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Zen Cho

Zen Cho is a Malaysian writer of SFF and romance. She was born and raised in Selangor, read law at Cambridge, and currently lives in London.

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Sorcerer to the Crown: A fun Regency Fantasy with a heart

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

One would think being raised to the position of Sorcerer Royal — undisputed leader of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers (i.e. magic-users) — would be something to revel in. But for Zacharias Wythe, being at the pinnacle of magic society isn’t all that fun. Mostly because that for many of the old white men who make up the Royal society, that “undisputed” part of the title doesn’t seem to apply if, like Zacharias, you’re black and a former slave. Then there are the assassination attempts, the mysterious decline in magic affecting England’s magic-users, the ghost of the former Sorcerer Royal (his former owner-turned-father-figure/sponsor whom some accuse Zacharias of murdering in order to obtain his position), a government that no longer accords the magicians their former respect (and that possibly suspects their waning power), and the constant background threat of Napoleon’s France. And,... Read More

The True Queen: A tad too familiar, but very well done

The True Queen by Zen Cho

Zen Cho continues her SORCERER ROYAL series with The True Queen (2019), the first follow-up to Sorcerer to the Crown. Technically, The True Queen could be read as a stand-alone or as an introduction to the series, and that was the spirit in which I read it, though I often found myself wishing I had read this book second rather than first; the series takes place in a definite chronological order, with events in Sorcerer to the Crown affecting character status and actions in The True Queen in such a way that, despite Cho’s careful implementation of exposition, left me feeling a bit at sea. Other readers may not ha... Read More

SHORTS: Cho, Stueart, Palmer, Kingfisher

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few excellent stories, including two of the recently announced Hugo nominees, that we wanted you to know about.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again by Zen Cho (2018, free to read online or download at Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog). 2019 Hugo award nominee (novelette).

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, by Zen Cho, is a Hugo-nominated novelette about an imugi, a Korean creature who isn’t quite a dragon yet, but desperately wants to ascend to Heaven and join that august celesti... Read More