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No Man of Woman Born

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  93 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Destiny sees what others don't.

A quiet fisher mourning the loss of xer sister to a cruel dragon. A clever hedge-witch gathering knowledge in a hostile land. A son seeking vengeance for his father's death. A daughter claiming the legacy denied her. A princess laboring under an unbreakable curse. A young resistance fighter questioning everything he's ever known. A little gir
ebook, 243 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Acacia Moon Publishing
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Brigid Keely One of the characters is gender queer and uses they pronounces on some days when they don't feel male or female; at least one secondary character uses…moreOne of the characters is gender queer and uses they pronounces on some days when they don't feel male or female; at least one secondary character uses they pronouns.(less)

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Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an anthology of fantasy stories where the main characters are transgender or nonbinary people. Some of the stories use neo-pronouns (for example, xie instead of he/she and xer instead her/him) which took a few pages to get used to but I quite liked it by the end. In some ways it was easier for me than using them/they pronouns because I have a constant grammar battle in my head. I think this is an incredibly valuable book because there is nothing quite like the feeling of isolation of nev ...more
Shira Glassman
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rarely do I run across a book so needed as No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll. Uplifting representation for nonbinary (and binary trans as well) characters in fairy tale and epic fantasy settings, by a nonbinary author is something I see people asking rainbow book blogs for practically daily. Plus, it has the bonus of being a collection of shorter fiction instead of one long novel, which means there are more chances for each individual reader to find something to satisfy them, as well as more c ...more
Xan West
This collection grabbed my by the heart and by the throat. It was an intense and emotional read for me, and I'm so grateful it exists in the world. These are stories that are very clearly written for trans and/or non-binary readers, and they made me cry in the best way.

Read my full review on my blog.

Content Warnings:
There are content warnings at the beginning of the book, listed by story. Some general ones here: (view spoiler)
Brigid Keely
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I should note that I received this as a review copy, with no compensation for my review.

This is an anthology of reworked short fairy tales/fantasy stories about dragons and swords stuck wantonly into stones and prophecies, most of which are gender based. Mardoll is bisexual, on the ace-spectrum, transgender, and autistic and these stories very much reflect xer lived experience, assuming that their lived experience also had dragons and prophecies and polyamorous warrior clans, etc. Xie is also a
(Note: I bought this book with my own money, and then downloaded it from NetGalley too because why not.)

review queued on blog for tomorrow, will post it here after.
Elle Maruska
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh this was such a wonderful collection of fairy tales!! Each story deals with prophecy--a common trope in fantasy--but in new and wonderful ways that play with genre conventions. There is so much love and respect for the characters in each story; no one suffers unnecessarily, there's no hurt just for the sake of hurting, and while each story does address issues of violence, death, and cruelty it's never gratuitous. Characters are given the space to complete their arcs without the unfortunately ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
this was delightful little book. all stories are good, but my favorite was the one that give the book its title, "no man of woman born". the last one also had me grinning at my kindle. 4.5 stars.
Nicole Field
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is So Important. I feel that it should be required reading in primary- and high schools.

The stories themselves aren't at all complex. At heart, every single one of them are a fantasy story involving a prophesy that has something to do with a character who is a gender outside of what they were assigned at birth. They were so obviously written with a trans audience in mind rather than a cis one that my heart sang.

Although every single book in this collection was a standout success, I h
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I recorded the audiobook. But, if you don't already know, that takes a LONG time with all the editing required -- so I really wouldn't have done it unless I genuinely enjoyed the stories. My rating is both biased and honest. :)

These fantasy stories feature transgender and nonbinary characters dealing with gendered (and therefore potentially subvertible) prophecies. Includes individual trigger warnings, so you can listen to / read each one at a time that's right for you.

Ana is a marve
Beautiful, thoughtful, timely, and so very necessary. It is impossible to overstate how powerful it is, seeing oneself represented in fiction for the first time—not as the butt of a joke or a tragic subplot, but as the hero, overcoming dragons and tyrants and evil spells through courage and cunning.
Includes notes on neopronouns and how to avoid misgendering, for the sake of readers for whom this is new territory; but this is not another book explaining queer identities to the curious cishet cro
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
7 short stories who deal with the prophecies' limits when it comes to gender in fantasy.
It was a delightful read who explores gender identity, we need more stories about genderqueer people in fantasy.
Rowan MacBean
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I. Love. This. Book. Give me all the trans/enby characters beating the bad guys because they aren’t what the bad guy expected. I already loved the trope of gender-specific prophecies being beaten by loopholes; now I love it even more.
Reading Lit
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and engaging fantasy fromm Ana Mardoll. This is a book that does credit to the genre and I especially enjoyed getting the context of the author's thoughtful introduction.
Andria Potter
No Man of Woman Born. The title is what caught my eye, it was catchy and interesting and sounded like the kind of thing I would read. Then I realized it was a collection of short stories, and while I’m not normally one for Anthologies, I definitely had to read this. It was exactly what I hoped for; true love, heroes, girls turned boys, boys turned girls, dragons, magic, witches…it was an amazingly, awesome experience reading this book.

I wish to thank the publisher for letting me have a copy of
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This felt so incredibly kind to me. It's not that all the stories take place in societies/cultures that widely understand and accept trans and nonbinary folks, but more that the narration always affirms them. It uses correct pronouns and names for trans and nonbinary protagonists all the time (even when other characters don't know these), and in the case when another character comes out to the protagonist, the protagonist asks and promptly changes pronouns and titles for the character in questio ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The hubs and I had a conversation the other day about Sigourney Weaver's role in Alien. It was my position that Ripley was written in such a way that the gender of the actor wouldn't have mattered. The character and the story were strong enough on their own that acknowledging gender would have been unnecessary and would likely have been a distraction. He disagreed and pointed to the scenes with the kid as evidence that a female would be better to perform those scenes.

o.0 seriously?

This book is
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you've ever wanted your fairy-tales to be queerer, especially more trans, this is the book for you.

Every short story centers around the idea of trans people, non-binary and binary, being loopholes for prophecies because the prophecy has weird gendered language.

Usually I'd go through each story of an anthology and give a short summary, but I'm not going to do that this time. Why?

1. All stories were 4 stars or higher, which is a rarity for me. Usually there's one story I really like, one I hat
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally some tales I can call my own

I have always known I wasnt a girl. As a child this was a shameful secret, the knowledge rejected by the adults around me, who pushed me unrelenting ly to try and make me be natural.

Finding the right words as an adult for who I am, has been a revelation.

Finding fairytales that reflect me, and my community has been a joy. Ana has crafted beautiful stories, along the recognisable fairy tale lines but made them real for people like me. The tales themselves are we
E.M. Neftelberg
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a delightful read. The prose is smooth and beautiful, the characters full of life, and the entire project was crafted with love that you can sense on every page. I did get tripped up on some unfamiliar pronouns, but that's totally on me - that just means we need more stories that have them, and if they come from Ana Mardoll, I will definitely be picking up copies.

There wasn't a single main character whose story I didn't enjoy throughout this entire book. Each one of them is honorabl
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn in by the premise because prophecy loopholes are always delightful. And as someone who is new to understanding the world of gender pronouns, I was looking forward to learning how to write more inclusively and to introduce my brain to thinking in less rigidly binary ways. This anthology was a total success by both measures, but really the main takeaway is that these stories are delightful. They are all so different and Ana Mardoll creates huge lush worlds in just a few pages. I was ra ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really fun collection of fairy tale and fantasy stories about trans people and gendered prophecies. If your spell specifies that "the princess" will fall asleep when she pricks her finger with a spindle, what happens when the royal kid turns out to be genderfluid? And if you're an evil king who "no man born of woman" can kill, then every woman, child, and enby who can hold a sword is going to be out to get you, as well as anybody who can skirt that "of woman born" loophole.

Highly reco
K.B. Rainwater
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short fantasy fiction at its finest

A note of caution: The neopronouns can be a bit jarring, since they're unfamiliar; but you get used to them after a while.
I loved every one of these stories, and was relieved to get to the end only because it was already an hour past my bedtime, and I wouldn't otherwise have been able to put it down. This book was everything I never knew I needed. The subversion of prophecy was spot on, and I loved the settings. Truly amazing tales that resonate with the reader
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mardoll’s fairy-tale retellings are hella satisfying, with a focus on magical validation of gender identity. Prophecies are fulfilled by trans characters instead of c-sections, and it’s great. The writing flows nicely, apart from neopronoun use which I need the help getting used to anyway, and this indie-published book has about the same number of misused homonyms as your average mainstream publication. I would rate this 100% worth the buy and I fully intend to push it on my friends.
Moss Aphelion
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am beyond grateful that this book exists. That there is fantasy for and by and about trans people. That it has a variety of characters with a variety of pronouns. That it is all Content Warned for appropriately.

I'm just very happy to have read a collection of stories the re-conceptualize the fairy tale fantasy myths of my childhood.

(I feel like this isn't coming across enthusiastic enough. It's just cause I'm sleep deprived. 'cause I stayed up late reading.)
Lincoln  Guerra
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a young enby person, it was extremely uplifting to see characters like me in my favorite genre. The few fiction books about trans characters I've seen are realistic fiction, and while that's fine and valuable, I've really been missing characters like me in fantasy. This book is extremity well written and flips outdated tropes on their heads with a precise-ness and energy that's just so satisfying. Thank you, Ana Mardoll, for making me feel seen
Jennifer Linsky
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite delightful, and filling a much-needed-to-be-filled niche. I would love to see any and all of these tales expanded upon, enlarged to become books in their own right; particularly those which left me saying, "Yes? And then what happened?"

A bit more explanation than just how to pronounce the neopronouns, however, would have been welcome. What do they designate? How am I to understand what the people using them are saying about their selves, their identities?
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, lgbtqa
This collection of short fantasy stories starring transgender and non-binary characters gives me the warm fuzzies. The variety of stories told is impressive and a credit to Mardoll. My one regret is that some of these stories aren't fleshed out into larger novels. I loved these characters and wanted to spend more time with them.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ana Mardoll's No Man of Woman Born is such a delightful read! The way that xie weaves xer stories is enchanting and written with such tenderness and warmth, which I found quite lovely. I liked all the stories in this anthology, but I was especially fond of King's Favor, Daughter of Kings and The Wish-Giver.

Definitely a book I will be reading over and over again.
Jennie Vance
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an imaginative collection of short stories centered on characters that are trans and/or nonbinary. They were all really good and I enjoyed getting a perspective on the fantasy genre that I wasn't used to. (Although that's my fault for not seeking more of those stories out!) My favorite story was xer take on Sleeping Beauty, but I am also a sucker for fairy tale adaptations!
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Taken apart, I enjoyed most of these stories and found some of them very affirming indeed. Taken together, the prophecy theme became frustratingly repetitive and even a bit rigid (although I did enjoy the way the last story subverted the book's own chosen trope).
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