Cover Image: The Four Profound Weaves

The Four Profound Weaves

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me an advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.

This is the most difficult book I've ever tried to review. I don't even know where to begin. 
Most of the time I didn't understand what was going on, but I was intrigued by these magic carpets, and the nameless man.

I would have given this 2 stats but I appreciate the transgender rep, so I bumped it up to 3 stars.

I wonder if reading the other books/poems in this universe prior, would have helped me to understand this better.
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Imaginative, emotional and beautifully told. A really profound story, with depth and beauty, would easily recommend to anyone
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This book felt like a character study. Two transgender people who know each other from old times decide to work together to get a masterwork carpet (capable of magic) back from the ruler who hoards it to make himself feel special.

These two people come from vastly different cultures. Uiziya comes from desert nomads who don't have rigid definitions of gender. Kaveh comes from a people who are not accepted in the city that rules them, so they live apart in a ghetto. Their culture seems based on Orthodox/Hasidic Judaism. Their men are scholars who have turned away from the world to focus on their studies and their women take care of trade and the practical parts of making a living. They also have very strict definitions of gender and gender roles. Because of this, Kaveh waited most of his life before availing himself of the transformative magic that made him male in body as well as in spirit. Kaveh is lonely and doesn't think anyone can understand him.

Although this book focuses more on people than plot, both main characters' motivations seemed a bit hazy to me. Emotions felt muted. Plot happened and important events occurred, but their importance felt muted too. I was interested in this world with its gentle bird goddess of death and release but the story told within it didn't grab me.
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Not exactly what I'm used to, but unique and engaging, with a rich setting that invites further exploration. I'm aware that this author has other stories in this world and does intend to publish more - I will be keeping an eye out for them. I did think this could be longer, but I often feel that way with novellas.
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In the world where bird-deity is worshipped and weavers can weave magical carpets, the story follows 2 older protagonists Uiziya and nen-sasaïr.  Uiziya is a weaver who after more than 40 years goes in search of her master weaver aunt to finish her training and nen-sasaïr is a trans-man who transitioned late, accepts his identity and struggles to live in the not so supportive society.  There were moments of surprises but otherwise the dreamlike/poetry-like writing that should've entrapped the reader just pushed me off the pages without much depth.  I failed to care for the characters as I did not connect with them in their entire journey.  The idea/intention behind Uiziya's carpet and the right for a person to transition in their own timeline are 2 worth mentioning details that were the highlights of the story.  I wish the book was more alive to me to keep me trapped in the unique weaving magic world.
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This story was very confusing at first, not helped by the fact that the audiobook narrator for both of the POV characters was the same person and made no effort in distinguishing their voices whatsoever. 

Eventually, I understood what was going on more or less, and I really appreciate the conversation on gender and being transgender, but it never really steal my heart.
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This book was so beautiful and poetic, and the imagery was evocative and beautifully written. It feels like a fairy tale, but told from a wholly unique point of view.
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This complex, human narrative tells the story of uncovering identity - specifically gender identity, set against the backdrop of a fantasy world. I'm a sucker for desert settings, and this did not disappoint. 
The Four Profound Weaves is a rollercoaster of a story with vivid characters and a great sense of place.
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I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This has not affected my opinion and the following is an honest review.

I don't really know what to say about this book except that I absolutely loved it and it's the most trans book I've ever read. I felt it in my bones. I loved that both of the protagonists were in their 60s and yet they were still the ones who took up the mantle of freeing their land from an oppressive ruler. I loved that they were both trans, that it was a radically different experience and meant different things to each of them, that they had so much to learn from the world and each other despite their decades of life.

I loved that even though both nen-sasaïr and Uiziya were binary trans, there were nonbinary characters present too, that it was discussed how being nonbinary in this world was radically different again from being binary trans. I loved that both of them were often wrong in their assumptions about each other and their place in the world, that even though they questioned and suspected each other, they chose again and again to trust each other and to stand together.

I loved that even though transitioning was fraught for nen-sasaïr, he was always strong in his conviction that despite the difficulties he experienced and the struggle to find where he belonged, he knew that it was the right course and stood firm in his conviction that he did not need to be the man everyone expected him to be, that somewhere out there he would find a true name and a true place.

In short, I loved every single word of this book and I will for sure come back to it again and again because it's just. Absolutely glorious.

(On a lighter note, the thought I had upon realising that I wasn't going to be able to stop reading until the story was over was "why did I ever bother with Dune when this book exists??" If you have a hankering for a desert fantasy quest novel but Dune was too white-savioury and not queer enough for you, read this book instead.)

Rep: fat disabled trans woman MC, trans man MC, nonbinary side characters, queer-normative and polyamorous-normative world, ff and ff(m) and fmm relationships mentioned. Ownvoices trans rep. (Fat and disabled rep maybe also ownvoices? Not sure though.)

CWs: nen-sasaïr's gender is often weaponised against him ("why don't you go and sit with the <i>men</i>") by his grandchildren and occasionally by Uiziya; near the end of the book he is frequently misgendered and deadnamed; discussion of trans people being accepted or not accepted; the transition of a character is delayed by years bc their lover "could not love them if they were a man"; violence;  murder; serious injury; a character feeds off another character's life force; discussion of a mobility aid being a way for someone to control someone else; misogyny (a character is arrested for the crime of being unveiled, even though her veil had been forcibly removed without her consent)
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Gorgeous, queer, and fascinating. I've never read a book quite like this one before, and I'm so glad I did. What a beautiful world!
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A stunningly beautiful fantasy. Lemberg creates a rich and complex world full of mystery and wonder, populated with a cast that is as diverse and full of life as the land they live in. I can't wait to read more from them.
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A nameless man with nowhere to call home and a woman who longs to learn, but has spent forty years waiting for knowledge to come to her, set out on a journey of self-discovery together, searching for the four magical weaves of life, but also for some meaning to their own lives.

This beautifully woven tale explores the issues and emotions experienced by those who have a foot in more than one world: born in a body that doesn’t feel right to them; living in a body that feels right but is rejected by others; born in one country/culture, but living in another, and feeling ‘home’ in neither…

While an important ‘own voice’ narrative for trans/bi/non-binary readers, this story is also a desert song of pain, hope and determination, and a new fairytale for those who wish to explore beyond the bounds of their own lived experiences.
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I'm not sure about this one.  While there's a lot of worldbuilding to be had here, I felt it didn't quite do a good job of translating it.  Not only that, but the plot seemed all over the place.  I enjoyed the characters, but they got lost in the confusion around the world and plot, so I couldn't enjoy them as much as I wanted to.  This wasn't much of a hit for me, but I could see it being something other people might enjoy.
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The Four Profound Weaves // by R. B. Lemberg

The only thing I truly dislike about this book is that I waited so long to read it! While I can't pretend that I understood everything about it, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless. And it is short enough that I may even agree to a reread just to see how differently it will feel already knowing this world now. Aside from the writing itself, I really liked the presentation. I read this as an ebook but still there were illustrations at the beginning of each section that felt like they helped set the tone.

Something I really admire is how it was able to include so many different things for being such a short book! From having an interesting magic system and approach to transgender and transformation to all the different cultures. In less than 200 pages, it managed to address a multitude of themes, including, but not limited to, body image, identity, spirituality, familial relationships, and responsibilities not only to yourself but also to your family and your society. The unabashed candidness that was reached during the characters' self-reflection has the potential to evoke some big feelings for those inclined to be emotional while reading (I will neither confirm nor deny this regarding myself) and I liked how this not only revealed their inner fears but gave me a chance to confront my own.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I am looking forward to more from this author in the future.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This one was a really good reading! I enjoy the plot and I fell in love with the characters.
Such a good book! 

I would absolutely recommend it
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It was different from the normal fantasy novels. This was my first book by the author. I felt it was little slow, however it was an interesting read
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Great plot! I love the pacing. It is very well written 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
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This was a very mythical, poetic fairytale. Beautiful and interesting at the same time. I`m just sad that it was over so quickly. I had hoped a bit for more flesh, and character development or details so we`d get to know them more. But that is just me. Beautiful nontheless.
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reading this, I didn't feel enough of a connection but I could see how it could read as more profound to someone of different sensibilities. love the world. less interested in the story
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I really enjoyed this lush fantasy about trans elders, full of folklore and a quiet magic. It's full of meaning and metaphor, but it's done so beautifully, it never feels false or heavy-handed.
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