C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Name of All Things

The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, epic-fantasy, adult, read-2020, best-of-2020

I procrastinated starting my review for this because how do you review something so utterly, complexly perfect?!. You DON'T. You just stand aesthetically in the rain to cover up the emotions attacking your face because you have to wait months (AND MONTHS) for the next book. Least to say discovering Jenn Lyons' work has been my favourite part of 2020. Her fantasy is deliciously complicated and the backstory and histories are so deep, but never in an unnecessary way, and the plot twists and schemes are absolute mastery. It's intense. Like, yes, when we start talking about who you were in your last life, etc, mixed with this life, etc, my brain dies a bit. Also all the names? Stop naming your weapons, son, I can't keep up with the humans names let alone the sPEAR HAS A NAME. But I don't even care? Because I appreciate it. I've been starved for intricate world building and it is here for me.

This book centres on Janel, instead of Kihrin. It has the same set up as last time though, except this time Janel finds Kihrin in a tavern in Jorrat, and she catches him up on what she's been doing these last 4 years. It's set 3 days after the disaster at the capital, aka, three days since the last book ended. Kihrin has the magical murder sword. He knows Janel from the visions. But he doesn't KNOW her. And neither do we, so we get to. And the the chapters are broken up between Janel and Qown (a hufflepuff SOFT CINNAMON PRIEST).

And I freaking loved them? I have a tendency for my attention to drift if books don't follow one narrator -- but Janel is just INCREDIBLE and I'm half in love with her. And Qown is honestly a soft idiot so I adored him too.

Also this brings me to needing to happy/cry over the amount of queer rep here. Jorrat is like the queerest place ever. Are you queer, genderqueer, trans, ace, gay, bi?!? Um, ALL ARE REPRESENTED. (Like they even mentioned being ace!!) Janel is genderqueer -- uses she/her pronouns but she is a man. Gender/sex are not the same. In fact JANEL gets confused that Kihrin doesn't understand. When they talk about some of the trans characters, Janel is just, "Oh how do you do it in your country then?" And Kihrin is like ?? we don't. (Fool world.) It's just so inclusive and it's SO GOOD to read an epic fantasy where the world is not so limited as ours is. We gotcha dragons and gays. (Also I absolutely am dying here hoping it's a love triangle with Janel/Taraeth/Kihrin in the next book...let them be polyam pls.)

Okay okay I don't even know what else to cover here. The gods? Shall we talk about how freaking epic all the magic systems and gods are?! And by "epic" I mean half the time the gods are totally useless but we love them anyway. Also Thane kind of hates everyone and bless her, socialisation is hard. I loved just how the world grew on every page, how the magic systems flexed and deepened as we explored more of this universe. AHHHH.

Also -- the villains are honestly terrific. Because there's less black-and-white evil here and I actually loved that we got to know more of Relos Var. Also Senara (who writes the most GORGEOUSLY SCATHING FOOTNOTES through the whole book) became one of my utter favourites. Oh is she a villain? Yes. Do I love her. Also yes.

And the plot is twisty, backstabbing, carefully articulate genius. That is all I can say. Yes, it's long, and sometimes not fast paced enough. But it set the building blocks for the finale that knocked me over.

Also Kihrin is, absolutely, a dumbass and I love him. (view spoiler) But I also am desperately hoping that book 3 is Taraeth's?!?! It has an elephant on the front so please let it be.

Honestly, this series is just phenomenal, and I will sing its praises until I pass out. It's lush and vast and diverse inclusive, and utterly badass. I've realised I love reading epic fantasy by women because you can just FEEL the male authors heavy breathing as they try to write a woman as a person. Here there are effortless piles of incredible, phenomenal women -- not to mention genderqueer and trans people. I'm in love with the characters, my imagination is sparked to life by the world, and the plot has me desperate for more. Can this just be my new favourite epic fantasy series? Because it is.
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Reading Progress

February 24, 2020 – Started Reading
February 24, 2020 – Shelved
February 24, 2020 –
page 50
8.45% "Priest: oh that's not your problem anymore!
Khirin: [sighs in relief]
Priest: we have bigger BETTER more difficult problems for you now!!
Khirin: 😐"
March 2, 2020 –
page 185
31.25% "okay Janel and Khirin literally just paused discussing their complex and mysteriously entwining backstories to agree that Taraeth is the prettiest.

Khirin: so yeah I'm pretty straight
Janel: Taraeth is super pretty.
Khirin: OH he is."
March 12, 2020 –
page 370
62.5% "everything about this book owns all of my heart 🥺(it's so refreshing to not be reading a fantasy by a male author for once. the difference in how women are written, societies constructed, and characters interact is astonishing and wonderful)"
March 14, 2020 –
page 509
85.98% "i am so obsessed with this series!!!! just one long internal scream by this point !!!!!"
March 18, 2020 – Shelved as: 5-star
March 18, 2020 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
March 18, 2020 – Shelved as: adult
March 18, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
March 18, 2020 – Finished Reading
August 13, 2020 – Shelved as: best-of-2020

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Zack (new) - added it

Zack McLernon I am reading it now! I am trying to understand though, so is Janel biologically female but is genderqueer? Asking to learn and understand as an ally and wanting to be better educated on the subject


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