Review: Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette de Bodard

A queer paranormal romance featuring Vietnamese mythology and Fallen Angels – what’s not to like about Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances?

Quick Info
Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances

  • Title: Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances
  • Author: Aliette de Bodard
  • Series: Dragons and Blades
  • Genre: Paranormal, Romance
  • Content Warnings: none, I think
  • Diversity: POC
  • Rating: 2/5 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon*

Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances

From the author of the critically acclaimed Dominion of the Fallen trilogy comes a sparkling new romantic adventure full of kissing, sarcasm and stabbing.

It was supposed to be a holiday, with nothing more challenging than babysitting, navigating familial politics and arguing about the proper way to brew tea.

But when dragon prince Thuan and his ruthless husband Asmodeus find a corpse in a ruined shrine and a hungry ghost who is the only witness to the crime, their holiday goes from restful to high-pressure. Someone is trying to silence the ghost and everyone involved. Asmodeus wants revenge for the murder; Thuan would like everyone, including Asmodeus, to stay alive.

Chased by bloodthirsty paper charms and struggling to protect their family, Thuan and Asmodeus are going to need all the allies they can—and, as the cracks in their relationship widen, they’ll have to face the scariest challenge of all: how to bring together their two vastly different ideas of their future…

A heartwarming standalone book set in a world of dark intrigue.

A Note on Chronology
Spinning off from the Dominion of the Fallen series, which features political intrigue in Gothic devastated Paris, this book stands alone, but chronologically follows Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders. It’s High Gothic meets C-drama in a Vietnamese inspired world—perfect for fans of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu’s Heaven Official’s Blessing, KJ Charles, and Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves.

The Queer’s Review

I nearly DNF-ed this so many times, how did I manage to finish this book?

First, Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances is supposed to be a standalone. It really, really doesn’t read like it. At all. I was thrown into a universe I knew absolutely nothing about, but felt like I was expected to do so.

Thanks to that connecting to the characters – oh gods, so many characters – felt damn near impossible without the proper background knowledge. So I struggled on while trying to gather as much information as possible. Or tried to. Instead, I gathered a lot of unnecessary repetitions. Kindle pos. 379 tells us, Asmodeus and Thuan’s marriage is six years old. Kindle pos. 384 tells us again, they’ve been married for six years. THAT’S ON THE SAME DAMN PAGE! Are you fucking kidding me? I want to stress I read an ARC so I’m seriously hoping it got fixed before publication but I’m still wondering how those repetitions made it into the ARC.

Perhaps you’re able to sense the emotion I mostly felt while reading Aliette de Bodard’s book. It’s annoyance. I could rant on and on but I’ll stop it with this little ending thought: I wasted my time reading this queer paranormal romance and I’m especially disappointed because I was so excited about it! Vietnamese-inspired mythology meets fallen angels. What’s not to like?

Apparently a lot.

Bookish Thoughts

“You really need to stop holding me in a magical stranglehold whenever you want me not to move.”

Kindle pos. 493


I received a free copy through NetGalles in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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