No Man of Woman Born

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

These stories were fine, but since I got it as an ARC and did not read much of a synopsis, I did not realize they would mostly all end in exactly the same, already-spoiled-by-the-collection-title way. There was no variety! It became pretty monotonous. I get the emotional catharsis of having your identity validated by prophesy, but I think allowing trans and nonbinary protagonists more than one kind of story would have been way more affirmative.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely lovely collection of stories.  Here are some individual reviews for some of the stories!

Tangled Nets - 4/5 - A fun read but a bit slow going. Fairly obvious plotline but a pleasure to read nonetheless. 

King's Favor - 5/5 - This was a delight to read. I love the hedge-witch concept and the simple solution to resolving the tyrannical ruler."

"His Father's Son - 4/5 - Another expected plotline but well executed. Good writing and kept me invested."
Was this review helpful?
This is such a good concept - trans and non-binary characters subverting gendered prophecies - and I thought it was executed really well too. I loved the writing style, and most of the plots and characters were quite well-rounded for short stories. There was just a little something missing that prevents me from giving this 5 stars, but it was a great read and definitely worth checking out.
Was this review helpful?
This was a phenomenal, uplifting collection of stories that hit right to my heart from the title... and just kept going, from the first story 'Tangled Nets' to the final one: 'The Wish Giver'. Ana Mardoll has filled each and every one of these stories with such wonderful, vibrant characters in fantastical settings, bringing new life and light to well loved tales. There is so much about each of these stories that is so powerful and important. No Man of Woman Born is absolute gem of a collection, and one I can't wait to revisit many times in the future.
Was this review helpful?
I received this via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I loved it guys. This book was just what I wanted It to be. The world building was fun and enticing. The characters were very well flushed out. I loved the plot of this. I can not wait to read more by this author. I highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Netgalley requested ebook which I really enjoyed.
A collection of original fairy tales with usually a prophesy and transsexual heroes.

Tangled Nets - Wren finds out how to become a witch with a dragon and a fish net. (Reminded me a bit of Loki making a net and Fáfnir, also Lord of the Rings I guess beyond the clear "virgins sacrificed to a dragon" theme.)
King's Favor- A kingdom in which anyone with magic could be queen (particularly liked this one)!
His Father's Son - I quite enjoyed the family dynamics within this one, swords and wandering families, world have liked to see more (reminded a bit of Mercedes Lackey Oath books).
Daughter of Kings - A bit Arthurian but a queen to be pulls her grandmother's sword from a stone in the Witchwood.
Early to Rise - Sleeping Beauty with a fairy godmother twist.
No Man of Women Born - A prophesy starts the training of a chosen one who's parents are alive to enlighten and encourage.
The Wish-Giver - A dragon gives a wish if you defeat it, so a little girl just wants everyone to see the truth.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved this anthology and thought all of the stories were so well written and lovedd this take on all of them. I loved that this anthology exists.
Was this review helpful?
These are really good retellings with queer protagonists whose adventures and challenges aren't because of their gender. It's a refreshing take on old tales and I really loved the use of neopronouns as well as the content warnings at the beginning of each chapter
Was this review helpful?
This book at the beginning was completely confusing, but as I pushed through the story began to make more sense and flowed alot easier.
Was this review helpful?
A great short story collection, but a bit too slow for me. Nevertheless I recommend it as it is nice to read about trans and non-binary characters in fantasy, my favourite genre, and it is great to see the genre shift from the white cis-centre it has  largely focused on in the past decades.
Was this review helpful?
I cried many times during this book because of how good it felt to read these stories. THESE are the tales about prophecies and magic with gender identity I wish I read when I was younger. I really loved how the main character's gender played into the prophecy for each story. Like, '"no man or woman"? oh good i am neither'. All the little loopholes found in "classic" prophecies. I also really liked how much worldbuilding there were in each of these stories, so many new worlds for my imagination within barely 30 pages? Kudos. And honestly, from the author's not on page one I knew I would love this book. This is why own voices stories and representation in books are important.
Was this review helpful?
This collection of short stories re-imagines various folk tales (and well known literary constructs like the titular "No Man of Woman Born") in settings where transgender, agender and other non-binary characters have central roles in the narratives.  It's usually fairly obvious how that facet of the characters will play into the narrative, though I don't think that surprising the reader was the main focus in any case.  Ana Mardoll is genderfluid xerself, and pretty open about the fact that xie wrote the stories to give non-cisgender persons some heroes of their own.  Which is something I can heartily support.  I'm also pleased to say that even if they aren't exactly packed with shocking twists, they're well executed.  In particular, I'd like to read more about what happens to Caran, from the story "King's Favour", in the time after that story ends.
Was this review helpful?
A lot of pretty good short stories, helpful in increasing both knowledge and acceptance when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, especially relating to gender identity. At the same time, I don't feel like it was taken as far as it could have been, and most of it could work as novels if the author had gone deeper into both plot and characters.
Was this review helpful?
A quiet fisher mourning the loss of her sister to a cruel dragon. A clever hedge-witch gathering knowledge in a hostile land. A son seeking vengeance for his father's death. A daughter claiming the legacy denied her. A princess laboring under an unbreakable curse. A young resistance fighter questioning everything he's ever known. A little girl willing to battle a dragon for the sake of a wish. These heroes and heroines emerge from adversity into triumph, recognizing they can be more than they ever imagined: chosen ones of destiny.
This is all you need to read. I enjoyed this book, the writing and plot were easy to follow and I couldn't guess what was about to happen next and makes me want to read more by this author. 
Give it a try and enjoy the world and story
Was this review helpful?
It took me a while to get through this book but this was caused by personal matters and my inability to read short stories collections somewhat consistently and has no say on the quality of it. I loved that every story has trigger warnings and pronunciation guides of neopronouns if needed.

★★★★⭐ | Tangled nets 
Good start. I like how it was family-focused and Wren's motivation was xer mother and sister first and the whole unjust system latter. I'm pretty sure it was a retelling of 'The Lottery'? & that Wren's autistic.

★★★★⭐ | King's favour
I think the only thing I didn't like was that the scarce dialogue and listings of herbs made me lose focus every now and then. Other than that I loved the tragic irony the Witch-Queen got herself into and how Caran saved nerself with the simplest magic.

★★★★⭐ | His Father's Son
Trans boy getting revenge on the bastard who killed his family. Cool society concept with many mothers and I think remarrying? Or the concept of marriage as a couple which is currently rising a child together? 
A bit deus ex machina but still satisfying.

★★★★,5 | Daughter of Kings
Never say no to a nice trip to an evil magic forest. Cool things may happen.
King Arthur's Excalibur retelling with a bi, trans woman. Also, men are such useless rulers in this one. 

★★★★⭐ | Early to rise
Genderfluid sleeping beauty retelling! When you spend your life getting yourself ready for the influence of prophecy but then nothing goes as planned you need to be really clever to get yourself and your kingdom out of the trouble.
Also, I'm pretty sure that MC is ace.

★★★★,5 | No Man of Woman Born
Why the prophecy that "no man of woman born can't kill you" doesn't make you invincible? a. there's a lot of people who are not men, and b. not every person to give birth to another person is a woman. 
A story about exploring one's gender in the light of prophecy. Do I feel like my assigned gender does not fit me because I want to fit the prophecy or am I trying to fulfill the prophecy to have an excuse to explore my gender identity? Is there a point at which I should have a definite answer? Will this answer change the more I learn?

★★★★⭐ | The Wish-Giver
A badass little girl battling a dragon to get her gender recognised. Just imagine a tiny girl facing a big ass dragon and tell me you don't want to know how THAT plays out.
Was this review helpful?
This book is an interesting new experience - almost like relearning how to read, and definitely learning what should be new norms. I enjoyed the main characters being transgender or nonbinary because this created scenarios where familiar fairy tale gender-related tropes gets turned on its head.  I won't deny that the new pronouns tripped me up quite a bit because it's the unfamiliar words that jump off the page first. The guides at the beginning of each story were helpful in telling us what to expect. I really hope to see this kind of inclusion becoming more common. We all need this.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this novel.

DNF at 25%

I have been "currently reading" this for months and it's getting to the point where I am dreading picking it up...which should never be the case when reading a book, so I have decided to pass on this one.

It's definitely a "me not you" situation and I urge anyone who likes the sound of this to check out other reviews before going by what I say!

First up, what I liked:
-Diversity. This book is packed with short stories filled with diverse characters. All characters are trans and use neopronouns or "they/them" pronouns. It's also own voices!
-after reading the introduction, you can tell how much this means to the author and I think this is such an important novel that definitely deserves the attention it gets. It's such a shame there are not more stories like this. 
-I love the fact that trigger warnings are added to each story.


Onto things I didn't like:
-The world building and character appearances were sorely lacking. 
-I just couldn't connect to anything that happened or any of the characters. 
-I found the short stories very slow-paced and I much prefer fast-paced stories. 

Overall, I am very glad I had the opportunity to read this one and just because it wasn't for me doesn't mean it wouldn't work for you!
Was this review helpful?
This book features seven short stories all about trans and nonbinary character with a twist on the common trope "no man of woman born". The idea is ingenious and all of these stories are very different from one another.
The author herself says it in her notes but I loved that no wrong pronouns or deadnames were included unless absolutely necessary. You can tell it's not necessary at all, there were enough other troubles around to keep the story interesting.
I loved the whole setup of these stories and the unique ideas Mardoll has. There are some character who have strong relationships with siblings and friends which I very much enjoyed. Sometimes, I was confused by the unexplained  magic and felt it did not fit into the actual plot.
These are all short stories and soetimes I feel the story needed more pages or a more well-rounded ending.
Was this review helpful?
**I received this book from NetGalley in exchanging for an honest review**

I loved this anthology. Let me first start by saying that I only knew that this book was a collection of short stories based on gendered prophecies. But each short story was brilliant, none of the main characters were cis gendered, the worlds created in such few pages were incredible. In only several pages Ana Mardoll was able to create an immersive fantasy world, with its own legends and prophecies. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
Seven legendary stories with allll the representations we can ever ask for!!!!

No man of woman born was everything! I would've preferred more if it wasn't short stories cz i love standalones and series.
Was this review helpful?