I liked the cover, i liked the title, i liked the synopsis, i liked that it was 99p, and …
… i rather liked the story as well.
The “Tea Master” is actually a mindship, which isn’t really explained fully in the story, but you kind of get the idea that some sentient being has been implanted into the heart of some kind of space ship. There’s a real enigmatic element flowing through this story, and i think a lot of it is because this is a standalone from a much wider story line, that of Xuya, and i’m fairly sure if i go and read lots of stories from the Xuya Universe i’ll soon find out all about mindships and such like.
But for this book, not being fully up to speed on the hard facts of everything really doesn’t detract. In fact, i quite like the brushing over of the science and just getting down to the real bones of the story: that of a damaged mindship turned tea maker because they can’t face deep space any more, and that of a detective, who also comes across as fairly damaged herself. The two have to somehow get over their issues and investigate the death of a child and hopefully prevent more deaths.
Nebula Award winner and Hugo Award finalist for best novella, a sci-fi book doesn’t come with much better credentials.
After reading this i just had to go and read more from The Universe of Xuya, and so i gave this book a second reading when it was due in the series. It’s much better read with the full Xuya background, and you can find that second review to The Tea Master and the Detective by clicking on it.