Book: Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Release Date: May 11th 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Contemporary Fantasy | Malaysian Setting | Malaysian American MC | Queer
Trigger/Content Warnings: Grief | Sexual Assault | Cancer Repurcussions
Other books by This Author I Reviewed
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water |
Sorcerer to the Crown | The True Queen
As Jessamyn packs for Malaysia, it’s not a good time to start hearing a bossy voice in her head. Broke, jobless and just graduated, she’s abandoning America to return ‘home’. But she last saw Malaysia as a toddler – and is completely unprepared for its ghosts, gods and her eccentric family’s shenanigans.
Jess soon learns her ‘voice’ belongs to Ah Ma, her late grandmother. She worshipped the Black Water Sister, a local deity. And when a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge. Now she’s decided Jess will help, whether she wants to or not.
As Ah Ma blackmails Jess into compliance, Jess fights to retain control. But her irrepressible relative isn’t going to let a little thing like death stop her, when she can simply borrow Jess’s body to make mischief. As Jess is drawn ever deeper into a world of peril and family secrets, getting a job becomes the least of her worries.
Black Water Sister is a book I have been wanting to read for ages but I kept putting it off. Sometimes books from your favorite author can seem extremely daunting. Especially when it is about a haunting.
We meet Jess when she first hears a voice in her head. She doesn’t realize then that her grandma, who she has never met, has started haunting her. Not until the move to Malaysia is complete and Jess is in a complete new world, being taken over by her grandma who has ulterior motives for sticking around.
The absolute feels that we get from Jess is what makes me adore this book. Moving to Malaysia, hiding being queer and then being haunted by the grandma you never met, it is a lot. And then when your grandma ghost wants you to go and save a shrine for the ghost that was attached to her, well, your world gets put upside down.
If that sounds like a whirlwind, it is. For Jess. But for us as readers the pace is a tad bit slower. We get plenty of time to regroup alongside of Jess. To understand who Jess is and how her family works. Why her mother always kept her away from her grandmother and uncle.
I also quite appreciated Jess’ family. Her uncle who is a bit of a mess, her mom who loves her but has quite the backpack, her aunt who is more observant than you would think.
All in all I think Black Water Sister is once again a great read from Zen Cho.