phoenix extravagant by yoon ha lee

sometimes so much time lapses between me buying a book and me reading it that i completely forget why i bought it (i should get better with my notes, shouldn’t i). with this one i won’t put it past me that it was the cover that did it.

“phoenix extravagant” is a fantasy action page-turner of a book. gyen jebi is desperate to get a job, but them being an artist there isn’t much choice, so they end up working for invading forces’ military. which bad from all angles – their sister is militantly anti-colonial government, gyen jebi themself is a pacifist, and the project they are assigned to is very much a suicide mission.

on top of this tightly spun plot we have beautiful small details that make the book feel lived in.

allusions to real historical events – when japan colonised korea – were transparent enough that even i, who knows next to nothing about history of korea, picked up on them. i’m now determined to fill the (wide and deep) gaps in my historical knowledge.

having said alll the above, i want to highlight that “phoenix extravagant” doesn’t feel or read heavy. it’s a really fun read, that has a huge benefit of sticking with in your head long after you closed the book.