Listen: if you want to bang the dragon that sorta kinda grave-robbed your mother, go for it. Have fun! Dragons are sexy!
But if you want to decide that the dragon that sorta kinda grave-robbed your mother is now the LOVE of your LIFE, you probably need to have a little more going for your relationship than that she’s:
And 2) here.
Don’t get me wrong: the sex is good. Aside from a somewhat creepy start to the first sex scene, the sex here is a good time.
And goodness knows I usually think f/f books need to be MORE horny – because they often suffer from an unwillingness to let female characters be sexual ACTORS rather than objects, and be motivated by that attraction.
The problem here is just the OTHER side of that coin: these two get to be sexual actors, but seemingly at the cost of anything else. There’s no emotional connection here. They don’t know each other.
They’re just conventionally attractive people in proximity to one another, and suddenly that’s enough to upend a kingdom.
Which is a let-down, because it feels like there’s no SUBSTANCE here.
So, in the absence of substance, let’s talk about something else: this book uses “sapphic” as a stand-in for “women exclusively attracted to other women.”
Which is, theoretically, fine. But the thing about making your fantasy world have linguistic quirks that are different from your reader’s world is that, typically, it’s expected that you explain why.
And there’s a good reason for that! The linguistic quirks of the reader’s vernacular are functionally invisible: we all just sorta assume the Tolkein-esque explanation of “this story is being told to you and therefore the language is adjusted to fit your understanding.”
An authorial choice not to do that comes with some extra footwork – because it has to be assumed that you want the change to be visible, and that’s relevant. Theoretically.
Unless, you know, you decide not to do the extra footwork. And, for instance, throw in a ever-so-slightly different word for lesbian because it sounds snazzy and have zero thoughts about the linguistics at all.
When that’s the authorial choice, with no further exploration, I just end up with SO MANY QUESTIONS.
– was there still a Sappho in this universe?
– did she NOT live on the Isle of Lesbos?
– is there no aisle of Lesbos because there isn’t a Greece?
– what is the logic behind picking a label named for the historical poet, rather than the place she theoretically lived in this universe?
– did this universe’s Sappho write EXCLUSIVELY about women?
– did this universe’s Sappho write about both men and women, like ours did, and linguistic drift made the term seem narrowly tailored to exclusive same-sex attraction?
– if that’s the case, does that mean that this universe had, at some point, exclusionary politics within the queer community akin to the United States in the 1990s, such that the linguistic drift often associated with the term “lesbian” applied?
– does that mean that this universe will later see a rise in popularity of a similar term that makes the exact same reference but attempts to recapture the broadness of definition?
– in a world where “sapphic” is the narrow term, does that imply that “lesbian” will be the newly trendy broad one? or is it not a one-to-one trade?
– wait, IS there an Isle of Lesbos?
– is there DRAGON GREECE??
That’s it. That’s all my questions.
(Am I thinking too hard about this? Yes. Do I regret doing so? No. Absolutely not!)
Cannonball Read 15 BINGO: Take the Skies
(Because dragons fly! And are therefore kind of like planes! Shut up, that should totally count. Plus, I don’t like planes. I do like dragons!)