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ARC Review: In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

In the Watchful City

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Publishing Date: August 31, 2021 by MacMillan/Tor-Forge

This slim volume took rather a lot of brain to read, so it was slow going. It was also slow as I became used to the unfamiliar pronouns — ae, se, and e — that are used throughout. Even as I struggled to comprehend it, though, I loved it.

The writing is gorgeous and inventive, with stories within stories weaving a tapestry of what it means to be human, to feel grief, to live.

Anima watches over aer city from within the Gleaming, borrowing the bodies of animals to make aer way around the city and protect it. Though she can float through the Gleaming and city at will, she cannot physically leave her room.

Vessel is a psychopomp who has a magical collection of artifacts, each with a story to tell.

Their interactions are beautiful to see, as Vessel slowly uses the stories of the artifacts to bring Anima back to an awareness of her humanity and what it means to live.

This is definitely going into my top 10 books of the year, and I will be recommending it highly.

*Thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan / Tor-Forge for providing an e-arc for review.

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