September 04, 2020

#BookReview: The Four Profound Weaves (Birdverse) by @rblemberg

Synopsis: 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' do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana, 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 the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

Set in R. B. Lemberg's beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. In this breathtaking debut, Lemberg offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one's identity in a hostile world.


Rating: ★★★★
My Review: This was a very weird story.  I felt confused a lot of the time and think that it would have been better if I understood the Birdverse before reading this one.  The characters and ideas of gender were interesting though. And I ended up wanting to learn more about the Birdverse in the future. For me although I was confused I still had a great time with this one. 


The Four Profound Weaves contains imagery that glows on the page.” ―Patricia McKillip, author of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
[STARRED REVIEW] “DEBUT. Uiziya e Lali has waited 40 years for her aunt to teach her the last of the Four Profound Weaves: of wind, sand, song, and bone. But her aunt, Benesret, is a master weaver to assassins, and Surun’ weavers have exiled her. In the city of Iyar, the Khana women are traders, traveling in caravans; the Khana men are scholars, living much of their lives cloistered. A nameless man arrives, trying to find his place in a body that finally fits him after decades living as woman, wife, and mother, looking for Benesret to firm up his place in the world. As he and Uiziya search for Benesret, looking for answers to their individual questions, they must come together to deal with the Collector, the evil Iyar ruler who hoards power and death. VERDICT Nebula-nominated Lemberg’s first novella, set in their deeply queer “Birdverse” universe, presents a beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage. Centering two older transgender protagonists in the midst of emotional and physical journeys highlights the deep, meaningful prose that Lemberg always brings to their stories.”
Library Journal
“A complex and mystical journey toward friendship, family, and love.” ―Jewelle Gomez, author of The Gilda Stories
“R. B. Lemberg’s lyrical skill, combined with unforgettable characters and the magic of the Birdverse makes a stunning fabric over which this story plays beautifully.” ―Fran Wilde, author of The Bone Universe
“Go read this story, tell it to your friends, and help us get to that future that we so desperately need.” ―Trans Narrative, L. A. Lanquist
“Let this be your introduction to R.B.'s world of song carpets, deepnames, and deserts full of roving lovers.” ―Isaac R. Fellman, author of The Breath of the Sun
“I am staggered by the richness and intricacy of R. B. Lemberg’s imagination. The Four Profound Weaves is an intense and emotional story of a journey of change, growth, and courage.” ―Kate Elliott, author of Court of Fives
“[The Four Profound Weaves is] both sweet and fierce, devastating and gentle in its truths." ―M. Crane Hana, author of The Purist
The Four Profound Weaves is a jewel-bright tile in [Lemberg’s] ongoing mosaic.” ―C. S. E. Cooney, author of Bone Swans, Stories
In reading this story about recognition and transformation, I felt recognized and transformed. It’s fantastic alchemy on Lemberg’s part, and their love and labor shines off the page.” ―Nino Cipri, author of Homesick
The Four Profound Weaves is a balm and a call to arms. R. B. Lemberg reassures us that there's still time to find yourself, no matter how old you are; and they stir our revolutionary urges to defeat murderous dictators. But this novella is also a finely-drawn, realistic character study of people who love their communities but never quite feel at home in them. And the magical system is a sheer delight. Thoughtful and deeply moving, The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline“If the plot is the warp of a story, then the weft of this novella is Lemberg’s exquisitely crafted, luminescent prose. I delight in reading Lemberg’s work just for the sheer beauty of the words and the gorgeous melody of the prose.” Maria Haskins, author of Odin’s Eye
“A brilliantly profound and poignant quest, through haunting desert and intricate city and terrifying dungeon, that's truly about people and change.” ―Scott H. Andrews, editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine

“5/5 starsLemberg’s prose is gorgeous and lush. I found myself devouring it whole . . . This is a book I did not know I needed.”Book Blogging with a Purpose
“The world of the Birdverse is intricate and spellbinding, the descriptions dazzle and the setting sings.” ―Bookends & Bagends
“5/5 stars. R. B. Lemberg’s first foray into long-form fiction has left me breathless. The Four Profound Weaves is a love ballad sung straight into the hearts of those who most need to hear it.” ―Black Forest Basilisks
“5/5 stars. The prose is absolutely exquisite . . . It’s probably safe to say this will be one of the highlights of 2020 for me and I most highly recommend it.” ―To Other Worlds
“Refreshing at a time when my heart needed to be refreshed. Highly recommended.” 
Novel Gazing Redux
“Birdverse is beautifully rendered fantasy full of magic and adventure, but also achingly real in its depictions of intolerance, corruption, kindness, and family . . . A phenomenal read!” Quick Sip Reviews
“[The Four Profound Weaves] was very emotionally intense and was just so stunningly beautiful. I recommend this to everyone.”
Witchy Book Dragon

About the Author

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 SkiesUncanny MagazineSisters 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 ( and a full bio at

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FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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