Book Review: The Red Scholar's Wake by Aliette de Bodard

 My book review of The Red Scholar's Wake by Aliette de Bodard. This was a wonderful scifi with LGBTQ undertones and a rambunctious family dynamic.

Title: The Red Scholar's Wake

By: Aliette de Bodard

Genre: Scifi

Pages: 336

Release Date: November 24th, 2022

Publisher: Gollancz

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

Xích Si: bot maker, data analyst, mother, scavenger. But those days are over now-her ship has just been captured by the Red Banner pirate fleet, famous for their double-dealing and cruelty. Xích Si expects to be tortured to death-only for the pirates' enigmatic leader, Rice Fish, to arrive with a different and shocking proposition: an arranged marriage between Xích Si and herself.

Rice Fish: sentient ship, leader of the infamous Red Banner pirate fleet, wife of the Red Scholar. Or at least, she was the latter before her wife died under suspicious circumstances. Now isolated and alone, Rice Fish wants Xích Si's help to find out who struck against them and why. Marrying Xích Si means Rice Fish can offer Xích Si protection, in exchange for Xích Si's technical fluency: a business arrangement with nothing more to it.

But as the investigation goes on, Rice Fish and Xích Si find themselves falling for each other. As the interstellar war against piracy intensifies and the five fleets start fighting each other, they will have to make a stand-and to decide what kind of future they have together...


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I wasn't sure what to think of this read at first, but it quickly grew on me.

Rice Fish is a sentient ship and the leader of the Red Banner pirates. Her wife recently died under suspicious circumstances. When Xich Si's ship is captured, Rice Fish has a proposition that would change both their lives.

At first, I couldn't understand how a sentient ship was such a threat. How it could marry and how it could have children. To be honest, I still don't fully understand it, but with a story like this, I was still very entertained. The depth of these characters and how their family is woven into the storyline is wonderfully put together.

De Bodard has a beautiful writing voice that built a world that is dark and brooding. The surroundings were easy to picture from the descriptions the author left like bread crumbs and the characters had feeling and depth.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was full of surprises and twist I didn't see coming. A definite read.

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