The Tuesday after a long weekend is always tough to come back to, but today I’ve got a lovely review for y’all to browse as you head back to work.
Thanks to Tachyon Publications and Jim for organizing this tour and having me along to celebrate the release of RB Lemberg’s debut novella, The Four Profound Weaves, which came out on September 1. You can pick up a copy from the publisher’s website, check it out from Book Shop, or shop your favorite book retailer.
Some of you may remember that I first read this way back in the early baby stages of my blog. This ARC was one of the first books I reviewed through NetGalley! In my initial review, I called this story ‘achingly beautiful’, and I really don’t know how else to describe it. It’s gorgeously poetic and the explorations of gender identity, the deep yearning for belonging, the worldbuilding, the everything about this book hits you somewhere deep inside your chest and stays there.
Content warnings (may be incomplete, may contain spoilers): Highlight below to view
Misgendering, dead naming, mild violence, discussion of death
Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night
This is the story of two trans elders who journey across the desert in search of answers. Uiziya longs to know the mysteries of the last weave, the one her aunt and master weaver Benesret weaves in isolation for the desert assassins, and the nameless man, nen-sasaïr, searches for belonging, and a name to call himself after many years under the wrong one.
Uiziya transformed as a young child, celebrated and loved among her people and culture, whereas nen-sasaïr struggles to grasp his own identity after years where he was told by his community and one of his lovers that he wasn’t who he thought he was, and now, he’s constantly torn between his upbringing and his culture with his desires and true sense of self. There are a lot of theme to unpack here, themes on family and tradition, acceptance and identity, and love of all kinds, that make this novella so much deeper than you get on the initial read, which makes it a joy to reread.
This novella takes place in Lemberg’s Birdverse, and while it does work alone, it was a little confusing initially to understand the world and it’s magic, as well as the lore behind the goddess Bird. The story is told in a dual-POV format that offers intimate insight into each character’s thoughts and feelings and deepest desires, but it was, at times, difficult to separate the two because their voices come out similarly. The story is much more slow-paced than I’m used to, but it works so well with this story and allows the lyrical writing style to truly shine. The finale is grand and splendid and absolutely breathtakingly. beautiful. I’m a big “feelings” reader; I The Four Profound Weaves leaves you behind with a sense of wonder and a little bit of pain, and I look forward to reading more of Lemberg’s work.
Final rating: 4.5/5
With love, Pei