*Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an ARC for review!*
Wandering cleric Chih of the Singing Hills travels to the riverlands to record tales of the notorious near-immortal martial artists who haunt the region. On the road to Betony Docks, they fall in with a pair of young women far from home, and an older couple who are more than they seem. As Chih runs headlong into an ancient feud, they find themselves far more entangled in the history of the riverlands than they ever expected to be.
I liked the fact this this book is a little bit of a departure from the other two novellas. Chih is travelling with other people on the road through the riverlands and learning along the way as opposed to meeting someone and stopping to acquire their story. This is such a engaging and entertaining way to learn about the other characters and still get to hear the different tales.
All of the characters we meet were interesting and distinct. Lao Bingyi was one of my favourite characters in this series that we’ve met so far! She was just so sure of herself and took charge in all the different situations the group came upon. I liked the fact that she kept her own story to herself yet had so many opinions about all the other stories, almost as if she was there for them and not knowing for sure who she is adds that layer of mystery and intrigue. I think Khahn was a great contrasting character to her and his stoicism and quiet strength was nicely balanced with his desire to share stories as well.
Wei Jintai and Sang were another pair I found to be very likeable. Their relationship is so strong yet playful and both understand the roles that they have grown into. I would of loved to learn more about their upbringing and the journey they had undertaken to get as far into the riverlands as they have but alas this is the nature of these novellas.
I loved hearing about lore and tales woven throughout the book as this group undertakes this journey and I enjoyed the fact that there was also some action along the way that reinforces that Chih and Almost Brilliant aren’t always immune from harm.
⭐️4/5 stars This was just such an enjoyable and memorable read!