Zhilan was assigned female at birth; despite an unusual gift for illusions, they know they will live out their life in the perfumed confines of the women’s quarters. But when civil war sets the country aflame, Zhilan is the only one who can save their disabled Father from death on the battlefield.
By taking his place.
Surviving brutal army training as a male recruit – Zhi – is only the first challenge. Soon Zhi’s unique talents draw them into an even more perilous fight, in the glittering court of the Land of Dragons, where love and betrayal are two sides of the same smile. The fate of an Empire rests on Zhi’s shoulders. But to win, they must first decide where their loyalty, and their heart, truly belongs.
Frail Human Heart (The Name of the Blade #3)
Darkness Hidden (The Name of the Blade #2)
The Night Itself (The Name of the Blade #1)
Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands #1)
Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands #2)
Daughter of the Flames (Ruan #1)
Frostfire (Ruan #2)
The Swan Kingdom
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retellings
Review: I am super excited each time there is a new Zoë Marriott book but also utterly terrified. I am a Fangirl. I will happily admit this. I fawn/swoon/flail over these stories in a way I rarely do with books. So new book = petrified. Because? My expectations are so high. What if this one doesn’t deliver?! BUT then Zoë Marriott throws out that opening like the one we have here and you know it’s going to be AMAZING!!!
As always Zoë’s mastery of crafting words transports you into the story so effortlessly that you’ll be halfway through the book before you even realise. The worldbuilding is wonderful, the descriptions perfect. Enough detail that Zhi’s surroundings are painted around you as you journey with them but never so much that you feel that they distract from the tale.
The Hand, The Eye and the Heart has so many layers of brilliant writing. Zhi’s story is not just a “Mulan retelling”, first impressions of the characters are never straightforward, encounters are never just that. And relationships? Friendships? There is so much more below the surface.
Without giving anything away, here are some my highlights:
- Zhi figuring out who they are
- Yang Jie’s story
- Zhi and Wu Jiang relationship and why it’s important
If we had to summarise my feelings about The Hand, The Eye and the Heart it would be that Zoë Marriott emotional broke me. Put me back together and then broke me again. Well done. (It might not sound it but that’s a good thing!)