Vo’s spellbinding latest (after The Chosen and the Beautiful) solidifies her position as a force to be reckoned with in speculative fiction. During the golden age of Hollywood’s studio system, names hold tremendous power. If a studio knows a star’s true name, it can control them, so cast and crew alike hide behind pseudonyms. After toiling on movie lots, a young Chinese American woman gets onto the screen by blackmailing a predatory director, earning a meeting with a bigwig where she takes her sister’s name, Luli Wei, as her own. But even after moving into the dorms on a major studio’s lot, casting doesn’t come quickly. Her first big break comes when she’s cast as a siren, and she goes on to make a career of playing monsters. Through these roles, she learns to stand tall as an outsider amid the bright lights and dark magic of Hollywood, loving and losing various female costars and outsmarting the men who seek to overpower her. Vo’s hypnotic prose blends metaphor with magic so seamlessly that reality itself becomes slippery. Her dazzling voice, evocative scene setting, and ambitious protagonist make this a knockout. (May)
From the Publisher
An Indie Next Pick!
A LibraryReads Top Ten Pick!
An Apple Books "Best Books of the Year (So Far)" pick!
A Best of May Pick by LibraryReads | TIME Magazine | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Publishers Weekly | Buzzfeed | Chicago Review of Books | LitHub | BookRiot | Paste Magazine | Bookish | The Mary Sue
A Most Anticipated in 2022 Pick for The Washington Post | Polygon | PopSugar | Bustle | Ms Magazine | Autostraddle
“In this stellar novel, Vo turns Hollywood into a fairyland—the kind from the old stories, sharp and dangerous—and laces the sparkling silver romance of the movies with a dark, exploitative, hungry greed. . . . Pair that vivid world with the stubborn, passionate Luli and a pace that turns from slow and delightfully sexy to vast and terrifying with the turn of a page and you have the brilliantly searing Siren Queen.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Vo’s spellbinding latest solidifies her position as a force to be reckoned with in speculative fiction. [Her] hypnotic prose blends metaphor with magic so seamlessly that reality itself becomes slippery. Her dazzling voice, evocative scene setting, and ambitious protagonist make this a knockout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Movie magic is made manifest, beguiling, and deadly in Vo’s tale about Luli, a Chinese American girl who is determined to realize her dreams of movie stardom. . . . Luli is a compelling character both on and off the screen in this story that takes the mythmaking of Hollywood and transforms it and her into something transcendent. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)
“Searing and seductive, Siren Queen is the kind of book that leaves you wrecked on its shores. When I look up at the stars, I'll think of Luli.”—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times-bestselling author of The Once and Future Witches
“Nghi Vo has become one of my favorite writers, and Siren Queen is lush and brilliant, a mesmerizing journey into a pre-code Hollywood that is all sharp edges, with the darkest magic and highest stakes.”—Martha Wells, author of Network Effect
"A piece of perfection. It is queer and it is unapologetic and it is loving and it is a reminder that we can survive our demons, that we can outsmart them, that we can beat them at their own game."—Cassandra Khaw, USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth
"Vo imagines the golden age of Hollywood as full of fey and dangerous creatures ready to claim your soul in exchange for fame on the big screen. . . . This book kept me up reading until the late hours."—Rebecca Roanhorse, New York Times bestselling author of Black Sun
“The book of my dreams—vivid, sensual, frightening, and inexpressibly gorgeous, often in the same sentence. . . . Nghi Vo is a magician—no—maybe a god.”—Kelly Robson, author of Gods, Monsters & the Lucky Peach
"It’s a clever bit of craftsmanship the way Nghi Vo braids the fantastical into the earthly in her story of a queer Chinese American actress breaking into the movie biz at the dawn of the talkie era."—The Philadelphia Inquirer
"This riveting novel so deeply enmeshes magic with reality that it often feels impossible to differentiate the two. It’s a breathtaking read."—Margaret Kingsbury, Buzzfeed
"Imagines the golden age of Hollywood as a fantastical world where monsters control the industry through dark rituals of blood and ancient magic. But Luli Wei is set on becoming a star no matter the cost, taking readers on an enthralling journey to achieve stardom on her own terms."—The Washington Post
Movie magic is made manifest, beguiling, and deadly in Vo's (The Chosen and the Beautiful) tale about Luli, a Chinese American girl who is determined to realize her dreams of movie stardom, no matter how much she has to lie, cheat, or steal. Inside the closed world of the film studios, Luli learns that Hollywood magic literally consumes the soul, one picture or autograph at a time. The studios have made bargains with hell, and Luli learns she will be forced to pay in blood if she can't reach the stardom she craves. Luli declines to play the roles expected of her and angers the studios; in particular, she refuses to pretend to be either straight or subservient, making her a monster in the eyes of the powerful movie execs. Luli's stance ultimately makes her a star, and she shines in the firmament for all who come after her. VERDICT Luli is a compelling character both on and off the screen in this story that takes the mythmaking of Hollywood and transforms it and her into something transcendent. Highly recommended.—Marlene Harris