Foul Heart Huntsman

S. & S./McElderry. (Foul Lady Fortune: Bk. 2). Sept. 2023. 560p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781665905619.
Gr 9 Up–Following the devastating standoff at the end of Foul Lady Fortune, Rosalind Lang has been exposed as the deadly almost-immortal operative Fortune while her former mission partner, Orion Hong, has been kidnapped by his own mother for further Frankenstein-esque experimentation. Although Rosalind’s friends and family are irrevocably tangled in the political knot enveloping 1932 Shanghai as the Communists, Nationalists, and Japanese imperialists wrangle for control, they all come together to rescue Orion and stop Lady Hong’s terrifying experimentation in its tracks. This installment extends points of view among more characters than the previous novels, incorporating more significant contributions from Alisa Montagova, Rosalind’s sister Celia, and Orion’s sister Phoebe. Much like previous books, the nebulous antagonist is given brief point-of-view moments that simultaneously provide clues about their motivation and sow doubt regarding their true identity. Both politics and mystery unfold with precise pacing, while the character dynamics remain riveting throughout. Most significant characters are East Asian; several characters are bisexual, Rosalind is demisexual, and Celia is transgender.
VERDICT Heavy on a classical interpretation of science fiction as well as clearly explained history that is rarely highlighted in Western media, this is a first pick for any library searching for a refreshing take on either genre.

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