THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE is as good as all the starred reviews say it is! Which is honestly what I expect from a Tor novella.
I really loved the almost epistolary structure of the book, and the subversion of the ideals of hereditary monarchy (which is a conceit I've never understood--why would you think the child of a great leader would make a second great leader? That's not how children work. And yet it seems people always need to be reminded of the foolishness of dynasties). I'll always be a fan of librarian/archivist characters, and the idea of a flock of birds that functions as a kind of ~cloud storage~ of a nation's history is absolutely perfect. I wish this was a full novel, because I was just starting to connect with the characters and then, bam, the book was over. I'm glad there's a part two in the works.