Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power, by Rose Lemberg

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(High Fantasy; Birdverse) The Old Royal has ruled the desert for millennia from her palace where a star once fell, but the arrival of a young stranger brings chaos. (38,308 words; Time: 2h:07m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 229, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The world is very elaborate and well-thought-out. Dialogue and narration are flawless.

Con: The protagonist is so powerful that the plot suffers. For the first ten thousand words, we’re not even sure what it is that they want, and the story really drags. Even then, the only problems that they have seem to be self-inflicted. This makes this very long story a real slog to get through.

Beyond that, there are a few loose ends. For example, the whole problem of the dying stars seems to have been swept under the rug.

Finally, I found the graphic S&M scenes at the end seriously disturbing. “I want to open your skin.” “I think I am ready for the knife.”

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 229)
Rose Lemberg Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. As of 7/6/2017, this review misgenders the protagonist, the Old Royal, who uses gender neutral pronouns.

    1. Where do you see that? It's often hard to figure out in a story with a 1st-person POV, and it's possible I missed something, but I'm pretty sure the narrator (a shape shifter) spoke of being male in the past but female at present.

    2. Hi, Greg - aside from the use of "they" in the story, there's this passage: "I wanted to speak in Niyazi, for I now remembered the voice had spoken earlier that way, but the language of Niyaz lacked neutral forms, which I would use both for this person and for myself."

    3. Good catch. Fixed. Thanks for letting me know.