Book Review: The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this. Like the House of Shattered Wings series this has a strong Vietnamese influence, but this is set in space.

Our protagonist is a mindship who exists both in space and as an avatar projected to rooms where she interacts with humans. She makes tea blends that are carefully tailored to each customer. She becomes fascinated by a new customer and ends up going to retrieve a dead body and helping solve a murder mystery. All the while dealing with seeming attraction to said customer – a brash, drugged, brilliant consulting detective – and past trauma.

I would read a novel or even a series of these characters happily – they grew on me very quickly and were intriguing as a pair. Very Sherlock Holmes-esque.

I also love Aliette de Boddard’s writing style. It’s dense and all the Vietnamese inspired names and terms make reading it a bit difficult, not to mention the way things are hinted at but seldom said outright – like wading through knee-deep water instead of breezing along the shore – but I love it just the same. Or maybe because? I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m adding her to my auto-buy list.

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