ARC Review: The Red Threads of Fortune – J. Y. Yang


Book cover: Mokoya riding PhoenixThe Red Threads of Fortune is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang’s Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls “effortlessly fascinating.” For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Black Tides of Heaven, available now.

Fallen prophet, master of the elements, and daughter of the supreme Protector, Sanao Mokoya has abandoned the life that once bound her. Once her visions shaped the lives of citizens across the land, but no matter what tragedy Mokoya foresaw, she could never reshape the future. Broken by the loss of her young daughter, she now hunts deadly, sky-obscuring naga in the harsh outer reaches of the kingdom with packs of dinosaurs at her side, far from everything she used to love.

On the trail of a massive naga that threatens the rebellious mining city of Bataanar, Mokoya meets the mysterious and alluring Rider. But all is not as it seems: the beast they both hunt harbors a secret that could ignite war throughout the Protectorate. As she is drawn into a conspiracy of magic and betrayal, Mokoya must come to terms with her extraordinary and dangerous gifts, or risk losing the little she has left to hold dear.

I received an ARC of The Red Threads of Fortune from NetGalley. I requested this novella, and its twin novella (The Black Tides of Heaven), because the covers were both amazing and I was intrigued in the stories after reading the blurbs.

This book is #ownvoices for South-East Asian representation. The book is set in an alternative world.

I was reading this book, and while reading, I kept thinking, why am I enjoying this so much. And then I realised, it’s an adult fantasy novella. The main character is an adult, an adult…in a fantasy world. It’s a diverse adult fantasy novella – and let me tell you, there are not too many books that are like this.

All the characters are well-developed and they have distinct personalities. One of them uses Singlish (Singaporean English)! Mokoya and her twin brother Akeha’s relationship is described in detail, and I was able to relate to both of them. Mokoya is an amazing character, and it was very intriguing to read the book through her perspective as an adult. I enjoyed reading about how she views technology in comparison to magic.

The Red Threads of Fortune focuses on describing the world in the Tensorate series to the reader, and the worldbuilding is great. The society is explained through the character’s actions and their dialogues. Children are not assigned a gender at birth; they state which gender they are when they know. One of the adult characters uses genderless pronouns. There’s an interesting subplot here, which I assume will be analysed further in the coming books. Namely, that genderless pronouns for adults are not used anymore, thus making it a binary society. However, one of the adults does use it and Mokoya thinks they might be a radical. I’m interested to see how that subplot will be developed in the series.

I’d like to mention another aspect of the worldbuilding that I enjoyed a lot. Namely, the combination of technological innovation and magical solutions in the same universe. This is something that is rarely mentioned or used as a plot, and it’s such a fascinating premise. Most fantasy books that revolve around magical talent, tend to assume that technology just doesn’t develop. The Tensorate series doesn’t do that. Magic and technology are both changing and developing throughout the book.

The Red Threads of Fortune is a wonderful adult fantasy. It’s an original idea and I really enjoyed reading a fantasy that had an adult MC!

I read this novella first, even though it the second, and it works as an introduction to the Tensorate series.

Trigger warnings: death of family members.

5 stars

Have you read The Red Threads of Fortune? What do you think of the combination of technological and magical development?


9 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Red Threads of Fortune – J. Y. Yang

  1. Oh, that sounds even better than I expected! Don’t know when I’ll be able to pick it up – currently reading another book and I should pick oup “Rebel Soul” soon to finish it in time – but I am excited!


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