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REVIEW: The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg


THE UNBALANCING is an unbalanced work (heh). I’ve previously liked much of Lemberg’s other works, including their novella THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES as well as many Birdverse poems. They’re delightfully original, depicting a very queer and diverse world. The worldbuilding is quite interesting, if abstract—I felt a bit lost at times, but if I got it right this book is about a sleeping star having nightmares, threatening a nearby city- which means a starkeeper and a poet have to try and heal the star.

It’s a very magic-infused book, definitely easier to read than THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, but it still feels a bit too much for me. An extended version with more of a focus on the plot and the characters would do wonders, I reckon. But if you’re willing to forgive its somewhat ramshackle plot, you’ll be enraptured by its mythology (still the main appeal to the Birdverse, for me), the tremendous amount of diversity and the way people express it (not just queer, but also neurodiversity, and cultural).

If anything, it’s an interesting read. I think it will grow on me on a re-read. It’s a poetic and fleeting work—unique, inspiring wonder, feeling like a small story in a much bigger world.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this work in exchange of an honest review.

G. Lowie
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Goran Lowie is an avid reader of all kinds of speculative fiction and poetry. For years, he's been rotting away in some rural hellhole in Belgium, but luckily he has literature to keep him going!

His real obsession with the genre sparked with the incomporable works of Ursula K. Le Guin, and his heart stayed there forever. Other favourite authors include Patricia A. McKillip, Mary Soon Lee, John Wiswell, Robert Silverberg and Italo Calvino.

When Goran isn't reading books, he's either editing this very magazine or creating lesson plans for his day-job as a high school teacher! You can find him on Twitter: @GoranLowie

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