Awww, what another great story in a fantastically crafted universe. For those who may not know, Seven of Infinities is set in the same world as previous stories written by Aliette de Bodard, like the The Tea Master and the Detective and Citadel of Weeping Pearls. And just like those stories, I loved this one as well. It had elements of the familiar, the concepts built up through those previous novellas, with new characters and mysteries to unravel.
This story centres around Vân (a scholar and teacher) and Sunless Woods, who is a mind ship and a scholar as well. Or so they both seem to be at the beginning, but then their real identities emerge through the story, as they both try to unravel a mystery. But the story also is about the relationship between the two characters, despite one being a ship and the other being a human (the ships can take on more human forms tho).
What was great about the story is that it continues to build upon the universe that we’ve come to know, but subtly and woven in with the overarching narrative. So there’s no description that isn’t purposeful, even when it’s describing something ornamental. There’s lots of plot, is what I’m saying, packed into a small, very beautifully described package.
I feel like I should describe more things, but I’m trying to untangle in my mind things that feel like spoilers from those that are not. Look, it’s just lovely okay? It feels very redemptive of past mistakes haunting people in their present. It felt lovely how the main characters look past the seeming imperfections that would damn the characters in the eyes of their society (which we get a hint of not being that fabulous, given it’s an empire). They love each other for who they are and that’s enough. How lovely is that?
If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you totally should. It’s a feast of wonderful words and beautiful imagery.