Is it okay to confess I have a vengeance streak a mile wide and really enjoy revenge stories in a review? Too late, I’m going to do it. “Saints and Bodhisattvas,” by Joyce Chng, is found in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) and it hits the revenge note as a starting point, and I loved it.
A woman hires a ship—and a captain and crew in particular—to take the life of the man who killed her father. That the captain finds this woman attractive—something that has rarely happened, and is definitely not a great idea—threatens to put things slightly off-kilter. But a deal is a deal, and a vow is a vow, and a vow has been made.
Chng’s details make the prose overflow with scent and flavour and bring the setting to such a vibrant feel that you slip into the story’s historical and cultural world-building with a casual ease I’d envy if I wasn’t too busy enjoying it. Also? I’d love so many more tales from these characters, and what happens to them after this story. Which is pretty much the highest praise I can offer. Non-binary captain and post-revenge-seeking woman make their future on the waves? Yes, please.
In case it’s not clear, I love how these Scourge stories are bucking all the “traditional” takes on pirates (read: white straight guys).