fantasy adventure at a time when the industry is trending toward sci-fi, superhero, and more grounded stories."

"Stories in this volume evoke everyone from William Goldman to Tanya Huff, from Hayao Miyazaki to Kevin Smith."
--Green Man Review

"Marjorie Liu is incredibly talented and this book gives a taste of all the things she's capable of. She easily goes from horror to fairy tale to post-apocalyptic paranormal, and why not throw in some superhero-inspired story, a handful of zombies and a defiant princess in there."
--SFF Reviews

"Liu's dynamic writing style and clever story concepts are the real standouts--she is just as capable of producing evocative, romantic writing as she is pounding out gritty, electric scenes of violent revenge."
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About Marjorie Lu

Marjorie M. Liu is a bestselling novelist and comic book writer. She is the author of more than 19 novels, most notably the urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss and the paranormal romance series Dirk & Steele. She has twice received the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, for The Mortal Bone and Tiger Eye. Ms. Liu's graphic novel work at Marvel includes Black Widow, Han Solo, Dark Wolverine, and Astonishing X-Men. She is the co-creator of Monstress from Image Comics, which has won multiple Hugo, British Fantasy, and Harvey Awards. Ms. Liu was the first woman, and first woman of color, to win an Eisner Award in the Best Writer category.

At BookExpo, Ms. Liu was a featured speaker alongside Rachel Maddow, Ta-Nehesi Coats, and Malcolm Gladwell. She has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, MTV, and been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, Atlantic, and USA Today. She is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker, appearing on panels at San Diego Comic Con, the Tokyo Literary Festival, the New York Times Public Lecture series, Geeks Out, and the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Ms. Liu was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Seattle, and has lived in numerous cities in the Midwest, as well as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Prior to writing full-time, she was a lawyer. She currently lives in Boston and teaches comic-book writing at MIT.
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Rating details

368 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 32% (119)
4 50% (183)
3 15% (55)
2 2% (9)
1 1% (2)
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