bookdeviant's review

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Note: This review is exclusively for Rose Lemberg's piece The Book of How to Live.

The Book of How to Live starts differently than what I am used to in Rose's writings. Instead of delving deep into the thoughts and events, Efronia is introduced immediately, her character being displayed and explained later. That doesn't mean that I disliked this story--No, I loved it just as much as all of Rose's other stories. Efronia was a well developed character, and you get to know her really fast in the narrative. I understood her struggles and was intrigued to read more about her past and her life.

I thought the story of the Khana was really interesting as well, which only got more intense as the story continued. Zilpit-nai-Rinah's, or Atarah, character was extremely interesting, especially how she seemed to be the opposite of what her culture and people expected of her. I loved Atarah's spirit and integrity, but I also was really interested in her culture. How the men and women lived separately, as well as the oregs that women lived in (which seemed to me to be similar to a polycule?).

As always, Rose's writing was lyrical and beautiful. I find the way they put words down on the page comforting, and I felt immediately at home when I began reading this story. Just from the way they write, you can tell that this world is so inclusive and encompasses everyone. Maybe that's from my experience of Rose's other pieces, but I still cannot get enough of their writing.

Five stars - Overall?

I was comfortable in this story right from the beginning, leaning in with the new and unique characters, as well as the added descriptions Rose gives for the rest of their Birdverse. Birdverse is one universe that interests me so much that I could spend hours thinking about it. I loved this story, and I seriously do not expect to ever be disappointed by Rose.

Would I Recommend?

Especially so if you're looking for inclusive high fantasy stories. While none of the rep is explicit, I was still so happy to read the ace rep that Rose so beautifully included in this one. They wove it in expertly, and I look forward to reading more of their rep.