Deals: The Raven Ring

I love Patricia C. Wrede books more than I love anything else on earth, so I feel morally bound to tell everyone that her novel "The Raven Ring" is today's Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99.


Kiryn Silverwing said...

I've never heard of that author, but the reviews for the book are glowing enough that I'm happy to check it out for that low of a price. Thanks for the recommendation!

Thousand said...

Wrede's the Enchanted Forest Chronicles are very conflicting to me. On the one hand, it has major female characters with both personality and agency, but on the other, is sadly not a bad summary of the first book of it.

I will probably check this out. Thanks for the heads' up!

Ana Mardoll said...

I've seen that summary before, but for the record I could not disagree more strongly with it. Like, I disagree more strongly with that summary than I would with the statement that, I dunno, "kittens are ugly". That's how much I think that summary is Missing The Point. But YMMV.

Asha said...

*head tilt* That summary... *head keeps tilting* So... just... Like saying the Lord of the Rings is about making a menu because of all the food listed. Or that Twilight is about truck repair. Or that neither red and yellow are blue. Its not wrong, but wow.

Ana Mardoll said...

YES. That's a perfect analogy, actually.

Frodo: I am a whimsical, happy-go-luck, short, fat Unlikely Hero faced with the total destruction of the world.

Gandalf: Eat rich foods and sing songs until it sorts itself out.

Frodo: Can do.

Dav said...

I love Patricia Wrede. Love love love. That said, I tend to find the first books of her series better than the others, or maybe they turn into the sort of thing I don't like.

Loved Mairelon the Magician even more than the dragons - real magic and Bow Street runners? Yes, please. (Although . . . yeah, it had some tropes I'm not a fan of. )

Ana Mardoll said...



And here is why that summary irks me so.

First and foremost, Dealing With Dragons is still one of the most feminist-friendly fantasy books out there, in my opinion. There are four major female protagonists (contrast with either zero or one male protagonists, depending on how you count these things) which range a gamut of age, species, background, and interests. (One of them is even a Girly Girl without shaming.) All the women maintain good relationships with one another, and work well together despite their differences. None of the women are romantically attached, and with the exception of the Girly Girl they don't pair up at the end. They just *are*, just like male protagonists are allowed to be.

The female dragon character provides a chance to world-build a society that doesn't have the same sexual politics as ours. The dragons use "king" and "queen" as job titles, regardless of gender. A female king, for example, is still a king, and no one bats an eye at this within the dragon world. There's a brief reference to a third, neutral gender that all young dragons are born with until they decide which binary gender they want to be. (The book doesn't say if they can stay the third gender forever, but I would assume they can if they so choose.) All this -- gender equitable jobs, a rejection of the gender binary, asexuality, etc. -- isn't REVOLUTIONARY, but it's rare enough in fantasy novels.

Claims that the princess protagonist is doing mere housework irk me greatly because it's basically buying into the concept that if a woman does it, it's not Valued Work. Cimorene manages every aspect of Kazul's den. Yes, that means scrubbing floors and cooking dinner. It also means comprehensive inventorying of every piece of treasure in Kazul's vault, some of which requires magical training to recognize and identify. In the process Cimorene also researches a spell that will permanently fire-proof herself and any future princesses down the line; the fantasy equivalent of an Occupational Health and Safety provision. Cimorene is doing varied, complex, and valuable (to both her and Kazul) work in exchange for room, board, and wages to be given at the end of her service.

And all that gets swept aside as totally unimportant piffle because it's "women's work". I find that irritating in the extreme, as it seems to buy into the utterly sexist notion that only "men's work" is worth doing, and it also devalues the amount of skill and intelligence that goes into Cimorene's job.

Smilodon said...

And Cimorene does the housework because she WANTS to do it. Living with her parents, her every "unprincessly" desire was thwarted. She's delighted to finally get to make food and translate texts from Latin and sweep. I suppose it's a bit sexist that she needs a prince to do the plumbing, but since he does it with a magic sword, not manly skill, I'm going to say that doesn't count.

In Wrede's dragon series, basically any character who ever says "People who are x should do y" are proven very, very wrong. No matter what the x or y is. But if people who are x want to do y, then they are usually given the oppertunity to do so successfully (as long as y isn't mean or stupid.)

Also, there is a friendly witch with extremely intelligent cats who sleep on a dragon while it drinks apple cider. That mental image fills with me happy.

I love Wrede . As a young adult I used to reread her Dragons series yearly. (Her and Bujold. Starting at approximately this time of year, ending when complete.)

Thomas Keyton said...

Wait wait wait. Dragonsbane (as it's known over here) is the first of a series?

How did I not know this?

Pqw said...

I have not read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, although I keep meaning to.

A year or so ago, I bought A Matter of Magic, which includes both Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward. LOVED the first book, OMGSQUEE. The second book was meh.

BUT, Sorcery and Cecelia, an epistolary novel Wrede wrote with Caroline Stevermer (also fabulous), is one of my Favorite Books EVER!

So, on balance, I LOVE Patricia Wrede.

Brenda said...

I just found this blog (someone mentioned the Narnia deconstructions) and I've been making my way through the archive, and then realized I should be reading the current ones as they come up - and Patricia Wrede is the first one that pops up! I am very much looking forward to any further discussions that may arise...

I agree that three-line summary is totally missing the point. On further exploration of that site... they all are. Ugh, that was annoying!

Wrede has a new series, a trilogy so far - the last one was just released this summer. "Frontier Magic". Just what it sounds like... The titles are Thirteenth Child, Across the Great Barrier, and The Far West. Very different style from any of her previous books but they are very good. A really great example of worldbuilding.

Also, I follow her blog and she's apparently working on something now... - she writes a lot about various aspects of writing. It's really good.

MaryKaye said...

I cannot get into her books, but I will say that Patricia Wrede has consistently been a kind, helpful, insightful giver of advice to newbie writers, and I owe her a substantial debt for that. She's a really fine person online.

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