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3.32  ·  Rating details ·  551 ratings  ·  190 reviews
A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the quee
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by Amulet Books
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  551 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it

September Tier List Video is up! Check it out for all my September reads!
The Written Review

Tanya the Tavern Wench has always known where life would take her.

Her guardian has been training her from the moment she was informally adopted to taking over the tavern.

And honestly? She's loved it.

There's nothing more satisfying than a well-ran tavern - the food served hot an' fresh, the ale cool an' delicious, the barfights entertaining but nondamaging...she could go on (and on) (and on).

Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is surprisingly promising debut and there are too many positive attributes made me enjoy it mostly.

Here are the things which truly attracted my attention:

Tanya is strong, brave and adamant character you proudly call her a real heroine! She earned the trust of her guardian with her hard work and after he suddenly passes away without leaving a will pointing the next proprietor of the tavern, she is determined enough to talk with Queen to change things because she has every right and ev
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Cover > Book.

The premise for Wench was a good one, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up to expectations.

I was expecting something akin to perhaps Daughter of the Pirate King, but this one lacks that level of cleverness and the humor misses most of the time.

The magical system is fine, nothing special, nothing atrociously bad. But the story, which could have been a fun, rip-roaring adventure, is more of a dull slog peppered with moments of obnoxiousness.

Part of the problem is that the heroi
On my blog.

Actual rating 3.5

Rep: bi mc, wlw li, gay side characters

CWs: magic involving self harm

Galley provided by publisher

If I wanted to compare Wench to any other fantasy novel, I would choose to compare it to The Princess Bride. It has that same sort of irreverence and light-heartedness to it, but with a darker undercurrent. And that is primarily what I loved about it.

In the story, we follow Tanya, a tavern wench, whose guardian dies suddenly and then she loses her tavern when the Queen
Renaissance Kate
Setting aside at 53%.

This book had a lot of promise, but sadly the pacing and flow were too bizarre for me. So much happens and so many characters were introduced in the first half that just as I would get accustomed to what was happening, it would go in a different direction. This made the story less engaging and the characters difficult to connect with.

That being said, the world and magic of this story are fun, so it might just be that this book isn't for me right now. You might enjoy it if y
Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)
dnf - 35%

I wanted to enjoy Wench a lot more than I did. The premise was excellent, the cover was fun, and I'm always up for an unapologetically feminist story! Unfortunately, the strange pacing of the book prevented me from connecting with the characters and plot.

Tanya could have been a fun main character. The motivation of going on a quest to save her tavern was one that I was excited to read. Instead, I found it lacking. Her caretaker dies in the first scene, and pretty soon she's on her adve
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan is a fun younger YA feminist fantasy that follows a character type that we rarely ever get to see lead their own story in the genre. Tanya is a tavern wench. She may not be the chosen one, a princess, an assassin, or a thief, but she is very good at what she does and finds herself on an unexpected adventure to see the queen anyway when her guardian, the tavern's proprietor, dies without a will and without na
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I thought I would really enjoy this book but there was just way too much going on and not enough interesting characters.

The magic in this book was interesting enough but I never really found myself getting curious about it and wanting to know more. The plot was packed with too much and I felt like I simultaneously slogged and raced through it. None of the characters were memorable and I didn't rea
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Jun 18, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, netgalley
DNF @ 35%

I guess this was supposed to be a fierce feminist fantasy but instead what I trudged through were events pulled along at an insane pace, a plethora of forgettable characters, and really none of what the blurb touts this book as having.
Apr 16, 2022 added it
Shelves: read-2022
I enjoyed the first part of the story, but the second part lost me. The MC went from a different take on tropes to a Special, Coveted One. Plus the romance seemed to come from nowhere at the end of the book.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it did not like it
I wanted to love this book but I just didn't. The concept of the fantasy world was cool, but I didn't really like the characters and found the story overly confusing for the most part. While twists and turns in a plot are fun, this wasn't so much twists and turns as it was a zigzag.
Manon the Malicious
I was provided an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Tanya is a tavern wench. She does a little bit of everything, cooking, cleaning, wrestling with unruly customers and so much more. That is until everything falls apart and she has to leave her tavern and finds herself on a series of adventures.

I'm not going to lie, I expected quite a lot from this book. I had seen some promotions of it and it seemed right up my alley.
In the beginning, I was quite into it but as things went on,
Lindsay Baker
This book was frustrating to read. Whoever proofread it needs a good spanking, because it's littered with mistakes - a lot of missing words, and occasionally the wrong word used entirely. When I'm in the flow of a story, I don't want to have to regularly stop to try to figure out what a sentence was supposed to say!

There are problems with the writing itself, too. In a world with no electricity or mechanisation, let alone machines that can fly, why would one character accuse another of "trying to
Katya de Becerra
Eva B.
This sounds SO GOOD!!
It's also got Big Hostess Quickly Vibes, which I'm so here for!
Wendy VanDellon
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy from Amulet Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

As a foundling, Tanya is taken in by Froud who offers her a roof and a purpose. Tanya’s purpose becomes the running of the tavern, the Smiling Snake, particularly as Froud’s health declines. But when Froud dies, Tanya finds that the Smiling Snake has not been willed to her and the Queen’s corpsmen offer a writ of ownership that takes away the tavern while all of her supplies are reappropriated. Tanya sees
A Tavern wench sets off to reclaim her tavern.
Along the way, there are highway robbers, wizards-in-training, priestesses of death, moody horses, conmen, guards, an ice queen, and a volcano.

Kaplan plays on the various tropes of fantasy (including Shrek and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings) with a female voice at the helm.

As a fantasy/underdog lover, I really wanted to like this book more. It was fast-paced, adventure, snarky commenting characters, queer representation, fantasy, and fun.
However, th
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a delightful book! Wench is a classic heroine's quest freshened with feisty, feminist values. I look forward to recommending this to the children I work with. ...more
Feb 06, 2021 rated it liked it
The book was kind of all over the place and uneven, and I wanted to like it more, but I enjoyed it.
Alex Nonymous
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 12-and-13
Thanks to Edelweiss+ & ABRAMS for providing an advanced copy of Wench in exchange for an honest review.

Wench was such a fun read. I've been reading a lot of fantasy-adventure YA stories recently but Wench still manages to stand out with a unique magic system I've never seen anything even remotely similar too. My main concern going into a book claiming to be feminist looking to flip the script on stereotypical fantasy bar wenches was that making the MC appear strong would come at the cost of ster
brooklyn ‼️
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2021-pub
3.5 stars

Wench is a funny, magical, feminist novel that hooks you right from the first sentence. I love the day-in-the-life style opening of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Kaplan’s world building and the strong independent nature of the novel’s heroine.

- Jana (even though she’s not the heroine) is so freaking cool I want to be her, I want to meet her. The first time we truly meet her she is humming, swinging a sword, and dancing around a bunch of hostages. That image perfectly enca
Sue (BeautyBookCorner)
Feb 05, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF — This started off so strong. The magic is really interesting. The magic system isn’t really explained in detail but its written in such a fun way. I especially love the idea of magical runoff happening in random places because of overuse of magic by untrained magicians.

I love our female protagonist’s personality. She’s funny, independent, and fierce. She takes control over her situations with determination. However, the strong character and magic wasn’t enough to keep my attention. By the
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
You can see my full review, favorite quotes, and an interview with the author on my blog We Write at Dawn!

The first half of this book is amazing. I couldn't put it down and kept pushing myself to read one more chapter because I had to know what was going to happen next! As the plot progressed though, things started to fall apart for me though I love how the book ended!

Tanya is a take no sh*t, tough girl who just wants one thing - not to lose her tavern and her home. This leads her on a journey a
Brandy {The Review Booth}
I enjoyed the magic in Wench – the simple fact that it was fraught with amateur magicians made it laughable and believable. I particularly liked the side-effects of practicing magic without knowing the consequences is known as junkoff. If you cast a spell to procure an item (gold, water, food, etc.), it has to come from somewhere – the junkoff is the consequence of the magician not planning that part out. That is precisely what Tanya excels at (besides running an efficient tavern) – organization ...more
Pine Reads Review
“Whoever bears that quill is bound to be very important in this court…. Are you ready to be important, Tanya of Griffin’s Port?”

Tavern wench Tanya has been running her tavern since she was tiny and could do it with her eyes closed. When her guardian dies, Tanya expects to take over ownership of the tavern and for everything else to remain the same. But without signed papers that leave the tavern to her, Tanya could lose it all. So she does what any self-respecting tavern wench would: she embarks
Musing of Souls
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
A detailed review for the book is present on Musing Of Souls
Thank you so much Amulet Books, Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Book Tours for giving me an opportunity to read this wonderful book!

With much complex plot and so many different characters, that too, all perfect, Wench did not disappoint me at all. Tanya has been a Tavern Wench since she could notice the world around but when the owner dies, she is to become the proprietress of 'The Smiling Snake'. But, when the Queen's corpsmen take away h
Bookish Selkie
3.5- Tanya, a courageous tavern wench, is shocked when her guardian dies and hasn’t left a will naming her as the tavern proprietor. The tavern is promptly repossessed and Tanya sets out on a journey to see the Queen in hopes that she might grant her the building’s deed. However, the pathway to the castle is anything but smooth. In her travels, Tanya discovers a strange magical object that just might give her the leverage she needs. Undaunted by challenges, Tanya encounters suspicious characters ...more
Dec 05, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF @ 29%
Nothing wrong with this one, but for now it failed to keep my attention.

I loved the setup of Wench and Tanya, the no-nonsense protagonist who is determined to get her tavern back at all costs.

From the very beginning the plot was fast-paced, and scenes, moods and allegiances changed quickly. It was not particularly funny or surprising, but while I did find it entertaining, somehow I was not especially deeply invested. I think ultimately things just happened a little too fast, and I didn
Erin Cataldi
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021
Great potential, but honestly it was too meandering and complicated for a feminist teen fantasy. When Tanya's guardian (the owner of the tavern she works at) unexpectedly die - Corpsmen under seize the tavern and she has nowhere to go. She's only seventeen but the best years of her life were spent working there, brewing beer, breaking up barfights, cooking, and cleaning. She's at a loss for what to do when she decides that she will accompany the contingent of men who requisitioned her bar and st ...more
michelle (magical reads)
dnf @ 18%

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

rep: bisexual protagonist, wlw love interest, gay side characters
cw: magic involving self harm

There's nothing really wrong with this book; it's more a case of "right book, wrong time" because I'm just really not in the mood for a book that feels like it's going to meander towards its goal. The writing is good, and the book itself seems to be shaping u
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Maxine Kaplan lives in her hometown of Brooklyn, NY, where she caters to the whims of a dimwitted, but soulful cat. Her books are THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL and WENCH. Follow Maxine on Twitter @MaxineGKaplan

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