Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
An etherial and mysterious Fantasy seemingly inspired by Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American Hollywood movie star.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre(s): Fantasy/Magical Realism
Representation: Chinese-American, Sapphic
Content Warnings: Racism, Sexism, Sexual Assault (mentioned), Coercion
“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill—but she doesn't care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.
But in Luli's world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes—even if that means becoming the monster herself. - Author's Website
One thing I love about Nghi Vo's writing is the way she creates a sort-of dreamy yet mysterious atmosphere. This book has that quality layered onto the old hollywood setting. This book is described as Sci-Fi/Fantasy on Netgalley but I would also add Magical Realism. I was immediately captivated by Vo's writing and the Luli's story. Much of the book was uncanny. Especially Luli's father and her experiences with the filmmakers.
I was disappointed by the lack of development with the immortality part of the storyline. It was mentioned often throughout the book but I felt like it didn't really come to anything in the end.
Regardless, I enjoyed this book and think that folx who love enigmatic stories will, too.