Title: The Red Threads of Fortune
Series: Tensorate, #2
Author: Neon Yang
Publication date: 2017
Date started: 15/12/2020
Date finished: 20/12/2020
First sentence: “Killing the voice transmitter was an overreaction. Even Mokoya knew that.”
Last sentence: “In that moment, all that mattered was the halo of light around their head, the smile on their face, and the movement of their lips as they said one word: ‘Mokoya.’”
Best sentence: “‘Hush. In another iteration of the world, we might never have met. It was fortune’s blessing that we did.’ ‘In another iteration of the world, you would live on.’ ‘Yet this is the one we have been given. We must make the best of it we can.’”
Summary (spoilers): Since the death of her daughter, Mokoya ran away to chase naga in the desert and forget about her pain. Her prophetic dreams have completely stopped, and now she only has visions of the past. On the trail of a gigantic naga, she meets Rider, a mysterious Quarterlander who themselves is riding a domesticated naga. Together, they try to untangle what is happening in the desert town of Batanaar – is the Protectorate trying to destroy the city because it’s a known Machinist hub, or is it something simpler than that? As Rider and Mokoya get closer, the woman learns new ways to use the Slack, and has a vision of the future for the first time in years. Unfortunately, it predicts the death of Rider, and she knows that there’s no way to prevent her visions from becoming reality. They realize that the giant naga countains the soul of the city governor’s wife, and that his daughter is the one who thinks she can control it. They know they have to free the naga from the soul that doesn’t belong to it, and that they have to kill the naga before it causes more mayhem, but Mokoya isn’t ready to lose Rider. That’s when she realizes that she has a way to change the prophecy, if she unwraps it in the Slack itself, and then goes to kill the naga on her own. She succeeds, and Rider arrives in time to heal and save her.
Opinion: This was a good follow up to the second book, even though I wish I would have seen more of Akeha (and that his gender would have been explored further). The story spanned on a much shorter time frame than the first book, so thankfully it didn’t feel as rushed, but there was still this strong feeling that a lot of elements were missing. I couldn’t exactly remember what was all the deal with the Protectorate, and the links between different new characters were barely explained even though they turned out to be very important. Sometimes it feels like the author has a perfect vision of their world in their mind, but that they often forget to let the reader know what’s actually going on. Still, it was a good story, and I loved the characters – especially Rider!