Series: Flesh and False Gods Book 1
Length: 384 pages
First Published: 2023
In the first book of her Flesh & False Gods series, Chloe Gong pens a new adult fantasy inspired by Antony and Cleopatra. Every year, the kingdom of Talin hosts a series of games, battles to the death where those skilled at jumping their minds between bodies usually win. In hiding after murdering her parents, Princess Calla is determined to kill the corrupt king and winning will be the perfect chance to do so. But she finds an unlikely alliance in Anton and must decide who she is really fighting for – her lover or her kingdom.
Gong’s newest fantasy series builds an intricate world whose complexity made it hard to follow. In contrast, Calla and Anton’s characters could have used more development, and their naive motivations bothered me. Although the action was consistent throughout, the Hunger Games-style competition didn’t have the suspense and tension that you’d expect. However, I will say, the ending was superb.
Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches.
Princess Calla Tuoleimi lurks in hiding. Five years ago, a massacre killed her parents and left the palace of Er empty…and she was the one who did it. Before King Kasa’s forces in San can catch her, she plans to finish the job and bring down the monarchy. Her reclusive uncle always greets the victor of the games, so if she wins, she gets her opportunity at last to kill him.
Enter Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat. His childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace, and he’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Thankfully, he’s one of the best jumpers in the kingdom, flitting from body to body at will. His last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.
Calla finds both an unexpected alliance with Anton and help from King Kasa’s adopted son, August, who wants to mend Talin’s ills. But the three of them have very different goals, even as Calla and Anton’s partnership spirals into something all-consuming. Before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for—her lover or her kingdom.
About Chloe Gong
Chloe Gong is the author of These Violent Delights, Our Violent Ends, Immortal Longings, and the Foul Lady Fortune series. She is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. She was born in Shanghai, raised in Auckland, New Zealand, and currently lives in Philadelphia. Visit the author’s website →