Simply put, wow. I needed this book and I had no idea until I picked it up on a whim.
No Man of Woman Born is a collection of seven short stories, all featuring trans and nonbinary characters in epic fantasy settings. Aside from how overjoyed I was with the representation in this collection, I must take a moment to comment on Ana Mardoll’s incredible talent as a writer. In each brief story xie conjures an elaborate, fleshed out world that could support its own collection of tales. Though the world xie creates may be filled with strife and warfare, xer characters persevere. While some protagonists experienced hardship in their past, none suffer gruesome deaths or tragic fates, no characters are deadnamed, and misgendering and bigotry are minimal. Each story elegantly subverts well established tropes in the fantasy genre, and left me smiling each time it did. Mardoll puts the heart of this book best in xer own words:
The heroes and heroines in these pages aren’t special because they are trans; they are special and they are trans.
I loved this book from cover to cover and I highly recommend it to any lovers of fantasy, retellings, and queer fiction. Continue reading “Review: No Man of Woman Born”
In Maggie Archer’s delightful tale, we follow the egotistical Prince Harvey. He has a lush life as the only child of the King and Queen of Avaria, a idyllic, plentiful land. Harvey is the archetypal prince: handsome, talented, charming, born to rule. He is highly thought of by the ladies and he knows it. The story picks up as Harvey’s ego brings ruin upon him. After humiliating the daughter of a powerful witch at the royal ball, Harvey is transformed into a scarecrow and cast out of his kingdom to an orchard in a land he has never seen before.
Lucky for Harvey, a princess frequents this particular orchard. As she relaxes in the beautiful countryside, she finds herself confiding her problems in her friend, the scarecrow.
Archer’s writing carries the story along swiftly and beautifully, and The Scarecrow and the Princess is free from many of the cliches that I’ve always felt tend to bog down children’s fairy tales. These characters and their reactions to Harvey’s predicament feel genuine. There is no magical kiss and a princess immediately whisked away, no children being married or parents that use their kids as political pawns. I loved the dynamic between the families of each kingdom and the rapport between Harvey and the princess. I recommend this highly to and as a gift for any middle-grade lovers of fantasy and fairy tales. Continue reading “Review: The Scarecrow and the Princess”