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The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune / The Descent of Monsters / The Ascent to Godhood

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The Tensorate Series, which has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards, is an incomparable treasure of modern epic fantasy. Across four novellas, Neon Yang established themself as a fantasist in bold defiance of the limitations of their genre. Available now in a single volume, these four novellas trace the generational decline The Tensorate Series, which has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards, is an incomparable treasure of modern epic fantasy. Across four novellas, Neon Yang established themself as a fantasist in bold defiance of the limitations of their genre. Available now in a single volume, these four novellas trace the generational decline of an empire and unfurl a world that is rich and strange beyond anything you've dreamed. In the Tensorate Series you will find: rebellious nonbinary scions of empire, sky-spanning nagas with experimental souls, revolutionary engineers bent on bringing power to the people, pugilist monks, packs of loyal raptors, and much, much more. The Tensorate Series omnibus contains The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, and To Ascend to Godhood


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The Tensorate Series, which has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards, is an incomparable treasure of modern epic fantasy. Across four novellas, Neon Yang established themself as a fantasist in bold defiance of the limitations of their genre. Available now in a single volume, these four novellas trace the generational decline The Tensorate Series, which has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards, is an incomparable treasure of modern epic fantasy. Across four novellas, Neon Yang established themself as a fantasist in bold defiance of the limitations of their genre. Available now in a single volume, these four novellas trace the generational decline of an empire and unfurl a world that is rich and strange beyond anything you've dreamed. In the Tensorate Series you will find: rebellious nonbinary scions of empire, sky-spanning nagas with experimental souls, revolutionary engineers bent on bringing power to the people, pugilist monks, packs of loyal raptors, and much, much more. The Tensorate Series omnibus contains The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, and To Ascend to Godhood

30 review for The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune / The Descent of Monsters / The Ascent to Godhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars This a bind quartet of four wonderfully unique Asian inspired fantasy novellas Black Tides - 3.5 Stars I particularly enjoyed the worldbuilding in this one, which was well fleshed out over a short number of pages. The magic system, called Slackcraft, involved the manipulation of an intangible force called the Slack. I particularly loved seeing how the different people were able to use and manipulate that magic.  While I enjoyed spending time in this world, I acknowledge tha Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars This a bind quartet of four wonderfully unique Asian inspired fantasy novellas Black Tides - 3.5 Stars I particularly enjoyed the worldbuilding in this one, which was well fleshed out over a short number of pages. The magic system, called Slackcraft, involved the manipulation of an intangible force called the Slack. I particularly loved seeing how the different people were able to use and manipulate that magic.  While I enjoyed spending time in this world, I acknowledge that the plot was a bit thin and took a backseat in this novel. This is not a book to read for a fast driving narrative but instead one to read for the ideas within it. This story plays with the ideas of gender identity. I love the idea of a world where gender is affirmed rather than assumed at birth. Such a forward thinking concept. The Red Threads of Fortune - 3.0 Stars As a queer monster hunting adventure this novella certainly sounded up my alley. The actual story did not quite live up to my expectations. Like the first novella, this one was less about the plot and more about the characters. My favourite aspects of the first book were the worldbuilding and the magic system, but this one had a lot less focus on those elements. Instead this one was a much quieter examination of two people. The Descent of Monsters - 3.5 Stars This was one of the best novellas in the Tensorate series. The setup was incredibly compelling and the story itself delivered. Compared to the other novellas, this one has the strongest plot with a clear, driving narrative. The story was also very dark which always earns points with me. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The Ascent to Godhood - 3.0 Stars This was the shortest of the four novellas and did not leave the biggest impression. I appreciated the character work, but wanted more plot in this one. While not the strongest of the four works, I would still be interested to read more stories set in this world.  Overall I enjoyed these four stories and would recommend to readers looking for a queer fantasy with some wonderful elements of worldbuilding packed into a small package. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Tensorate series bindup edition.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nekkina93/72

    Pubblicata il 7 novembre 2021! . “Akeha e Mokoya non sono stati concepiti per amore o per caso. Ma sono il frutto delle manipolazioni e giochi di potere da parte della Regina, la loro madre. La loro infanzia non è stata per niente facile, sono passati dal vivere insieme alla loro perfida madre e sorelle, cresciuti da Sonami, l’unica ad averli mai amati. Per poi essere sradicati dall’unica casa che conoscevano all’’età di sei anni, per essere mandati come pagamento di un debito di sangue, al monastero Pubblicata il 7 novembre 2021! . “Akeha e Mokoya non sono stati concepiti per amore o per caso. Ma sono il frutto delle manipolazioni e giochi di potere da parte della Regina, la loro madre. La loro infanzia non è stata per niente facile, sono passati dal vivere insieme alla loro perfida madre e sorelle, cresciuti da Sonami, l’unica ad averli mai amati. Per poi essere sradicati dall’unica casa che conoscevano all’’età di sei anni, per essere mandati come pagamento di un debito di sangue, al monastero. Non hanno altro che se stessi e l’un l’altro una volta arrivati li, eppure con il passare del tempo si affezionano agli altri. Si affezionano alla loro nuova casa, ma quando Moyoka si renderà conto di vedere il futuro e quindi di poter fare profezie, la loro vita verrà stravolta nuovamente. Faranno l’errore di dirlo agli adulti, anche se Akeha non era d’accordo. Da quel momento, si ritrovano coinvolti nelle macchinazioni della crudele madre, che troverà una scappatoia per poter venire meno alla parola data e così tener in pugno anche loro. All’età di nove anni verranno nuovamente strappati dalla loro quotidianità. Da quella che era diventata la loro casa, dagli affetti e abitudini. Per finire a dover essere pedine negli intrighi politici della madre, la Regina. Crescendo incominceranno i primi litigi, ma nonostante tutto sono sempre stati molto uniti come gemelli. Fino a quando Mokoya deciderà di fare il rito di confermazione del genere. Quella sarà la prima crepa che rischierà di rovinare il loro legame. La seconda sarà quando Akeha stufo/a delle macchinazioni della madre, deciderà di andar via e cercare da solo/a il proprio cammino. Presto ci saranno gli oppositori del potere della Regina, stufi di quella situazione. I Macchinisti. Riusciranno a trovare ognuno la propria strada? Riusciranno a ricucire i rapporti? . La storia nei romanzi è divisa in diverse parti. Nel primo romanzo corrispondono all’infanzia, adolescenza e età adulta. Lo stile e ambientazione Lo stile di scrittura risulta fin da subito scorrevole, veloce e mai pesante. L’ambiente circostante ai personaggi viene descritto in modo molto minuzioso. L’autore si prende il tempo necessario per far immaginare al lettore da cosa sia circondato il personaggio di turno. L’ambientazione si rifà alla cultura Asiatica, il lettore quindi comprende in che ambientazione si trova. La narrazione è un qualcosa di mai visto e mai letto per quanto mi riguarda e anche se inizialmente ho faticato un po’, devo ammettere di aver apprezzato con il proseguimento della lettura. In questa storia l’identità di genere non viene stabilita alla nascita, quindi nessuno tiene conto della natura fisica del corpo. Ma per i primi anni di vita, fino ai diciassette anni quando poi si compie la cerimonia, ci si riferisce ad ogni persona con il pronome “loro”, quindi ne femminile ne maschile, ma entrambi. Saranno loro nel corso degli anni a comprendere cosa sono. Cosa sentono di essere, se l’identità di genere corrisponde al sesso che la natura ha dato loro o se invece non è così. Sicuramente uno stile rivoluzionario, coraggioso e ambizioso, che cerca di cambiare l’idea su un argomento ancora di difficile comprensione per molti. Ammetto di aver difficoltà io stessa a comprendere cosa voglia dire. Sto cercando di comprendere cosa sentono le persone non-binarie, cosa percepiscono. Però in qualsiasi caso io le rispetto, e questa storia può aiutare a comprendere un po’ di più. E’ una storia che non da per scontata l’identità alla nascita, ma la fa comprendere alle singole persone da adulte. Tematiche trattate –Cambiamento climatico. Anche se per poche righe, proprio in un piccolo passaggio iniziale. E’ una sottile denuncia nascosta tra le righe, che l’autore vuole dare al mondo intero. Inizialmente apprendiamo che il riscaldamento ha danneggiato l’acqua, l’ambiente, facendo morire per colpa del caldo molti pesci. Molti terreni si sono seccati, prosciugati e di conseguenza il cibo ha incominciato a scarseggiare. Di conseguenza sono iniziate le battaglie, le persone hanno incominciato a lamentarsi, a protestare per il cibo razionato. Le persone hanno iniziato ad avere fame e a voler di più. Finché poi sono dovuti intervenire. Un chiaro messaggio sotto inteso, di quello che potrebbe avvenire nel prossimo futuro. Se tutti noi non incominciamo a far qualcosa, se non incominciamo a migliore l’ambiente. Tutti noi possiamo farlo nel nostro piccolo, se non lo facciamo e le temperature continuano ad alzarsi, c’è il serio rischio di rimanere con meno cibo. Creandosi così una situazione terribile, con l’alto rischio di guerre per l’ottenimento delle provviste. Chi ne ha la possibilità di poter cambiare le cose, dovrebbe farlo. . –Esseri umani usati come merce di scambio. Una fatto agghiacciante che si comprende fin da subito, è che nei giochi di potere da parte della Regina, dove usa e tratta le persone come pedine nella propria scacchiera personale. E’ il fatto di generare e vendere, usare come moneta di cambio, un figlio per ripagare un debito. Lei userà i suoi due gemelli, generati volutamente non per amore o per caso, ma pensati da poter essere utilizzati come moneta. Come mezzo di scambio per ripagare un debito di sangue. E’ una cosa agghiacciante anche solo da pensare. E si riferisce anche (secondo me) a quegli accordi orribili che si usava fare una volta, cioè quella dei matrimoni combinati, usando i figli come merce di scambio per fare affari. . –Le tematiche LGBTQ. In questa storia a partire dal tipo di narrazione, si parla del mondo non-binary, queer. E’ una delle tematiche più trattate all’interno della storia. In conclusione In conclusione cosa penso? Sono abbastanza arrabbiata se devo essere sincera. Perché l’idea di base c’è, la storia e l’ambientazione ci sono, ma il tutto non è stato sfruttato a dovere. La storia parte con il botto, i primi due capitoli sono veramente bellissimi e portano il lettore a voler assolutamente proseguire con la storia. Ti porta a pensare che sarà una bomba pazzesca, per poi rimanerne delusi man mano con lo sfogliare delle pagine. La storia pian piano inizia a farsi confusa e incomprensibile in molti punti. Tra un capitolo e l’altro passano anni e anni, da un paragrafo all’altro la scena è completamente diversa, cambiata. Passano giorni da un paragrafo all’altro, il lettore così avrà la sensazione per tutto il tempo di avere tra le mani non la storia originale che l’autore avrà pensato, ma un riassunto di essa. Perché non ci mostra cosa avviene tra un momento e l’altro. Non ci mostra le domande, le discussioni, le incertezze magari tra una scelta o l’altra, ma ci porta direttamente a fatto avvenuto. Il lettore non riuscirà a comprendere bene come siano arrivati a quella scelta, ma si ritroverà direttamente i fatti e basta. I personaggi non vengono descritti, non per bene. Non ho letteralmente sentito nulla da loro, non ho percepito nulla. Non ho provato simpatia, affetto, nessuna emozione per loro, per i loro pensieri che non vengono quasi mai mostrati, se non qualche misera briciola. Non ho percepito l’intensità dei legami, perché non vengono mostrati. Prendiamo i due protagonisti, nel giro di quattro capitoli li troviamo da neonati a diciassettenni. E non solo poi. Non scoprendo nulla di quegli anni. Ne del loro rapporto con Sonami. Ne del loro rapporto con l’Abate, se non qualche minuscola briciola. Sinceramente non riesco a comprendere il motivo della vittoria, del premio dato a questa storia. So di non essere una critica, so di non essere “nessuno” in questo ambiente in un certo senso. Non sono una critica e non lavoro per un testata giornalistica o altro. Ma sono una lettrice/blogger, e questo è il mio pensiero. Personalmente ritengo difficilissimo scrivere un romanzo breve, perché devi saper fare emozionare e catturare il lettore con poche pagine. Ma qua la storia molte volte è confusa, per un idea del genere. Per un fantasy del genere, sarebbe stato meglio approfondire molto di più parecchie vicende e personaggi. . Il mio voto finale è complicato da esprimere. Perché se penso ai personaggi e la storia privi di pathos, per me sarebbe da 2/5. Se penso però alle varie tematiche trattate, all’idea di base, all’ambientazione e allo stile di narrazione davvero unico e particolare, il mio voto sale a 3/5. Quindi lo sconsiglio? No, non proprio. Cercherà di spiegarmi al meglio. . Se siete amanti: -dei romanzi brevi. -delle ambientazioni diverse e particolari. -se non vi interessa sapere tutto dei personaggi, ma preferite i fatti chiari e sapere la storia in se. Allora si, potrebbe fare per poi. . Ma se siete amanti: . -dei romanzi corposi, quelli estremamente lunghi che vi tengono compagnia per giorni interi. -delle storie passate dei singoli personaggi e amate sapere tutto, passato e presente dei personaggi. -delle ambientazioni descrittive al punto giusto. Allora forse no, potrebbe non fare per voi. . Ammetto di aver capito dopo che si trattava di una saga e non un romanzo unico, Sono stata attratta dalla trama, dalla copertina e dal titolo, non vedendo la scritta sotto dove recitava la scritta: “La serie completa”, se l’avessi visto prima, forse non avrei proprio iniziato la lettura. Difficilmente amo i romanzi brevi, sono estremamente rari per me e devono proprio avere una storia e uno stile di narrazione particolare. In alcuni punti mi fermavo a pensare a quanto mancava alla fine, faticavo a proseguire e a pensare che ogni romanzo era breve. . Quindi tutto sommato, il mio voto è: 3/5."

  3. 5 out of 5

    trishla ⚡ | YourLocalBookReader

    4 stars “The Almighty decides our circumstances. He doesn’t decide our actions. It’s what He gave us free will for.” The Tensorate Series is a bind-up anthology of four novellas written by Neon Yang. It is a lush, vivid silkpunk fantasy series in a world where elementalist mages contend with revolutionary machinists. The Black Tides of Heaven centers on the twin children of the Protector, whose magic powers cause them to become entangled in the political machinations of their mother. It focuses 4 stars “The Almighty decides our circumstances. He doesn’t decide our actions. It’s what He gave us free will for.” The Tensorate Series is a bind-up anthology of four novellas written by Neon Yang. It is a lush, vivid silkpunk fantasy series in a world where elementalist mages contend with revolutionary machinists. The Black Tides of Heaven centers on the twin children of the Protector, whose magic powers cause them to become entangled in the political machinations of their mother. It focuses on the twins Akeha and Mokoya, and spans thirty-five years from beginning to end. The plot begins to take shape when Mokoya has a series of prophetic visions, which prompts their mother to try to use her child's gift to her own advantage. The Red Threads of Fortune takes place after the death of Tensor Sanao Mokoya's daughter and has abandoned her position as prophet and now spends her time hunting naga in the wilderness. Due to her trauma, she no longer has access to the prophetic dreams. While tracking a giant naga, she encounters and improbably falls instantaneously for Rider, an ungendered outsider who uses magical Slackcraft in unprecedented. The Descent of Monsters centers on Chuwan Sariman, an investigator of the Protectorate, who looks into a massacre, but is can't do a full investigation – until Chuwan goes rouge. Chuwan Sariman is assigned to write the official report on a gruesome massacre at the experimental Rewar Tang Institute, where one of the Protectorate's weaponized animal hybrids escaped and killed the entire staff. With the help of Cai Yuan-ning, the sister of one of the killed researchers, they relay the truth of what happened to the Machinist rebels. The Ascent to Godhood centers on Lady Han as she recounts her life with the woman who became the Protector. Lady Han, leader of the anti-magic Machinist faction that has just assassinated the tyrannical Protector, drinks heavily while recounting her life to an unknown listener. I found all these novellas to be well written. Yang has created a wonderful world that is richly textured with fascinating characters. One of the most fascinating details of this world is that children are not assigned genders at birth. Some children choose very young, others wait until much later, and others still choose to remain somewhere in between. Besides the gender fluidity society, the social order within the Protectorate suffers from massive wealth inequality. The greatest source of power in this world is the Slack, which draws its energy from different parts of nature. While most secrets of the Slack are kept secret by the Tensors, they are facing an uprising from the resistant Mechanists – an anti-magic group. All in all, The Tensorate Series is a wonderful series that blend magic and steampunk with an East-Asian twist. Find me on: instagram Thank you to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vittoria

    Premetto che non è il genere di fantasy che preferisco però la storia di Mokoyo e Akeha mi è piaciuta. Ho apprezzato il rapporto tra i due gemelli che pur essendo molto diversi l’uno dall’altra con caratteri opposti riescono a compensarsi e ad esserci sempre l’uno per l’altra . Il worldbuilding è ben fatto e bene caratterizzaro anche se il sistema manico in generale non è proprio tra i più semplici da comprendere con le varie terminologie che lo rappresentano. Questo primo libro credo sia un’intr Premetto che non è il genere di fantasy che preferisco però la storia di Mokoyo e Akeha mi è piaciuta. Ho apprezzato il rapporto tra i due gemelli che pur essendo molto diversi l’uno dall’altra con caratteri opposti riescono a compensarsi e ad esserci sempre l’uno per l’altra . Il worldbuilding è ben fatto e bene caratterizzaro anche se il sistema manico in generale non è proprio tra i più semplici da comprendere con le varie terminologie che lo rappresentano. Questo primo libro credo sia un’introduzione a quella che sarà poi la vera storia ma devo dire che i temi affrontati sono stati decisamente interessanti. Andrò sicuramente avanti e leggerò anche gli altri libri perché ho voglia di sapere come andrà avanti la storia di questi due gemelli. 3 ⭐️

  5. 4 out of 5

    abookplaylist

    Lo stile di Neon è meraviglioso, peccato che io abbia trovato molto scialba è priva di pathos la narrazione. Di 4 libri, ho trovato interessante solo l'ultimo. Comunque il worldbuilding è ben congeniato sebbene viene spiegato tutto con il contagocce. Non credo che personalmente lo avrei premiato nel modo in cui lo hanno premiato, è ok, nulla di entusiasmante Lo stile di Neon è meraviglioso, peccato che io abbia trovato molto scialba è priva di pathos la narrazione. Di 4 libri, ho trovato interessante solo l'ultimo. Comunque il worldbuilding è ben congeniato sebbene viene spiegato tutto con il contagocce. Non credo che personalmente lo avrei premiato nel modo in cui lo hanno premiato, è ok, nulla di entusiasmante

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chicca Palmentieri

    4.5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karina Woods

    I see these novellas are being combined - which is how they should have actually been published in the first place, since there's only enough material for one story. I'm not going to buy this book, but I am going to repost my review from the first novella here: It's hard for me to quite explain my full feelings about this book. I fell in love with the cover, and had to read it. Initially, I was not disappointed. The writing at the beginning of the book is beautiful, and the premise seemed really I see these novellas are being combined - which is how they should have actually been published in the first place, since there's only enough material for one story. I'm not going to buy this book, but I am going to repost my review from the first novella here: It's hard for me to quite explain my full feelings about this book. I fell in love with the cover, and had to read it. Initially, I was not disappointed. The writing at the beginning of the book is beautiful, and the premise seemed really interesting. As the story goes along, so much happens, and so much time is covered - it's as if Yang is trying to shove what could have been a full-length epic fantasy trilogy into a single novella. This book tests the limits of concise writing and clarity - ultimately to the detriment of the story. Yes, there are a lot of interesting ideas here. I liked the portrayal of gender in this book, and Akeha and Mokoya were characters that I would have really enjoyed, if I had been given more time to actually spend with them. This novella is really just too short to achieve everything it's trying to do. Clarity of plot and world-building are sacrificed for snippets of the main characters' lives as we zip along through the years before grinding to what is ultimately an unsatisfying ending. The beautiful writing that the book opens with doesn't sustain itself throughout the entire story. With all this in mind, I had to wonder, why did Yang make this story so short? Having read the sequels, I think they all suffer from the same problem: too short, with character and plot sacrificed for snippet-style scene after scene that just barely holds interest. Considering the price of these short little novellas, I was left with the impression that the author just wanted to harvest interesting ideas from their cultural background, transfer them to a fantasy setting, then sell novella-length stories at full novel price. It seemed clear to me that all the books in this series would benefit from being longer, allowing for true immersion that would have greatly improved the reading experience. I think the author should have just combined all of these novellas into a single novel that fully explores the world. Eventually, I came to the disappointing conclusion that the author took a relatively simple plot, chopped it up into a few novellas, and sold them individually so they could make more money. That alone would have been pretty exploitative of the reader, but it doesn't end there. It all came together when I visited Yang's twitter, and stumbled across a hostile, racist scree of tweets railing at white authors. That's when I realized, this isn't a fantasy series. This is a money-hungry author exploiting their racial heritage and flogging what could have been one decent full-length fantasy novel into chopped up little novellas to make a buck off the publishing industry. At the expense of quality.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Tensorate Series is a bind-up anthology of four novellas written by Neon Yang. It is a lush, vivid silkpunk fantasy series in a world where elementalist mages contend with revolutionary machinists. The Black Tides of Heaven (★★★★☆) the novella centers on the twin children of the Protector, whose magic powers cause them to become entangled in the political machinations of their mother. It focuses on the twins Akeha and Mokoya, and spans thirty-five years from beginning to end. The plot begins The Tensorate Series is a bind-up anthology of four novellas written by Neon Yang. It is a lush, vivid silkpunk fantasy series in a world where elementalist mages contend with revolutionary machinists. The Black Tides of Heaven (★★★★☆) the novella centers on the twin children of the Protector, whose magic powers cause them to become entangled in the political machinations of their mother. It focuses on the twins Akeha and Mokoya, and spans thirty-five years from beginning to end. The plot begins to take shape when Mokoya has a series of prophetic visions, which prompts their mother to try to use her child's gift to her own advantage. The Red Threads of Fortune (★★★★☆) the novella takes place after the death of Tensor Sanao Mokoya's daughter and has abandoned her position as prophet and now spends her time hunting naga in the wilderness. In her traumatized state, she no longer has access to the prophetic dreams of her youth. While tracking a giant naga, she encounters and improbably falls instantaneously for Rider, an ungendered outsider who uses magical Slackcraft in unorthodox ways. The Descent of Monsters (★★★★☆) the novella centers on Chuwan Sariman, an investigator of the Protectorate, who looks into a massacre, but is prevented to do a full investigation – until Chuwan goes rouge. Chuwan Sariman is assigned to write the official report on a gruesome massacre at the experimental Rewar Tang Institute, where one of the Protectorate's weaponized animal hybrids escaped and killed the entire staff. With the help of Cai Yuan-ning, the sister of one of the killed researchers, they relay the truth of what happened to the Machinist rebels. The Ascent to Godhood (★★★★☆) the novella centers on Lady Han as she recounts her life with the woman who became the Protector. Lady Han, leader of the anti-magic Machinist faction that has just assassinated the tyrannical Protector, drinks heavily while recounting her life to an unnamed listener. For the most part, these novellas were written rather well. Yang has created a wonderful world that is richly textured with fascinating characters. One of the most fascinating details of this world is that children are not assigned genders at birth. Some children choose very young, others wait until much later, and others still choose to remain somewhere in between. Besides the gender fluidity society, the social order within the Protectorate suffers from massive wealth inequality. The greatest source of power in this world is the Slack, which draws its energy from different parts of nature. While most secrets of the Slack are kept secret by the Tensors, they are facing an uprising from the resistant Mechanists – an anti-magic group. All in all, The Tensorate Series is a wonderful series that blend magic and steampunk with an East-Asian twist.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ahtiya (BookinItWithAhtiya)

    I flew through these novellas, y’all! I was not only completely ensnared in the magic system and political intrigue, but also in the depth of character and relationships Yang provides through each of the novellas. What I found so cool about this series, especially with reading all four novellas back to back, is how they were able to switch up the narrative style but still keep the same vibe of the world. The first novella THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN takes place over the span of several decades, so I flew through these novellas, y’all! I was not only completely ensnared in the magic system and political intrigue, but also in the depth of character and relationships Yang provides through each of the novellas. What I found so cool about this series, especially with reading all four novellas back to back, is how they were able to switch up the narrative style but still keep the same vibe of the world. The first novella THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN takes place over the span of several decades, so there’s a lot of time jumps; THE RED THREADS OF FORTUNE is a more linear and compact story; THE DESCENT OF MONSTERS is told only through letters, transcripts, and diary entries; and THE ASCENT TO GODHOOD is told completely in an oral history fashion. Somehow, all these different narrative styles make sense for the specific plots explored throughout the series. Throughout the entirety of this series, we see a recurring concept: Oppressed people don’t choose rebellion, but rather oppressive forces choose to continue circumstances that cause discontent. I definitely see myself reaching for these novellas again as a comfort read; the world is so easy to immerse yourself in and it’s nonstop action. My favorite novella was definitely THE RED THREADS OF FORTUNE. It features the best character portrayal and plot, and it’s a very full story with a lot of action and stakes for only 136 pages. My favorite story formats, however, is a battle between THE DESCENT OF MONSTERS and THE ASCENT TO GODHOOD. THE TENSORATE SERIES features queer and nonbinary rep, as well as chronic illness representation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Litt Librarian

    Read the full review over at The Litt Librarian! https://thelittlibrarian.wixsite.com/... I put off writing this review because it was difficult for me to formulate what to say. I spent most of my time worrying about how to convey my thoughts without offending anyone. While I don't want my personal opinions on the subject at hand to overshadow this book review, it does play a part in how I processed this story. First things first, that cover! At the beginning of the series, the writing in the book Read the full review over at The Litt Librarian! https://thelittlibrarian.wixsite.com/... I put off writing this review because it was difficult for me to formulate what to say. I spent most of my time worrying about how to convey my thoughts without offending anyone. While I don't want my personal opinions on the subject at hand to overshadow this book review, it does play a part in how I processed this story. First things first, that cover! At the beginning of the series, the writing in the book was intricate. The details of the world pulled me. But as I continued to flip through the pages, the over-detailing started to bore me. Another aspect of the book I had a hard time with is the Pronouns. I found it very cool that children can choose what they want to be at a young age, but having twins as the main characters who haven't figured out which gender they fall in line with was difficult to process. It was difficult to differentiate which character I was focusing on. I ended up DNFing after the first book in the series with a rating of 2.5 stars. The Tensorate Series sounds like it could be an epic short story fantasy. But I couldn't grasp everything of what was going on. And that sucks because it has all the potential

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kye

    4.5/5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I listened to the first three novellas on audiobook. I cannot stress this enough: get the audiobook! I think when the fourth novella comes out on audiobook I will re-listen it because the story did not feel the same switching from audiobook to e-book. The narrator of the audiobook is amazing. She really made the story come to life. I appreciate it that each novella is told in a different point of you. I especially enjoyed book 3 which was told through l 4.5/5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I listened to the first three novellas on audiobook. I cannot stress this enough: get the audiobook! I think when the fourth novella comes out on audiobook I will re-listen it because the story did not feel the same switching from audiobook to e-book. The narrator of the audiobook is amazing. She really made the story come to life. I appreciate it that each novella is told in a different point of you. I especially enjoyed book 3 which was told through letters, journal entries, and reports. This is a world you can easily get immersed in. I would've taken whole full length novels of the first three novellas. Though they felt completely whole in what I was given, I would definitely take more. I was not the biggest fan of the fourth novella. It provided a history that while interesting I could've lived without and did not add to the characters I had already grown attached to. It did however set up for the possibility of more, maybe, kinda. So here's hoping there will be more. Overall I highly recommend this omnibus and cannot stress enough you need to listen to the audiobook!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marta Booksaddicted

    Lettura breve ma intensa. Un concetrato di emozioni in una manciata di pagine senza che ne abbia sofferto la caratterizzazione dellə protagonista. È stata una dura giostra emotiva, ricca di tematiche forti stipate nello spazio angusto di a malapena 200 pagine, eppure l'arco narrativo se pur ampio è risultato soddisfacente e risolutivo. È stato reso al meglio il rapporto fra i gemellə, le loro dinamiche e la loro sofferta lotta interiore per l'affermazione di se stessi. Lo stile di scrittura estr Lettura breve ma intensa. Un concetrato di emozioni in una manciata di pagine senza che ne abbia sofferto la caratterizzazione dellə protagonista. È stata una dura giostra emotiva, ricca di tematiche forti stipate nello spazio angusto di a malapena 200 pagine, eppure l'arco narrativo se pur ampio è risultato soddisfacente e risolutivo. È stato reso al meglio il rapporto fra i gemellə, le loro dinamiche e la loro sofferta lotta interiore per l'affermazione di se stessi. Lo stile di scrittura estremamente evocativo permetteva di scivolare da un pagina all'altra senza accusare alcuna pesantezza. Non ho ben capito, forse per un mea culpa, il sistema magico, di cui ho faticato molto a comprenderne il funzionamento, e il contesto storico e forse meritavano entrambe una breve digressione esplicativa. Nel complesso una lettura davvero piacevole che merita senza ombra di dubbio 4.5 stelline. Vedremo se gli altri tre racconti saranno all'altezza.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yong Yao Loh

    4.5 stars, averaged out across the 4 novellas. It’s always great to read anything from a local author, and this was indeed very enjoyable. I liked the first and third novellas the best but all 4 were really well written! Absolutely love the world building, which was achieved in such an economical yet holistic fashion. The author also masterfully managed to give representation to the LGBTQ community, with characters and the rules of the world that fit right into the narrative. Highly recommended 4.5 stars, averaged out across the 4 novellas. It’s always great to read anything from a local author, and this was indeed very enjoyable. I liked the first and third novellas the best but all 4 were really well written! Absolutely love the world building, which was achieved in such an economical yet holistic fashion. The author also masterfully managed to give representation to the LGBTQ community, with characters and the rules of the world that fit right into the narrative. Highly recommended and I look forward to more work from Neon Yang!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Cole

    Very cool combination of Asian mythology with war technology and bioengineering with soul magic. Just so you know, The Descent of Monsters is completely epistolary. I don't mind a combination of letters or journal entries and narration and dialogue, but I find solely epistolary storytelling to miss too much, and often wonder if the characters writing complex letters would have enough time and be in the right headspace to write them during dangerous situations rather than in hindsight. This is si Very cool combination of Asian mythology with war technology and bioengineering with soul magic. Just so you know, The Descent of Monsters is completely epistolary. I don't mind a combination of letters or journal entries and narration and dialogue, but I find solely epistolary storytelling to miss too much, and often wonder if the characters writing complex letters would have enough time and be in the right headspace to write them during dangerous situations rather than in hindsight. This is simply reader's preference. Don't let that turn you away from this wonderful series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lyuba

    3.5, I really liked the atmosphere of these novellas and queer fantasy will always hold a special place in my heart, but damn did I want more character development and deeper exploration of some of the fantasy elements (slack/nagas/that phoenix that was mentioned for a hot second and never again to name a few)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Some parts of this book were intriguing, especially the gender play & the Chinese adjacent mythosphere. But the changes in voice, the colloquialisms, the branches of plot left unfinished disrupted my pleasure in the book. I hope they write more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maegrauko

    I love what Neon does with gender in this book. The story gets better and more interesting each book and I hope it gets continued

  18. 4 out of 5

    Musings on Living

    TBD

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    3/5 writing +0.5 for queer representation = 3.5/5, rounded up for higher rating status

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mirko Smith

  22. 4 out of 5

    Myrn54

  23. 4 out of 5

    Slytherinelle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paloma Ines

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Duval

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lily

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tisya

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Knightly

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