Continue reading “The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson”
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
The Surun’ do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.
Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.
As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have a lot of conflicted feelings about this book. It was rambling, but also profound, I suppose. It was a little contrived but spoke honestly and bravely about claiming one’s identity. It did not know if it was a poem or a book or a novella, but I didn’t mind that so much. It started out slow and dense but resolved itself beautifully.
The Four Profound Weaves is an LGBTQ+ fantasy set in a brutal world full of harsh societies and a hostile desert. The book follows two transgender characters, who, after looking back on a life of pain and longing, set out on a journey to find what they most desire. The novel is prose-heavy, but driven by some semblance of a plot. It is a story about transformation, hope, acceptance, and death. Its imagery is fantastical but its messaging is very real.
This book will resonate with those who are struggling to be themselves or find themselves in a society that does not accept them. Because of the importance of its themes and the beautiful journey it takes its readers on, I think it is worth reading even if you are not in love with the world or the writing. It is only around 200 pages, so for me, it was worth pushing through what I thought was overly lyrical writing to get to the heart of the story.
Thanks for reading my quick little review! Happy reading 🙂
Ok so clearly I’m one day late on this (happy 2020, everyone!), but I still wanted to take the time to share what I was up to in this last month. I don’t think I’ll be posting a “best of 2019” or “best of the decade” because I CANNOT CHOOSE, OKAY? There are just too many books in too many genres that are great in different, incomparable, ways. I’m not going to compare Katherine Arden’s excellent fantasy to my newfound love of Murakami. They’re just too different.
Moving on, here’s what I read this month!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Wow. Just wow!! I absolutely adored this book. Ng writes with precise craft and heavy emotion, making even a book about peoples’ everyday lives incredibly gripping.
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
I received a review copy of this and unfortunately, it was a bust. Read my full review here.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This woman is just,, amazing? Another wow.
Days of Sugar and Spice written by Loic Clement and illustrated by Anne Montel
A super-cute, feel-good graphic novel. Read my full review here.
South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
Yet another amazing book by this man. This one is one of his more “mundane” novels, but it is strange and magical nonetheless.
Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer
A spooky Halloween-time read about witches and serial killers. Intrigued? Read my full review here.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Perfect for fans of Penumbra. This is a quirky, eccentric, way-out-there read. You will gobble it up.
So I read some pretty fantastic books this month. Overall, a lot more good than bad. For anyone looking for something to read, I think there is a pretty diverse set of genres here, so I would recommend (most of) these!
What did your last month of 2019 look like?