Reviews tagging Deadnaming

The Four Profound Weaves, by R.B. Lemberg

10 reviews

gay's review

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emotional 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

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reviewsandreadathons's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

This is a book that just plops you into the world with very little explanation. I did read a novelette set in the Birdverse first and that seemed to acquaint me a little more. Beautiful writing. 

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micheala's review against another edition

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dark emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

This is an interesting take on a coming of age novel in that both the main characters are in their mid-60s and are only now finally figuring out how to be who they are. 

Seeing the nameless man's journey was more impactful for me then Uiziya's as I never really connected to her motivation. 

R.B. Lemberg has previously published poetry in this universe and I feel that that can clearly be felt in the prose style. It was more flowery and metaphorical than I typically enjoy. 

The world is really interesting, but it's also definitely on the weird side of fantasy. As much as I really appreciated the desert setting and clearly non-Western based cultures, the magic system was hard for me to wrap my head around. I'm not sure if I would have had an easier time if I had read the short stories set in this universe before hand, or this is just a system that my brain is going to struggle to get anyways. 

If you're interested in queer stories by queer authors, you don't mind your fantasy being on the weird end of the scale, and/or you enjoy novellas, I would recommend this. 

On that note, however, there are two big trigger warnings that I think are important to know before heading into this, particularly if you are not cis:
Spoiler The nameless man gets dead-named and misgendered on several occasions by different people in the latter half of the book

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samespelho's review

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

5.0

For we are all woven of words; and after we go, it is our tales that remain, wandering around the desert with the wind.

This is the kind of book I qualify as a "quick read with a lasting impression." The two main strengths here are the characterization and the worldbuilding. The two main characters, both transgender in their sixties, are journeying through a desert, searching for past and future alike. The story unfolds slowly at first, then picks up the pace slightly in the latter half when more secrets are brought to light and the external stakes rise higher. Even in the external conflict, the focus remains staunchly on self-change, self-discovery, personal truth, and the courage it sometimes takes to not let go of yourself.

Both the way the story is structured and the way the setting unfolds in front of the reader's eyes, reminded me of the weaving that's so important to this tale and this world. At first, there's a collection of individual threads, each of them bright and intriguing, but you have no idea how they fit together. As the novella progresses, they do begin to fit together, forming a rich, unique tapestry that is seriously hard to talk about without giving too much away. It's a word that both a lot more inclusive than what a lot of us are used to and just as strictly gender-roled, even if the roles are different. It's a world of imaginative divine magic. It's a desert with ghost snakes and assassins. It's scary and strange and beautiful all at once.

The writing remains smooth and lyrical throughout, and the characters really, really shine on every page with all the experience they'd amassed way before this story began, the positive and the negative and the in-between. The Four Profound Weaves reminded me of some of my favorite books, taking the most interesting parts of them and mashing them together: it's not unlike The Balance Academy series by S.E. Robertson in how the characters undertake a physical journey that's really all about the inner change, and the focus on the older protagonists who are still in the thick of things, leaving through complex internal arcs and taking active part in external events, reminded me of Ravenwood by Nathan Lowell.

I think I'll end my ramblings here, because there are so many details I want to talk about, but the story is so intricate and thus so easy to spoil: some of the details may seem simple if you just know about them going in, but the way they unfold, the way you learn about them as you read, is a huge part of the magic. Very highly recommended, especially to my fellow queer/trans readers.

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drp_moonlight's review

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emotional inspiring reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

3.0

The Four Profound Weaves follows two transgender elders who must learn to weave from Death. I enjoyed the message and the story, but I couldn't help to feel that this was part of a series (which it is). I felt like I was too quickly dropped into an unfamiliar world with a complicated mythology that I couldn't really grasp onto until the very end. Overall a quick and emotional read. 

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verdigristle's review

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75


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queerly_reading's review

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adventurous hopeful inspiring mysterious reflective fast-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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lavender0menace's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful fast-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

 this one is going to stick with me. it was incredibly thoughtful and well-written, with prose that would stop me in my tracks and have me reading, rereading, and rereading again to make sure i captured all that was there. it asked big questions about gender, home, culture, change, religion, and love, about what we're willing to give up to get, and about how hope and death often go hand in hand. 

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unicornsbookshelf's review

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adventurous mysterious slow-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

 
Disclaimer: I have voluntarily reviewed this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley; thank you!

The Four Profound Weaves is a story about two older trans people and their journey through the desert to find a woman banished from the tribe they were traveling with. It touches upon some very needed topics and it does so masterfully but it also for some reason didn’t click with me.

Reading The Four Profound Weaves feels like reading a fairytale. You’re submerged in a mystical world with a rich atmosphere and magic but you never actually learn much about it. It makes you feel the story more than understand it. Not that I didn’t. There is plenty of contexts provided to understand how Weaves work. Plenty to understand why the characters are in the situations they are in. But there’s not so much for anything else. That to be said, I still enjoyed the heavy, desert atmosphere and the beautiful writing style.

Another thing the books does well is talking about trans experiences. An own voices reviewer will have more to say about it and it will be on point but I did like how the book presented perspectives of both people who transitioned early in their life as well as people who transitioned late into adulthood. People who had to live in a conservative environment with strict gender roles, as well as people between whom transitioning, wasn’t seen as a big deal. It was very interesting to read and since both of the characters are in their sixties the reader gets to see how their whole lives were affected by their situation. It wasn’t something I usually see discussed in books. 

Sadly I couldn’t connect to the characters. They felt more like means to tell the story than actual people who you could like. They were good devices to show what the writer wanted the audience to understand but other than that I found them rather unmemorable. I feel that was mostly why the story fell flat to me. It was short and didn’t give time to flash out the characters fully. I still found their story very meaningful and beautifully written, though. 

All in all, I feel like this book wasn’t something up my alley. It’s often a fault I find in adult fantasy when the plot and atmosphere are more prominent than character development and relationships between them. I’d still recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a queer fantasy story with a rich atmosphere and meaningful discussion.

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readandfindout's review

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adventurous mysterious reflective slow-paced

3.5

Style/writing: 4 stars
Themes: 4 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Plot: 3 stars
Worldbuilding: 3.5 stars

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