Siren Queen book review

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
288 pages
publishes May 10th, 2022

From award-winning author Nghi Vo comes a dazzling new novel where immortality is just a casting call away

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic. 

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill–but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid. 

But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes–even if that means becoming the monster herself. 

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

Obligatory I don’t usually read historical novels etc etc but also this book stalked me on the internet for months until I requested it from NetGalley. Also I was not persuaded to read more historical novels by this book! Great writing! Great magical realism! Great book! Incredible intense look into names and ownership of names and what names are, etc. I don’t know maybe I’ll read this one again. I think if you’re into historical fiction, this would be a great book for you. Just not necessarily for me!

This really feels like one of those “this was a great book but I personally did not like it” reviews, which it is! And that’s why the star system should be abolished. Three stars! At great personal cost.

Bookshop link here.

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