The Four Profound Weaves, by R.B. Lemberg

bookish_bullsh_t's review against another edition

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I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book speaks of change, of wanderlust, of hope; and of death.

We follow our two MCs- Uiziya, who has learned the first three of the four profound weaves, now ventures out into the desert, in search of her exiled aunt Benesret, in search of knowledge. To learn the fourth weave.
The nameless man who struggles with his identity. The identity that his society rejects. He seeks to acquire his name.

I enjoyed the book. That's all for my opinion. This whole review is 100% my opinion. [Other readers may disagree, apparently different people have different preferences] I will be following my template of the neutral, the disappointment, and then what I loved, to end it on a positive note.

This section of the review is dedicated to the aspects of the book that I do not care for. But I do know that some readers do; and they seek out these elements in their books. Some might consider this a spoiler, so watch out I guess.
- This book has a vague magic system, though it is consistent; The concepts of these magic and their ability is a bit difficult to grasp at least for me.
- It does not feature a present- romantic subplot. There are plenty who complain about romance in their Fantasy book. Good new for them.
- It contains the Man Vs. Society trope. Which is obvious that it would be included.

This section is dedicated to the aspects of the book that I personally didn't like, or which I think could have been done a bit better.
- The Ending. I had been dreading this since halfway through it. It is [in my humble opinion] a bit too prolonged. There was an attempt at reaching a certain depth which the book could have reached and even exceeded but alas! The purple prose strikes again.
- The World building. Don't get me wrong it's great. Like actually, genuinely great! However I [along with some others] am new to the Birdverse. And I'm sure there will be other readers who will be introduced to it, through this book. I felt that in only some places [not all], we are sort of expected to already know about some stuff. If not, then we will immediately see an action after the explanation of a concept. [Again, not in all of them, but only a few]. I wish these information would be more evenly spread out through out the book.
- *Mild spoilers* I would love to see a bit more character depth to Benesret, and The Collector. [He likes to preserve, but why?]. I would put it in the place where we are already expected to know. I'm sure this is explained in other books[e.g. The author has another book exploring Aviya's POV}, but it could be better if they had some significance in this book too, because as I said earlier, many readers are introduced to the Birdverse via this book.
To conclude my last two points, I'd say that this book is too short for it to achieve what I expected it to be.
- There is no sense of urgency, I mean yes there is, but I just could not feel it. The Characters went from one place to another and I went along with them.

This Section is dedicated to the aspects I loved.
- The Hook. OMG The Hook is just so good! I was invested in the book within the first 10 pages. It has a solid beginning. I really can't pinpoint to what hooked me, but it was really good.
- The Formatting of the book is a work of Art. So amazing. *Mild spoilers? Idk how formatting can be spoiler but I'm scared of angry readers, who decided to read long enough.* The book is divided into 4 parts. Each relating to a profound weave. The plot, the description, EVERYTHING fit into the theme of a certain part. I really don't have coherent words to describe it, I'll be here gushing all day about it, so moving on...
-The Representation. The MCs, are Trans, that's a given. Uziya is a darkskinned plus-sized woman, who actually has come to terms with her body and feels comfortable in it. Those who say that representation doesn't matter, have probably been represented enough times for it to not matter. I do not fall into any of the demographics, but I can still appreciate it. So I won't be talking about the "accuracy" of the representation. Leaving it to those who know what it's like.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a book with the aspects which I mentioned in the neutral territory, then you might want to check it out. Take the rest with a grain of salt, because it's just my preference. [it might be different from you!]. Happy reading. :D

katiekat's review against another edition

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This was lovely, and such a different kind of concept! I loved the world-building and the magic, and the two narrators.

perusing_panels's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes


annarella's review against another edition

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I want to read other books set in the Birdverse because this one is excellent.
Great storytelling, excellent world building and character development.
A highly entertaining and gripping story that kept me hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine

mangela_28's review against another edition

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The Four Profound Weaves was my first look into the Birdverse and it was fantastic. R.B. Lemberg's world is so creative and unique, yet it reflects the (terrible) way trans people are treated here in our world. The writing, style, word choice was great; I enjoyed reading it. Although, I would have liked more detail in how magic is used in their world. They have "deepnames" but I wasn't sure what was truly happening when nen-sasair was working on healing. A couple things just kinda happened, without much explanation, to move the story along, but overall it was a good story.

venatrix's review

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emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 I had some very mixed feelings about this book. It felt like there was a lot of potential in the world but something about the writing style made it fall flat for me.

We follow two older trans people - a man who recently transitioned and a woman who transitioned as a child. While they were physically on the same journey, it was emotionally very different. 

The woman, Uiziya, is a weaver who feels her training was left incomplete when her aunt was exiled. She wants to find her aunt to finish learning. I had a very hard time with her chapters. She had the more interesting story in what she did (especially at the end) but… I just couldn’t believe her as a character. She felt like a child - at most in her early 20s - rather than a woman in her 60s. I was baffled how this woman has made a living for herself for decades when she seemed so paralyzed by the loss of her teacher. This feeling of childishness was furthered because the writing felt very abrupt and disjointed to me.

The nameless man is trying to figure out where he fits in the world after his transition. I very much enjoyed his journey to find where he belongs, as he’s had decades of living as a woman in a culture with very rigid gender roles. His insecurity of what was his role as a man, fear of rejection and the pain of being deadnamed made the nameless man feel a real person with whom I was invested. I greatly appreciated his point of view. The writing for his chapters worked much better, as I felt it conveyed his confusion and insecurity.

The world was intriguing. But it was a setting, never feeling truly explored. I would have liked to know more about the world and its magic (through the lens of the nameless man only.) The ending just felt like a thing that happened rather than something being built to.

In summation… The Four Profound Weaves had one character I was invested in, with the rest of the book feeling a skeleton. I can see the potential, but it’s not quite there for me.

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plums's review

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adventurous hopeful reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


rivqa's review against another edition

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An achingly beautiful novella about grief and healing. But also: trans elders fighting greed and injustice. The sparse, careful prose is a consistent delight. Highly recommended.

luminositylibrary's review against another edition

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The Four Profound Weaves has two elderly trans characters at its heart, inspecting how culture impacts gender struggles with a beautiful writing style. Unfortunately, the book failed to make me care about the story it wanted to tell, and beyond initial excitement, it didn't leave the impact I wished it would.

Uiziya wants to be a master weaver, as her aunt Benesret was, but learning from her is made difficult due to her exile. A nameless man is struggling to embody his culture's masculinity after many years of performing life as a woman. He is also looking for Benesret, hoping she'll give him a name. The two friends set off into the desert to find her, and get caught up in a journey to challenge a tyrant, and weave from death itself.

The best feature of The Four Profound Weaves was what drew me to it in the first place; it tells the story of two elderly trans people. For trans people, this is very significant. It gives our identity history; it reminds us that despite the violence we face growing old is a reality; it shows us we don't have to have everything sorted out right away. I loved how R.B. Lemberg described the nameless man's struggle with his identity, and his character growth here was wonderful to see. However, I struggle with books where plot and characters are overshadowed by lyrical prose. The writing was beautiful, but I couldn't fully engage. At times it felt like we were expected to understand more about the world than we were given. Considering the book is set in the author's pre-existing setting perhaps we were supposed to have read other work in the Birdverse before this one. My biggest issue with the book was that it didn't have anything driving it forward. The character motivations were hazy, and their voices were incredibly similar. There was nothing that made me care, worry for them, or want them to succeed.

Thanks to Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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inkandplasma's review against another edition

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

DNF @ 40%

I want to start this by saying that this book is excellent and my DNF definitely shouldn't be held against it. This book is beautiful and it's telling an amazing and powerful story about change and hope. It's full of nuanced thoughts about the trans experience and mirrors our society against a backdrop of a gorgeous magical world. It just didn't click for me personally and I struggled to get into it. The prose is gorgeous but I found it a little difficult to get into the story and the characters.

The idea of the weaves is gorgeous, I'm completely obsessed with being able to weave from wind, sand, song and bones. The fantasy world is fascinating and well-built, creative in a way that I haven't seen before. It's also a hugely diverse book with trans MCs, racially diverse characters and a plus-sized woman and I think that most people would love it and it's a shame it didn't work for me.