Published by Tordotcom on September 22, 2020
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Tordotcom has absolutely been killing it with their novellas lately! I’ve read so many amazing stories of theirs leaving me surprised and delighted. And The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky is no different!
This exquisite puzzle box of a story unfolds from a second-person POV. This intricately plotted mystery reveals itself with gorgeous, atmospheric writing.
Manet, the God-King’s Amanuensis, is searching for the identity of a woman, whose photograph is in a locket. You, the reader, read people’s responses as if you’re Manet, asking the questions. It’s a difficult feat to do well – capturing the voices of so many characters, making them unique while also creating answers that slowly put together the puzzle pieces without feeling like an info dump.
Each chapter, slim as they are, reveals more about Manet and her mysterious world as well as taking you closer to the final revelation.
My thoughts about The Seventh Perfection
To manage all of those writerly feats so brilliantly within a novella astounds me. I imagine Daniel Polansky doing the author equivalent of riding a unicycle on a tightrope whilst juggling flaming swords!
I hope he sets other stories in this world. Because I’m so intrigued by the details he shares within The Seventh Perfection. And I want more!
Because this is a novella, it would be easy to dash through it but don’t. Savor every beautifully written twist and turn.
Do you enjoy fantasy stories where the author tosses you into the deep end and part of the reading experience is figuring out what’s going on? Or do you enjoy the slow acclimation where the story unfolds gradually? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’re a fan of SFF WTFery, you need to read Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Although you really need to read the first book in the trilogy, Gideon the Ninth.
If you’re looking for another gorgeously written fantasy novella, try Burning Roses by SL Huang, It’s a queer retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.