Daughter of Calamity

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Pub Date Jun 18 2024 | Archive Date Jul 02 2024

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Genres collide in this dark and atmospheric reimagining of 1930s Shanghai for fans of Nghi Vo and S. A. Chakraborty.

Jingwen spends her nights as a showgirl at the Paramount, one of the most lavish clubs in Shanghai, competing ruthlessly to charm wealthy patrons. To cap off her shifts, she runs money for her grandmother, the exclusive surgeon to the most powerful gang in the city. A position her grandmother is pressuring her to inherit…

When a series of dancers are targeted—the attacker stealing their faces—Jingwen fears she could be next. And as the faces of the dancers start appearing on wealthy foreign socialites, she realizes Shanghai's glittering mirage of carefree luxury comes at a terrible price.

Fighting not just for her own safety but that of the other dancers—women who have simultaneously been her bitterest rivals and only friends—Jingwen has no choice but to delve into the city's underworld. In this treacherous realm of tangled alliances and ancient grudges, silver-armed gangsters haunt every alley, foreign playboys broker deals in exclusive back rooms, and the power of gods is wielded and traded like yuan. Jingwen will have to become something far stranger and more dangerous than her grandmother ever imagined if she hopes to survive the forces waiting to sell Shanghai's bones.

Genres collide in this dark and atmospheric reimagining of 1930s Shanghai for fans of Nghi Vo and S. A. Chakraborty.

Jingwen spends her nights as a showgirl at the Paramount, one of the most lavish...

Advance Praise

"Lin’s Shanghai invites you in with an open hand or an offer to dance; here, every page is full of glamour, possibility, treachery. DAUGHTER OF CALAMITY will pull you in like a fever dream." –Grace D. Li, New York Times bestselling author of Portrait of a Thief

"Rosalie Lin crafts a world dripping with atmosphere and intrigue where gods and shamans wreak havoc in mist filled alleys while dance girls spin on clouds of gold and desire. Lin’s Shanghai bursts from the page, decadent, dangerous, and addictive. A thrilling debut.” –A. Y. Chao, Sunday Times bestselling author of Shanghai Immortal

“DAUGHTER OF CALAMITY transported me to dazzling, blood-soaked Shanghai. I was swept away by the spectacle of vicious feuds between gangsters and gods, caught up in the heart-pounding twists and betrayals that kept me turning the pages. A dark and fantastical read.” –Judy I. Lin, New York Times bestselling author of A Magic Steeped in Poison

"Lin’s Shanghai invites you in with an open hand or an offer to dance; here, every page is full of glamour, possibility, treachery. DAUGHTER OF CALAMITY will pull you in like a fever dream." –Grace...

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ISBN 9781250287380
PRICE $29.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 92 members

Featured Reviews

Mysterious Shanghai, secrets, violence, history, gangs, and a bit of magic in the dark of night. The setting so rich, the story so complex, almost an experience rather than a book.

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Thank you NetGalley for a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rosalie M. Lin's "Daughter of Calamity" is a richly woven tapestry of intrigue and dark fantasy set against the backdrop of 1930s Shanghai. Lin's novel is a masterful blend of historical fiction and fantasy, creating a world where the glamour of the era coexists with a chilling undercurrent of supernatural dread. This book is a vivid reimagining that will appeal to fans of Nghi Vo and S. A. Chakraborty, offering a unique perspective on a time and place rarely explored in fantasy literature.

The story centers on Jingwen, a showgirl at the Paramount, a nexus of Shanghai's nightlife, who is entangled in a web of danger and deceit. By day, she is a dancer competing for the attention of wealthy patrons; by night, she assists her grandmother, a surgeon with deep ties to the city's most powerful gang. Lin portrays Jingwen's dual life with skill, capturing the glittering surface of her world and the dark realities that lie beneath.

The narrative takes a sinister turn with the mysterious assaults on dancers, whose faces are gruesomely stolen and later found on foreign socialites. This plot element serves not just as a thrilling mystery but also as a metaphor for the city's duality, the price of its opulence, and the exploitation hidden under its luxurious façade. Lin's depiction of 1930s Shanghai is both atmospheric and authentic, immersing the reader in a world of silver-armed gangsters, backroom deals, and divine powers.

However, the novel's ambitious scope sometimes leads to a complexity that can be overwhelming. The intertwining of historical detail, fantasy elements, and a large cast of characters requires attentive reading to fully appreciate the intricacies of the plot and the world Lin has created.

"Daughter of Calamity" is a compelling and imaginative work that combines historical depth with fantasy elements to create a story that is both unique and enthralling. Lin's talent for world-building and her ability to weave together different genres make this novel a standout in both historical fiction and fantasy. Readers who enjoy a story that challenges conventions and offers a rich, immersive experience will find "Daughter of Calamity" a rewarding read.

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Magical realism in jazz age Shanghai? Sign me up. Daughter of Calamity is beautifully written with some very lyrical language about the city, dance and martial arts. It took a bit for me to settle in to it, as the early chapters suffer from the naïveté of the protagonist, but Jingwen develops a lot over the course of the novel. Overall, a very interesting tale that really suffuses you in the atmosphere of the jazz age. It reminds me of a cross between Mexican Gothic and Last Call at the Nightingale.

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Amazing, hard, and gritty, with no punches pulled! A great look at the world of Shanghai before WWII, and from the view of three native Chinese women instead of a Westerner for a change!

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I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Daughter of Calamity by Rosalie M. Lin is an adult historical fantasy set in Shanghai in the 1930s. Jingwen is a cabaret dancer whose grandmother is the doctor of one of the local gangs. On a night when Jingwen and several of her fellow dancers make a bet about who can attract the richest client, one of the dancer’s lips are stolen right on the dance floor, leading Jingwen to learn more about her own family and city.

Lin’s descriptions of Shanghai make the city feel like a character all its own, from the citizens to the sights and smells to its history and its present. I found a lot of the descriptions to be creative and revealing about Jingwen’s character as well as the person or thing being described. The characters had distinct personalities from Jingwen’s ambitions to Beibei’s arrogance to Bailey’s quiet calculations.

I found it really hard to put this book down several times, especially as more and more of the fantastical elements were slowly revealed and we got glimpses into how the fantastical coexists with the historical Shanghai setting. Jingwen has a voice that I want to read more of and would gladly devour another book following her.

I would recommend this to readers looking for historical fiction with light fantasy elements and readers interested in Shanghai during the Jazz era.

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