Reviews tagging Transphobia

The Four Profound Weaves, by R.B. Lemberg

13 reviews

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

3.0

 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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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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perpetualpages's review

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adventurous challenging emotional hopeful reflective sad medium-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

5.0

CWs: transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming; death; blood, graphic violence and description of injury; some scenes containing beating and physical assault

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coreym's review

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adventurous emotional inspiring 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

3.0


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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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