Book Review

Review – Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu


From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is laced with depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.

From award-winning author Ken Liu comes his much anticipated second volume of short stories. 

Ken Liu’s well-crafted, thought-provoking and award-winning short stories are high water marks of contemporary speculative fiction. This collection includes sixteen of his best science fiction and fantasy stories from the last five years – plus a new novella. 

In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in The Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.

My Review:

When I saw the synopsis of The Hidden Girl, I was very very intrigued. Sci-fi is a genre which I really know nothing about. But when I saw that The Hidden Girl was a mix of Sci-fi, fantasy and chinese folklores, I was all in! I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and read these short stories and discover this genre. I was so glad I read it. I haven’t finished reading the whole book as I have been taking my time with it. However, for the short stories that I have read, I have enjoyed them immensely!

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what the stories are about. They are set in different time period but all have sci-fi, fantasy and apocalyptic elements in them. They are set in various situations and after reading the first two short stories, I couldn’t help but sincerely admire Ken’s ability to tell these stories within 20-40 pages, and yet they still manage to make a huge impact on us readers. I found Ken really has a way to evoke emotion out of you. Yes these stories are set in the future or in an apocalyptic world that I know nothing about, yet I feel their pain and emotions. There are a couple of stories that have almost moved me to tears. I love one of the short stories The Golds Will Not Be Chained. 20 pages and yet you get to know everything you need to know as if this is a 400 pages novel. I love it!

Don’t you just love when a book totally surprises you? This is what Hidden Girl and Other Stories does to me. I totally recommend it and I will for sure finish the rest of the book!

Thank you so much Amber and Midas PR for this amazing copy to review.

About The Author

Ken Liu is an American speculative fiction writer and the winner of the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, Sidewise, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. The son of a pharmaceutical chemist and a computer engineer, Ken emigrated to the US with his mother and father at the age of 11. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and Computer Science and later attended Harvard Law School. 

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. His debut novel, The Grace of Kings, is the first volume in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty, in which engineers play the role of wizards. His debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, has been published in more than a dozen language and his short story Good Hunting was adapted for an episode for Netflix’s science fiction web series Love, Death and Robots.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu”

  1. Nice review Sissi!

    Like yourself, neither science fiction or fantasy, are amongst my favourite genres and are not something I would usually agree to read / review.

    I still can’t say that after sampling a selection of short stories from this collection that I am converted to the genres for any future reading. However I enjoyed Ken’s writing so much, that the stories and characters came to life for me, in a very emotional way, that was easy to connect with.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a great week 🙂



    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Yvonne! Yes I totally agree with you! Sci fi will still be a genre that I need to get out of my comfort zone to read but I just love it when a book took me completely by surprise! When I was reading it, it doesn’t feel like I am reading sci-fi, the genre doesn’t exist when the book and story is so good!


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