The Four Profound Weaves are of Wind, Sand, Song, and Bone. Uiziya searches for her aunt to teach her to final weave, bone, and a nameless man travels with her to find his purpose while the world.
Why this book?: I’ve been a fan of Lemberg for some time now. It was only natural that I excitedly pick up their first full novel in the Birdverse.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, for a lot of reasons. But as I mentioned before, there was no way to deny this book and author the chance to bring me back into the world of reviewing. But I have to be honest, too. This review brings me a lot of pain. I was originally introduced to R.B. Lemberg’s work through my friend Corey Alexander, and fell in love with Lemberg’s world and writing nearly immediately. For a while, we would talk about Lemberg’s awe-inspiring work constantly, and Corey would send me other pieces of their writing that they thought I would enjoy. Corey recently passed, and now jumping back into this world is both so comforting, yet so painful.
As always, stories that take place in the Birdverse immediately throw you into a mystical world with so much depth, complexity, and so much love. I’ve always been so interested in learning more about the Birdverse and the mythology that surrounds the goddess, and this book definitely helped with that. Having read a few of Lemberg’s other short stories, I had some background information and immeidately felt at home in everything that was going on. I do know that sometimes, with fantasy books just diving into the lore and complexities of it’s world, it can be a little confusing, so I can definitely see a new reader struggling with this book. But the stories are so worth it, and the world doesn’t ever let you down in how inclusive, complex, and interesting they are.
I greatly enjoyed The Four Profound Weaves. I loved how the weaves were introduced and explained, I loved Uiyiza and the nameless man’s relationship and how they intereacted throughout their story. I especially really enjoyed the idea of weaving out of things like song and wind and death, and the imagery that went into describing the cloths created from these weaves. Everything about the story was as magical as I was expecting, and it had me turning the pages to find where they went or what they did next. I wanted to keep reading even when it was over, to continue experiencing adventures with the characters long after it had ended.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
This was definitely something I needed right now. I love Lemberg’s writing, I love Birdverse, and with everything going on, this was the perfect piece to come back to.
Would I Recommend?
Definitely. As I mentioned earlier, it might be a little confusing because Birdverse is pretty complex with different magics, like deep-words and the weaves. It might take a little bit to get used to, but I can promise that all Birdverse stories are so worth the small amount of confusion you might go through.
R. B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their stories and poems have appeared in Lightspeed Magazine’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction!, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, and many other venues. R.B.’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards. You can find more of their work on their Patreon (patreon.com/rblemberg) and a full bio at rblemberg.net.
Published: September 4th, 2020
Publisher: Tachyon Publishers
Page Count: 192
Synopsis: via Publisher
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’ nomads do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But aged Uiziya must find her aunt in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.
Among the Khana in the springflower city of Iyar, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter, as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.
As his past catches up, the nameless man must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya—while Uiziya must discover how to challenge the evil Ruler of Iyar, and to weave from deaths that matter.
In this breathtaking debut set in R. B. Lemberg’s beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one’s identity in a hostile world.
About the Birdverse: The Birdverse is the creation of fantasy author R. B. Lemberg. It is a complex, culturally diverse world, with a range of LGBTQIA characters and different family configurations. Named after its deity, Bird, Birdverse shorter works have been nominated the Nebula, Hugo, Tiptree award, and Rhysling awards. The Four Profound Weaves is the first full-length work set in the Birdverse.