Strike the Zither Review


Strike the Zither is a reimagining of the classic Chinese myth The Three Kingdoms. Set in the mythical Xin Dynasty it imagines the tale in a world where gender isn’t an issue to hold people back, the main characters are all recast as women, but while there is a partial love interest the book doesn’t fall into romantansy. Instead, it focuses on the mental prowess of the main character,Zephyr as she serves her lordess Xin Ren. Trying to help Ren win against the more powerful Cicada from the South, Miasma from the North and her own family from the west.

Zephyr focuses on the classic arts of being a strategist, thinking through every one of her plans extensively, and focusing on the art of playing the zither to express herself. A twist in the plot leaves her having to scramble with having to behave later on but I won’t give it away, she still maintains her wit and ability to help her lordess despite her change in circumstances and is one of the smartest characters I’ve seen written in awhile. It is also very tightly written at only 368 pages the novel doesn’t feel like it has any lull.


This book has been one of my favorites so far this year. It already had a bit of a heads-up when it came to being a favorite because I love Chinese culture and stories due to my time studying them at college. But He’s writing was so tight that it made the book absolutely perfect. He notes that she takes a lot of leeway in terms of the story and other elements of culture. However, she keeps the atmosphere and characters so believable any artistic license she took seems to be worth it. But, I am saying this as a non-AAPI reader unfamiliar with the original so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

You can purchase Strike the Zither here

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