Magic and monsters permeate the world of Old Hollywood in Siren Queen, the darkly enchanting second novel by author Nghi Vo.
In Luli Wei's world, Hollywood has a dark magic. The studio heads are monsters--some figuratively, some literally--who control the fate of their actors; demons call seductively from the shadows of film lots, luring the innocent into danger; blood pacts and ritual sacrifice are an accepted part of doing business; and when actors becomes stars, part of their essence shoots into the sky as new celestial bodies. Despite the dangers, Luli has longed to star in films since childhood: "from the first, I was possessed, poisoned to the core by ambition and desire." But for a queer Chinese American girl from a poor immigrant family, stardom is far from guaranteed, especially after she refuses the racist roles Hollywood presents. Navigating the dangers of her chosen career, she finds a role she understands: a vengeful siren.
Hugo Award-winning author Nghi Vo (The Chosen and the Beautiful) reimagines a recognizable time in American history by weaving magic into its roots to create a world in Siren Queen that is both familiar and enchanted. Her heroine is bold and brave, exploring first loves and self-identity while balancing her own ambition with the demands of her deadly employers. Vo packs the novel with themes of racism, queer identity, immigrant experience and the freedom to define one's own life and relationships, while maintaining a richly cultivated and dreamlike world. With lush imagery and a gorgeously rendered atmosphere worthy of its complex heroine, Siren Queen is magical realism at its most beautiful and intoxicating. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor