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The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window is an award-winning fantasy novella by Rachel Swirsky. It explores the conjunction of invocation, deep time, and culture shock. It was originally published in Subterranean Magazine, in the summer of 2010, and subsequently republished in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011 (from Prime Books) and The Be ...more
Published 2011 (first published June 2010)

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The really excellent novella, an original tale starring a deeply flawed but somehow strangely likable character in engaging situation. Because of the nature of the story, it unfolds is a series of vignettes, with new characters quickly introduced, adding a small slice of their story, and then moving on. There are whole novels that can't limn characters as skillfully as Swirsky managers in a couple of pages. It's amazing how compelling the read is given the episodic nature, but the close of each ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Andreas rated it it was amazing
Naeva - who's title is this fantasy novella's name-giver - is a powerful sorceress in a matriarchy - in her culture magic is indulged by poetry. She is murdered in the first couple of pages and bound to be summoned as a spirit. In that role she is resurrected through eons of short, but very different and phantastic situations. She experiences culture shock, love and betrayal.

Her character is quite stubborn but likable. As short as the vignettes are, they nonetheless give a valid feeling about th
Erin Price
Jul 23, 2011 Erin Price rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erin by:
Shelves: fantasy, 2011
What a lovely and haunting tale! It won a Nebula award and has been nominated for a Hugo. I hope it sees print in something other than a magazine. A look at immortality-of a sort-from the point of view of a sorceress from a strongly matriarchal society. That description doesn't really do it justice, though--go read it. It'll only take you an hour or so, and you won't regret it.
Jul 27, 2011 Kristin rated it liked it
A story about women’s magic as it crosses the ages. I thought this was well executed and I liked how the main character was not what you would expect. While I’m not wild about the feminist aspect of this story, I still felt it was innovative and fresh.

Jul 25, 2011 Ken rated it liked it
the writing is exquisite. Storyline is good
Gwen Nicodemus
Jul 13, 2011 Gwen Nicodemus rated it really liked it
On some unknown world in an unknown time, the Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers was betrayed by her queen and a worm (man). In her time and kingdom, women ruled, men were worms, and an underclass of women were kept for breeding and they were called the brood.

The Lady is betrayed and killed, but right before death her spirit is bound to earth. From then on, she can be conjured as people with magic call her.
Mar 06, 2012 Princessjay rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Beautiful. Densely, poetically written, a story of people who emerge alive from the page. Naeva emerges as a vivid character, a proud sorceress from a harsh & disciplined culture, who refused to change her ways as the aeons passes. Yet, she is nevertheless continuing to learn, and maybe to change after all.
Feb 25, 2015 Mekki rated it it was amazing
Fantastic fantasy. I wanted to read more and i hope that the author expands on this one day.
Isabel (kittiwake)
Mar 10, 2013 Isabel (kittiwake) rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dione Basseri
At first, a story of love and betrayal, but so much more. The titular lady is a devoted servant of the queen of a country ruled only by women. She has helped in the conception of the queen's children, and would gladly give her life to the monarch. But, when she does, she finds that her life was more taken than given. Brought back to serve the queen in death, she strikes back. Banished then resummoned and banished again, the lady travels through the ages, seeing her kingdom fall, and many others ...more
Nov 30, 2011 {eri} rated it it was amazing
I came across this story while doing research for my speculative fiction reader's advisory. The title so caught my eye that I researched it which led me to find the text and read the story in one sitting. A powerful narrative indeed.
Norman Cook
Jan 05, 2013 Norman Cook rated it really liked it
A powerful magician from a female dominated society is enchanted to be resurrected over the millennia, encountering a variety of societies and people who would exploit her magic. An effective tale of love, betrayal, and redemption.
Apr 07, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it
I would not have been drawn to this story based on either the title or the cover art, but I read it based on another person's review on goodreads. Their review provided enough information to pique my interest without spoiling anything.

May 14, 2012 Danijel rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Jan 05, 2014 Tacuazin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novella
This is the strange tale of a woman whose soul is kept with magic and summoned throughout millennia by a diversity of characters. It's an amazing display of imagination, at times lyrical, but most of the time plain weird.
Natuke oli huvitav, aga rohkem ikka igav.
Võimalik, et ma olin magamata ja siis kaks tassi kohvi joonud ja ei saanud maailma asjadest aru.
Forrest Roy
Sep 08, 2013 Forrest Roy rated it it was amazing
This is my first review in goodreads but I must hands down recommend this story. Tour de force. Wow. Brilliant.
Jun 14, 2014 Anabelee rated it liked it
Its approaching to magic is not new but although interesting. At the end I have the feeling that this story is long for being a short; and needed a little bit more development.
Vera Maslow
Feb 05, 2014 Vera Maslow rated it really liked it
Interesting short story. I can see potential for some full novels here as I wanted to find out more of what was happening in the world the main character was summoned into.
Charlotte rated it really liked it
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Leilani rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2011
Mark Steven Thompson
Mark Steven Thompson rated it it was amazing
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Ted rated it it was amazing
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Oct 18, 2013
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Peter Tillman rated it it was amazing
Oct 31, 2016
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Dec 18, 2015
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Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a graduate of Clarion West. Her work has been short-listed for the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Sturgeon Award, and placed second in 2010's Million Writers Award. In addition to numerous publications in magazines and anthologies, Swirsky is the author of three short stories published as e-books, "Eros, Philia, Agape," "The Memory of ...more
More about Rachel Swirsky...

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