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Maiden, Mother, and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes is a Bedside Press anthology of new fantastical short fiction by trans women and trans feminine writers curated by celebrated poet and author Gwen Benaway.

Drawing on high fantasy and other genres of fantasy writing, Maiden, Mother, Crone is the first anthology by trans femme authors to explore the realms of magic, supernatura
Published 2018
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
I was provided a free copy of this by the publisher.

I've been in a reading slump these past couple...well, weeks, and anthologies are just not good to get you out of that. I learned. Which is why it took me rather long to read this. It's really good though, and I can recommend it to everyone who wants to get into more diverse Fantasy. There are a shit ton of trans (main)characters, otherwise queer characters, and just. I loved it. The stories were all good, even though, like with every anthology
This anthology of fantasy stories by trans femme writers was hit and miss for me, but there were a few stories that I loved. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ones by authors I already knew: Kai Cheng Thom and Casey Plett. But I also really liked "Undoing Vampirism" by Lilah Sturges and "Perisher" by Crystal Frasier. The editor introduces this book focusing on epic fantasy, but the stories I liked were the ones that did something different. Full review to come! ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
A big variety of tones and worlds. There's some D&D-esque shenanigans, some noir with a reluctant ghost and his killed detective team, a story about residential schools and dream magic, and some entirely unfamiliar worlds. They also vary in how much they centre around the character's trans identity or take that as a given. There are a couple f/f stories in here: they're actually back-to-back, and they both involve a woman searching for the antidote to a loved one's illness. I really liked both o ...more
Geneviève (thefreckledbookworm)
Bedside Press publishes books written by diverse authors (LGBTQ+, Indigenous voices, women, etc.), which is why I HAD to accept their offer to send me some of their books for a review. Thank you for reaching out to me through IG!

I was really looking forward to reading this anthology written by trans femmes / featuring trans femmes characters. However, I almost DNFed this book a couple of times. Some of the eleven stories where unmemorable, while some were so badly written (lack/wrong punctuatio
Anwen Hayward
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, anthology
There's lots of things to recommend this book. First and foremost, it gives a voice to people who are historically underrepresented in media and publishing, and that can only be a good thing. Some of the stories here are great, and I'd love to read full length novels of many of them (particularly Kai Cheng Thom's). The variety of representation and narrative is really interesting, too. There are myriad takes on the fantasy genre, from D&D style mages to 1940s Noir. There are stories which delve ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019s, canadiana
This is a powerhouse of a collection. As with all short story collections, some of them didn’t ring with me, but some absolute standouts will stick with me for a long time. My faves: “the vixen, with death perusing” by Izzy Wasserstein; “undoing vampirism” by Lilah Sturges; “I shall remain” by Kari Chang Thom; “dreamborn” by Kylie Ariel Bemis; “perisher” by Crystal Fraser. Yes, you read that right: almost half of the stories in this collection are my faves. I’m telling you: this is a powerhouse ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy, fantasy
I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Maiden, Mother, and Crone is a fantasy anthology comprised entirely of stories written by trans femme authors.

These are all powerful stories with trans women and femmes in the spotlight, giving them the primacy and the happy endings they deserve. The writing quality is high and the stories are wildly creative and original additions to a genre that was traditionally the territory of the white male. I very much prefer seeing strong women and diversit
Kara Babcock
I backed this on Kickstarter, but of course, then it sat on my shelf for a bit. Recently Gwen Benaway has been a prominent voice against Toronto Public Library allowing Meghan Murphy to host a talk at one of their branches. In following that news, I decided this was a good time to get to Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes.

I really wish I could gush about this book and say I loved it, because it’s so important to support trans voices and get more #ownvoices stories with trans rep out
Here are 11 stories featuring eleven trans protagonists who are more than their gender identity. Many of these stories are magical, written in unique ways or feature some incredible worldbuilding. You will find something for your tastes, whether it is vampires (Lilah Sturges), knights (Alexa Fae McDaniel), a more sci-fi twist (Kylie Ariel Bemis) or magical forests (Izzy Wasserstein). You can tell all the love and care that went into this collection.

Mountain Girl - Gwen Benaway:
This feels li
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

This was a great idea for an anthology, but unfortunately I just had trouble getting into most of the stories. As always there are some stories that are better than others, but with 11 stories packed into a 150 page book I didn't always feel like there was enough page space to fit enough exposition and character development to really make me feel attached to any particular protagonist. I would not call any of the stories bad though, and if you ar
Naava Kaiho
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, lgbtqia, 2019, arcs
I was given a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The anthology was quite uneven when it came to the stories in it. Some – like Forest's Edge – were absolutely and utterly stunning and made me wish for a full-length novel in that story's world. Some – like Perisher – made me want to skim what I was reading and skip entire paragraphs because I simply did not enjoy them. i shall remain was a peculiar read, something I greatly enjoyed even though it was, at times, odd. Oh, and D
Jadey (the Bookish)
Average rating: 3.55

Mountain God - Gwen Benaway ★★★☆☆
Sweet, but a bit little boring for my tastes.

Forest's Edge - Audrey Vest
Sweet, a little predictable but only because authors have been churning out het/cis fae stories for so long. It's about time we got one with gay AND trans rep!

The Vixen, With Death Pursuing ★★★½☆
I really liked the concept of this one. I think if it was developed a bit more so that I could root for the protagonist, I'd definitely have rated it more. I'd like a full-l
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this collection because I read Gwen Benaway’s work in a volume of Transcendent and now want to enjoy everything she’s written. I am so thankful for Maiden Mother Crone giving space for the stories that want to “explain” transness alongside the stories that are deep in metaphor alongside the stories that give identity just a slight mention. The variety of tone and diversity of authorship was also winning, and three of these stories I will especially be thinking about for years to come. Th ...more
This a fairly meh anthology :/

I appreciate that trans women get to just be heroines of fantasy stories -- that the stories aren't about their quests to transition -- but a lot of the stories in this collection just didn't feel that strong (though certainly, as with any anthology, some stories are stronger than others).
Artur Nowrot
Broadly speaking, the first half was quite rough, because mostly it contained a fairly stereotypical fantasy with elves, dwarves, bandits in the woods etc. But the second half picked up, the stories got more varied and broke out of the narrow definition of fantasy to do some really interesting stuff.

Personal highlights:
"The Knighting" by Alexa Fae McDaniel
"Undoing Vampirism" by Lilah Sturges
"Dreamborn" by Kylie Ariel Bemis
Grace W
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, speculative, i-own
As in all anthologies there are some stories that are stronger than others. Overall, though, I really loved these. It was so exciting to read exclusively Trans* stories set in fantastical worlds. A lot of these stories I would happily take full novels of.
Some of the short stories were well written and very interesting, while others were a bit poorly executed. What drew me to the fantasy short story collection to begin with was highlighting trans women/trans femmes voices.
As an anthology, the works are of course of varying styles and quality. For the most part the stories were excellent and of very high quality, but there were a few stories with blatant errors or typos that I was surprised got past editing. I hope they are caught before final release, as I was reading an ARC. But I definitely found a few authors who's work I'll look out for in the future.

As for the content of the stories, there were some standard swords-and-sworcery fantasy tales which I get kind
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Eleven short stories, some with familiar fantasy tropes like mercenaries, warrior women, mages and evil kings. Others, like Crystal Frasier's Perisher, have newer plots: the protagonist 'reads' corpses with the help of the ghost of a man she killed.

All the stories have twists and insights based on trans femme experiences. Experiences which can be as alienating as any fairy kidnapping or dragon. All affirm trans femme identity and deal with the magical properties of transformation.

There are many
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really nice read! The biggest criticisms have to do with some sloppy editing and pretty drastic variance in quality story to story, but some great gems in here.

Fantasy seems to be an afterthought for a lot of my trans friends who are big readers, as they tend toward sci-fi & bio-hacking metaphors and the future as the utopian refuge; I think fantasy, as a kind of vast field of nostalgia or timelessness (or perhaps futuristic return to pastoral & medieval sensibilities) doesn’t always recognize
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I’m typically happy with a short story collection if it has two or three stories I can’t put down, and in this collection there were several. I had to leave bookmarks for myself so that I could go back and tally them for this review. In my opinion, things really pick up steam around the midpoint so if a reader is muddling through at the start, I strongly recommend just going out of order.

For starters, I’d read a much longer book version of “Undoing Vampirism” in a hot second. Unfortunately it’s
X. Marduk (Sorcerer of Tea)
I quite enjoyed this anthology, but some of the stories just weren't that amazingly executed. The very first story had a great idea, but didn't execute it well, and tried to fit far to much worldbuilding into a v ery small space. The result was a dry read that does not serve as a good introduction to this anthology. The idea was great, the quality just could've been better. Maybe a narrower focus would've helped. ...more
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, transgender
Although uneven in terms of quality, with a few stories that strayed a little too far from ‘fantastical’ for my tastes, the fact that a collection like Maiden, Mother, Crone is a collection that’s well worth the read.

What stood out most for me, and what I think distinguishes this from similar collections, is that while these are stories featuring transgender women, they are not necessarily about being transgender. In fact, gender is almost an afterthought in many of the stories, something mentio
Corrie DeWolfe (Corrie's Book Nook)
I received an eARC of Maiden, Mother and Drone: Fantastical Trans Femmes, from Diamond Book Publishers via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Content Warning
self-harm (blood magic), transphobic attitudes

I was super duper excited for this anthology! Fantastical short stories about trans femme heroes written by trans femme warriors! Sign me up please!

Every short deals with the emotions of the trans femme, and the judgments cast upon them in society. Even in made up worlds. Intolerance
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have truly, always enjoyed fantasy stories. And as I got older I realized how white, straight, and cisgender the lens was that these stories were being told through. Which is one reason I so enjoyed this anthology. Every story had trans characters. And in a lot of the stories, their being trans lead them to a life of greater freedom. Which was so wonderful to read, since usually trans stories tend to be tragic. And it’s not that tragedies don’t have an important place in society, but it was ni ...more
Warnings: misgendering and transmisia, mentions of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, animal death

Rep: All stories are OwnVoices and have trans women main characters; some stories have sapphic main and/or secondary characters; one story has an asexual and trans woman secondary character

This anthology of fantasy stories, all involving trans women characters, is a fantastic collection of tales, in which the women all have different roles and varied outlooks. There are stories about women figh
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m giving this book 4.25 stars - most of the stories were good to great, and there are one or two that were pretty bad,. However, a few were awesome and I’m looking up their authors to see what else is written.

I love that this book was published!

One of my favorites is Freeing the Bitch (by Ellen Mellor); she used D&D/Tolkien features to write a found family in a wonderful way. I hope there’s more!

Dreamborn by Kylie Ariel Bemis is a heavy, powerful story. It features aliens (although it was th
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A truly unique and clever short story collection. I loved the idea of transwomen telling trans stories in a fantasy context. Each story was it's own and explored its trans characters in different ways. All the characters were shaped by being trans but that wasn't their only defining characteristic. Which is something that I can only imagine someone who is trans deals with on a daily basis.

My favorite stores were the ones that subverted my expectations. I also really admired the stories that crea
Lucy Goodfellow
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This own-voices short story anthology was well-intentioned but ultimately it tried to do too much.
I think the collection would have benefited from the caveat of having all the submissions being set in one world as the expositional nature of some stories added to my low rating.

One story that I particularly enjoyed was 'Forest's Edge' By Audrey Vest. But, unfortunately, the others lacked the narrative hook needed to kee
Rachael Arsenault
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this collection - there was a wonderful diversity of stories, and it's refreshing to read so many pieces by and about trans femmes. The formatting and editing was a bit rough in a couple places, and there was one story I personally could not get into at all, but overall I loved this. Stand-out pieces are "The Vixen, With Death Pursuing" by Izzy Wasserstein, "Undoing Vampirism" by Lilah Sturges, "i shall remain" by Kai Cheng Thom, and "Dreamborn" by Kyle Ariel Bemis. Defi ...more
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Gwen Benaway is a bisexual feminist Gemini trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published three collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead and Passage, and Holy Wild. Her fourth collection of poetry, Aperture, is forthcoming from Book*hug in Spring 2020. Her writing has been published in many national publications, including CBC Arts, Maclean’s Magazine, and the Globe and Mail. ...more

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