Week 5/6/7 (eek)
The Bone Doll’s Twin (Lynn Flewelling)
I haven’t read this one in years; it took a little getting into, but by the end I was in deep, man. One of those occasions where I went to curl up in bed with it and took the next in the series down off the shelf before I went, even though I still had a quarter of it left, because I knew I was going to want to put one book down and immediately pick up the next. Which I did, because holy yes do I love the world Lynn has created in Skala etc.
This is a sort of prequel to her Nightrunner series, and focuses several hundred years before the creation of Rhiminee; I know she’s not as well known as a lot of “big” fantasy writers, she’s no GRRM or Robert Jordan, but if you’ve ever thought you’d like to see more queer representation in your fantasy, her books are for you. Seregil, one of the two main characters in her Nightrunner books is pansexual, Alec is at least bi. The Tamir triad, this series, focuses on a girl who at birth is disguised in her brother’s skin to appear as a boy, even to herself. Raised as a male, she’s ashamed of her desire for “girlish” things until eventually she learns the truth and then struggles with justifying her two selves; the desire to regain her “female” body and her fear that those she loves will view her differently and turn away from her. It’s the only time I’ve seen a fantasy novel with a main character who can be viewed as transgender, and it’s worth reading, especially for cis people who feel confused as to the “whys” of feeling your body isn’t right.
But aside from any sexual/gender interests, the story is good- there’s sword fighting, ghosts, demons and magic of the crystal-and-sourcery brand and also the blood-and-bone and herb variety. Lynn Flewelling does court life very well, and it’s more than worth your time to read her work if you haven’t already.