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The Four Profound Weaves

(Birdverse)

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  266 reviews
Wind: To match one's body with one's heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun' do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Tachyon Publications
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Pei Yes! This was my first introduction to the Birdverse and there is plenty of context given.

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  524 ratings  ·  266 reviews


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Miranda Reads
description

Ahhhh....now, I don't know if it was just me but I felt lost from the start...and only got progressively more lost as the book went on.

From what I can tell, this book had two main perspectives - Uiziya e Lali and a nameless man - and they go on an adventure together.

Magic is dependent on weaving cloth and there's a pretty important plot of delivering a weave of death.

Annnnd...that's pretty much all I got from the book in terms of plot.

So, there is a lot thrown at you in the beginning and the
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Bogi Takács
I was a first reader of this as a manuscript and I loved it!! Awesome trans epic fantasy, carpets, bones :) Now I can finally add the book to Goodreads too!
_____
Source of the book: The author (who is my Spouseperson)
Para (wanderer)
ARC received from the publisher (Tachyon) in exchange for an honest review.
They were birds of bright fire that fell from the sky and cocooned me, until I could see and hear nothing except the warmth and the feathers enveloping me and the threads of the wind singing each to each until my whole skin was ignited by the sun, my body changing and changed by the malleable flame.
I have been familiar with R.B. Lemberg's works for a while - Geometries of Belonging and Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s
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Ari
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-print
A very complex first person narrative with deeply personal sentiments woven in. R. B. Lemberg gives us an OwnVoices story from the perspective of someone trans. We are dropped into a fantasy world with multiple cultures and beliefs with varying magic interspersed between. Four Profound Weaves is the type of book you could write entire English papers on given its depth, subject matter, and complicated core two characters.
While a wonderfully put together book; I personally found the writing style
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Roxie |The Book Slayer| Voorhees
"The desert had revealed itself to me. And everything was made of death."

The Four Profound Weaves takes us to the desert sands around the city of Iyar to meet two elder changers. In this world Lemberg has built, gender roles are ridged and strictly defined. As a changer, a man that has gone through the transformation, A Nameless Man struggles to find his place among his people. He travels as nen-sasaïr with his friend, Uiziya, also a changer. They seek Uiziya's aunt, Benesret. They travel vi
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Lisa
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff
The most deeply satisfying book I’ve read in years. Solace, recognition, humanity, inspiration. I feel as if I’ve just returned from a spiritual quest.
Allison Hurd
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtqia-mc
I wanted to love this so much. And I thought, given the first couple chapters, I couldn't NOT love it. Alas, it turned quickly into tropes without exploring why someone would turn into this person, and when you're talking about self identity and use the word "profound" in your title, I kind of expect a profound look at self-identity. Is that a me problem? I'm not sure.

CONTENT WARNING: (view spoiler)

Things
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Izzy Wasserstein
I was fortunate enough to get to read this in advance of its release. It's a lovely, powerful, deeply moving story of aging, taking risks and embracing truly transformative change. Lemberg's genius for setting, their finely-crafted characters, and their tale full of grief and hope will all stay with me for a very long time. ...more
Jason Sanford
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s been a rough year. For far too many people in the world, it’s been a rough few decades capped by an even worse year. And when we say 2020 is painful what we’re really saying is that not only are we hurting, we’re being actively harmed in a time of crisis by those with power.

I’ve been reading as many stories as I can this year as a form of something I can’t even describe. As escape? Therapy? A search for wholeness or meaning? So many great stories have been published in 2020, almost as if li
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eriophora
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.
I sat alone in my old goatskin tent. Waiting, like I had for the last forty years, for Aunt Benesret to come back. Waiting to inherit her loom and her craft, the mastery of the Four Profound Weaves. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been sitting like this, and it was dark in the tent; I no longer knew day from night. When the faded red woven tapestry at the entrance shifted aside, I drew my breath sharply, waiting for my aun
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Bryn Greenwood
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review to come...
Sunny
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I do not get it!
Hsinju
Content warnings: heavy theme of trans rejection (misgendering, deadnaming, general transphobia), blood, death, bones, loss of spouse

“Are you ready to weave from death?” — Benesret


This story deserves a better rating for its theme and execution, but given that I was close to DNFing due to the heavy transphobia one of the main characters was going through, it was a very uncomfortable read that I simply couldn’t rate it higher.

The Four Profound Weaves is an adventure of Uiziya e Lali (63, trans) s
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Serena
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book touched on some themes I've been thinking about all these long months of quarantine: death, change, the desert. I have a rather grim outlook on what the future holds these days, so this book was like a balm, it made me think hard about hope too. I don't really know what to do with that at the moment, but I'm glad for it.
Having read some of R.B.'s work before, I knew I was really going to enjoy their writing, it evoked vivid images and the characters felt truly alive. I hadn't read thei
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Courtney
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy from Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was a brutally beautiful tale, with some fantastical elements that enhanced the narrative but did not take away from the insightful messaging. Lemberg developed, powerfully transformative characters that give us the opportunity to explore pain, hope and acceptance. A truly lovely read.
Olivia
A beautiful tale full of hope and earnest yearning for what the future holds.
Vanessa
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For a number of years now, R.B. Lemberg has been exploring in stories and poems a magical world known as Birdverse. This is a richly textured world where multiple cultures coexist and interact; it’s a world of deserts and traders, of weavers and scholars and magic-workers. There are flying carpets and fallen stars, assassins and tyrants and powerful sorcerers. There are also people without magic, who are no less important. In this complex world, there are a multitude of family structures and cus ...more
Jack
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story, from beginning to end.
Maija
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this beautifully written desert fantasy, two trans elders go on a quest. There's weaving magic, three-dimensional older characters, and bones! I read a review copy from Netgalley.

Uiziya is from the Surun' tribe. She's been waiting for decades for her aunt Benesret to retun and teach her the final weave, how to weave from death. The nameless man, nen-sasaïr, is from the Khana tribe, where women are traveling traders and men remain in the inner quarters as scholars. He is now living in the dese
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ReadBecca
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fromtbr, netgalley, lgbt
I requested and received a copy of this book for honest review, thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and author.

This is one of the few books with a really useful and accurate blurb, so I won't add too much in plot summary for you. I found it was unlike anything I've read before, with two elderly protagonist who have full lives behind them still finding themselves, in a world split between transitory desert traders and the immutable city. The desert wanderers welcome change, altering their nature
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Ashley
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I cannot wait to share my full review. Its moving, magical, inspiring, thought provoking and insightful. I loved it.
Chelsea
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I liked the idea of the world but I didn't care about the characters. There were two perspectives, Uiziya and The Nameless man, and I couldn't tell the difference between them. The inner dialogue is so similar that, at first, I didn't even know it was from different perspectives. I didn't enjoy the writing or the pacing either. ...more
Uudenkuun Emilia
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much, I read it in a day, it's truly phenomenal. An emotionally complex, beautifully written, fiercely hopeful fantasy story that has so much to say about transness, the power of change, and resilience in the face of oppression.

Two trans protagonists in their 60s - so rare to see trans elders adventuring, and Lemberg does it so well, with empathy and acknowledgement of the characters' histories and flaws. There is transphobia in this book, because not all the cultures in Bird
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Teleseparatist
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, earc
I received the ARC for review from NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

A wonderfully heartfelt story whose metaphors sing and whose themes resonated with me quite a lot. I loved the language and the plot, once I got into it a little, kept me gripped. I came to it without knowledge of Birdverse beyond that it exists, but that didn't prevent me from following the story, understanding the stakes or comprehending the cultures and customs depicted in the slightest.

The protagonists are remarkably comple
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Suna
I was fortunate enough to be granted an ARC through Netgalley and.. Wow.
This is my first foray into the Birdverse and what a wondrous strange and beautiful world it is. The poetic language seeps under your skin almost unnoticed until you realise you are grabbing every free second to be with it again, leaning against the kitchen work surface, in the back of the car, in line at the post office. It’s a true strength of the narrative that this is a perfect standalone story; I was made aware there w
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K.A. Doore
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
this is the queer fairy tale we deserve
rtc
Ana
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's always hardest to talk about the books that feel the most important.

One of the elements I most cherished is that the trans main characters, Uiziya and the (initially) Nameless Man, are both in their 60s. They've both spent decades basically waiting for their lives to begin. Uiziya has been waiting for her aunt Benesret to return and teach her the secret of the last profound weave: how to weave from death. The Nameless Man has been waiting to be ready and able to transition, yet now that he
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Artur Nowrot
A richly-woven, multi-faceted work of fantasy about time and hope

There is a structure that lends itself well to fantasy or a certain strain of it: a great evil descends and destroys the sheltered home of a young protagonist, sending them out into the world, on a journey where they will come into their own and defeat the evil. If you look hard enough, you can see the bones of that plot in R.B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves, but they twist that plot skillfully, introducing elements that chang
...more
Laura N.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book via NetGalley.

So this is an odd book. It's not like anything I've read before. At first I was a little confused and thought I wouldn't like it. But I really did, it was so emotional and the way the story was told was original and magical. I particularly loved "the nameless man". I would like to read it again in the future.
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/r/Fantasy Discus...: * April 2021: The Four Profound Weaves 1 20 Apr 08, 2021 09:26AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "The Four Profound Weaves" by R.B. Lemberg (BR) 29 196 Feb 14, 2021 04:45AM  
Cover Reveal! 1 5 Dec 10, 2019 05:13AM  

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R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Ukraine, Russia, and Israel to the US. Their stories and poems have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queers Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, and more. R.B.’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Crawford, and other awards. Many of R.B.’s stories a ...more

Other books in the series

Birdverse (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #80
  • The 2014 Rhysling Anthology
  • Marginalia to Stone Bird
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #175
  • Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year's Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction
  • The Long List Anthology Volume 2: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List (The Long List Anthology Series)
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #183 (Seventh Anniversary Double-Issue)
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 8: January/February 2016
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #209
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #229

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