Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Fireheart Tiger

by Aliette de Bodard

Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.

Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.

Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

4 of 5 stars


I received a copy of Fireheart Tiger in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Aliette de Bodard's latest novella, Fireheart Tiger, is a thrilling, moving, and fast-paced read. One that blends politics with duty, love, and the determination to do what is right.

Thanh has always been the quiet and thoughtful sort. A trait that became more pronounced after she was sent away to another kingdom. Now she's home, and she's struggling in her new role as a diplomat.

Not because she lacks the skills or intelligence, but because nobody seems willing to listen to her. Least of all her mother. That is, until a series of events changes everything. And it all starts when Thanh's secret ex-lover, Princess Eldris, arrives.

“Thanh exhales, and leaves the room – though she already knows that the fire will come back.”

I cannot get over how quickly Fireheart Tiger flew through my mind and soul. It was a beautiful and compelling read – one that is certain to touch the hearts of anyone who has ever questioned their place, their loyalty, or their love.

Oh! I didn't mention the best parts! Fireheart Tiger is pitched as a blend between The Goblin Emperor and Howl's Moving Castle, but with a sapphic twist. So what more could you possibly ask for? And yes, having read the novella, it lives up to all of those promises. And then some.

Thanh's narrative is delightfully written. It's so easy to appreciate who she is, and what she is struggling against. More than that, the words themselves really do seem to flow across the pages.

I think that is the main reason why this read seemed to happen in the blink of an eye for me. One minute I was sitting down to read, the next I was blinking and looking around the room, as I had hit the final page of Fireheart Tiger.

So, was it worth it? Yes, a hundred times over. I truly did enjoy this read, and am looking forward to reading more of Aliette de Bodard's works in the future.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 1 February, 2021: Finished reading
  • 1 February, 2021: Reviewed