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From Under the Mountain

(Trident Chronicles #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  47 reviews
As the second child of the Aridan imperial family, nineteen-year-old Guerline knows exactly what is expected of her: be unobtrusive, be compliant, and do not fall in love with her low-born companion, Eva. She has succeeded at only two of those.

But before her feelings for Eva can become a point of contention for the royal house, Guerline's calm and narrow life is ripped awa
Paperback, 488 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by REUTS Publications (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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After a very long stint in being burned by independent literature, I'd initially been a little skeptical. It was the first book chosen for the Asexual Book Club, and I found myself pleasantly surprised.

What's this? Dark-skinned people? Alphabet soup people? PEOPLE WHO ARE BOTH?! What nonsense is this?! Glorious nonsense, actually. I'd been bombarded with literature that was nothing more than the rape fantasies of the fedora-wearing crowd, and I wanted to cry from relief not only because this wa
J.M. Frey
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you like the sort of multi-POV, intricately plotted and world-built multi-generational fantasy novels popularized by George RR Martin, then I have the book for you!

"From Under the Mountain" follows the fallout when a great evil escapes from it's sealed prison, and the rot and desiccation it spreads across the fantasy map. The story follows some of the most powerful witches in the world, along with the Empress, and how this slow-creeping horror affects them and the people they are responsible.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fucking brilliant. A fantasy novel that kicks ass at world-building and wraps up the story in one book. No need for a trilogy when it's great writing. Loved its sense of real diversity.

ETA: Did a re-read to read the prequel-ish that came out. Loved that prequel and loved this even more. Even though I sort-of remembered what happened, I still was super worried and upset about the characters.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
A belated review:

First of all, for anyone reading for the Gay (as I was), (view spoiler).

I think mostly I was vaguely disappointed by this. It was fine, but I'd been hoping extremely hard for a gay fantasy epic as well written as Captive Prince, but with lesbians, and that's definitely not what I got. The worldbuilding's interesting, the plot's perfectly good, but the characters are...kind of one-dimensional? All of their motivations and thought processe
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I read the prequel of From Under The Mountain, which is called The Traitor’s Tunnel and immediately fell in love with the universe. Here is my review of the prequel. I knew I wanted to read more and luckily the first book of the main series, had already been released.

It’s #ownvoices for asexual and transgender representation.


While reading this book, I felt completely immersed in the world. That is how good the worldbuilding i
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
the first half of this was a mess i wish we had gotten more of Guerline's pov instead of basically every other person in this world. the end was compelling but i have pretty mixed feelings overall ...more
Alison Butler
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is somewhere between a 2.5 and a 3. I really, really wanted to like this, but it felt more like an overdone first draft than a completed novel. It came together more or less in the last hundred pages, which is less than a quarter of the book. Up until then, it's a mess of too many unnecessary characters and POV's, a protagonist that I felt like I barely knew, and dozens of short, inner monologue-heavy scenes.

There's little to no character development among any of the characters. The p
Kisa Whipkey
There is so much to love about this novel that I almost don’t know where to start. But first, let me say that although Amazon and other retailers seem to be primarily classing this as f/f romance, it is not. There is romance, yes, and it does feature a beautifully rendered f/f love story, but this book is, in fact, a brilliant example of dark fantasy done well.

Spivey establishes her prowess in the genre right from the first page, where we’re introduced to protagonist Guerline standing over the d
Claudie Arseneault
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, asexual
If you have been looking for classic epic fantasy with large casts of characters, but LGBTQ+, then FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN for you. A young empress inherited her throne through sudden and suspicious circumstances, and must juggle with the politics of her council and a great evil aiming to break free.

Guerline is by far my favourite character in this, perhaps because her strength has nothing to do with magic. Or her throne, really. She's surrounded by powerful beings yet holds more courage, is mo
Rose Sinclair
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Let’s be real here, reviews are hard. Or at least for me they are. They feel even harder when I have to describe something like From Under The Mountain. It starts slow like all of this genre does, but then becomes a friend. The world and the characters bit by bit reveal themselves to you. And my main questions while reading become ‘what are they up to’ and ‘are they okay’?

Another thing I’ll forever be grateful for is there is no shock for shock value here. I got to enjoy the diversity without ha
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great fantasy world! Magic, witches, shape-shifters, dragons, and a dark force! Oh my! I loved following Guerline on her journey from uncertain, scared girl to Empress. The romance was touching and real, but didn't take over the story...the fight to save the world, the struggle to be heard.
The witches were fantastic! Four sisters, four clans all having their own magic and place in the world.
But for me? I love a deliciously evil character. Ianthe gave me chills.
So many scenes will stay tucke
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtplus
This book took me way too long to read. It's well written and I enjoyed parts of this book. Guerline was certainly my favorite character, but there just wasn't enough of her for my taste. There were so many different pov's that I was confused more than once, and I found myself bored from it. I like the occasional fantasy novel, but From Under The Mountain was just not for me. If you're more into fantasy than I am, which wouldn't be hard, this book is definitely for you. ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it

You’re looking for an epic fantasy with an abundance of diverse creatures
You’re all about the adventure
Self discovery is your game, romance is second
You’ve been hungering for an LGBT fantasy because let’s face it, they’re like unicorns. Actually, there are probably more unicorns than gay people in fantasy.

Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I can't wait to be part of the book release fashion show this January. To find out more about the book, and the show, check out our IndieGoGo Campaign: ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
From Under the Mountain immediately hooked me with its characters and world building. I was very excited to read a fantasy with queer characters and characters of color, and it delivered on that front.

I did find it a bit frustrating because so many great ideas introduced in the book seemed hastily or barely explored. I would have loved to see more detailed character development from Guerline. Evadine's story was also disappointing in that it was one of the most intriguing parts of the story, but
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, fiction, ace
I very much enjoyed this from a world building perspective. I'm very much looking forward to the reading the sequel.
A few things bothered me about this though. Will try to talk about them both without spoilers.
Firstly, this book was on a list of books with ace rep and the ace rep was so slight (and I don't even know for sure if the characters I think were ace actually were) that it may as well not have been there at all. Side character rep is great, but I was looking for more than just a charac
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it

It would have been a four or five star book but unfortunately I was unable to connect with the characters until near the end.

I sat for a while after reading it and decided that even though I had trouble connecting with the characters the book was still an absolute joy to read and reading it has put in a good mood.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sydney Richardson
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From Under the Mountain is a stimulating dark fantasy novel – filled with brilliant, whimsical writing and political (and somewhat religious) subtext I found to be quite riveting. I was enthralled with Cait’s distinct voice and level of detail – down to the items they wore, the rooms/caverns they would enter – everything was elaborately portrayed.

When I first was reading this story, I was really excited to get to know Guerline’s character. While there were multiple POVs and distinctive charact
Oct 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Not my thing, put it down and gave it away after about 150 pages. Maybe it gets better later, but overall I had a lot of small grievances with the book and nothing about it grabbed my interest.
The writing is fine, but the book reads like YA, which I do not care for.
I understand the desire to write f/f romance set in a world without homophobia, but found the way it was implemented in this case bizarre and aggravating. The book establishes that homophobia does not exist and then proceeds to replic
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this for its original storyline, which blended an unusual conception of magic with a young, newly crowned empress trying to find her footing as a leader. It has strong female characters, a mix of different skin tones (though I couldn't figure out if this corresponded with class or region or was just kind of random), kids declaring their gender as a matter of course. The worldbuilding in terms of political structures and how magic works was a little complicated but not too much for me, ...more
Michelle Pease
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cait Spivey

I'll be honest: I'm not much of a fantasy reader, let alone a "high-fantasy" reader (a term that I had to google when first reading summaries of FUTM). I was excited to read this book from a friend I've known for years, but I was also worried that I might find the genre boring or over my head.

That was before I devoured this book in a three day period (the bulk of the reading done on the second day, when I read from page 70 to page 350... whew!).

I'll admit that it took quite a few cha
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
So I really was looking forward to this book. Knowing it was on the Asexual book club list, I expected more sexual diversity than your typical fantasy novel and was not disappointed. Except I also was? Being that it's stated in the bio that the author is asexual, I was definitely awaiting a prominent asexual character to make an appearance, but that never happened. As far as I could tell, none of the characters were, or at least not that it was mentioned or really implied. I've heard tell that t ...more
Mads Whitmarsh-Jones
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Longer review to come, but in summation I need everyone I know to read this, I want more books in this universe, and I officially have a book hangover. I can't believe it's over.


Readers, it has happened at last: I have read Cait Spivey’s fantasy epic From Under the Mountain. Now that I have done so, I simply cannot recommend it enough. In fact, I haven’t had this intense of a book hangover since I finished Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, after which I was listless for a wh
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book about two weeks ago after having received an advanced review copy from the publisher and I have been procrastinating writing a review because I really love it and I want to do it right.
From the beginning, you have a very clear hierarchy of the main characters. The parents-emperor and empress-, the brother -heir- and Guerline. Though Guerline is part of the royal family she isn’t really visible and it is very clear that she will never get a claim on the throne, and she likes it.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
If you like books with shape shifters, witches, dragons and zombies ; then you will love this book. It has many mysteries and adventures, it has diverse characters and it's a multiple POV story, however, it does take a bit to realise when the point of view changes from one character to another or who it is. However, it concentrates mainly on the Guerline and her journey of becoming a ruler while overcoming the death of her parents and brother while they still haunt her dreams, and we are able to ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
How do I start this review?

I guess I'll start with the characters. I loved them! But there were so many that sometimes I just couldn't follow the plot. Now don't get me wrong, having a lot of characters in your novel isn't something bad, the problem were the POV changes. I'm pretty sure every major character (which are a lot) got at least one chapter of their POV which makes it difficult to connect to and get to know all of them because there simply isn't enough time for that. It's interesting t
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a special read for many reasons, the most important of which is that Spivey is one of my best friends. Getting to read her published book was SO COOL. Also cool? Making it into the book dedication. Making a book dedication is Leo-winning-an-Oscar levels of awesome.

So there's your disclaimer: I'm *slightly* biased.

But only slightly. Because this is an excellent fantasy with Martin-level politicking and world building, with a hundred times more daring than ASOIAF. The heroine, Guerl
Samantha Rodriguez
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Let me make one thing clear. If you enjoy fantasy books that have feature a woman/woman relationship as their core romance, then this book is absolutely great and you will enjoy it immensely. It’s an excellent woman lead fantasy that does a good job building a wonderful world around even more wonderful characters.

Cait Spivey has painted a beautiful world, filling it with a well set political scene. It’s rare to read a fantasy book that feels like a chess game, and it’s delightfully refreshing t
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C.M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN and the gothic mystery THE LONGING AND THE LACK. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the rules and ramifications of magic in his own works—and as a trans, panromantic asexual, he's committed to queering his favorite genres. In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will alw ...more

Other books in the series

Trident Chronicles (3 books)
  • From Out Of The Forest (Trident Chronicles, #2)
  • The Traitor's Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella)

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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