Emotionally powerful with superbly handled prose, R. B. Lemberg’s THE UNBALANCING is wholly wonderful
The abundant praise continues for the recently released THE UNBALANCING by R. B. Lemberg with reviews from Deborah J. Ross, Adri Joy at Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together, Llama Reads Books, and in a dual feature that includes Naseem Jamnia’s THE BRUISING OF QILWA, Stephen Case at Strange Horizons. They contributed a new essay for Mary Robinette Kowal’s My Favorite Bit. And Mysterious Galaxy shares the virtual event between with Lemberg and Ada Hoffman.
As with Lemberg’s previous novella, THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, THE UNBALANCING is a tale of emotional power and superbly handled prose that often approaches poetry in its nuance and poise. Highly recommended, with the suggestion that it be read slowly and savored.Deborah J. Ross
I’d like to see more about the inhabitants of Gelle-Gau and their corner of the Birdverse someday, and if this is a new series to you, then THE UNBALANCING is a fine place to start.Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together
Overall, if you took the myth of Atlantis and made it queer and, well, wholly wonderful, you’d get this book. One final note: the author dedicated this book to Corey who is sadly no longer with us, but I could feel echoes of them everywhere in the book, their thoughtfulness, their insight, their kindness and gentle grace when someone made a mistake. And truly, I can’t think of a better recommendation than that. Highly recommended!Llama Reads Books
Both THE BRUISING OF QILWA and THE UNBALANCING are powerful in giving voice to marginalized or dispossessed characters without being flat, formulaic, or overly discursive. In THE BRUISING OF QILWA, the affirming, accepting healer who welcomes refugees becomes someone willing to take horrific steps to protect his city, and the protagonist is forced to face the moral ambiguity of Kofi’s decisions. In THE UNBALANCING, one protaginist begins at the center of her society’s power structure, but her desire for the novel’s other lead opens her up to understanding a positive self-abnegation in relationships—even at the cost of her home. It’s a compelling contrast: one a view of damaged idealism from a place of little social capital, the other of a character at the center of her society’s hierarchy finding a new sensitivity and humility. Most importantly, both novels deal with the respective costs.Strange Horizons
My new Birdverse novel THE UNBALANCING is full of my favorite bits. I wrote this novel as an act of defiance and catharsis after a sudden passing of a close friend in 2020, and I clung for dear life to the many things that brought me joy – quince (my favorite fruit), queer communities, semi-obscure Jewish references, geeking out over magical geometry, multiple neurodivergent and a-spec characters. For My Favorite Bit, it was hard to choose what to talk about – is it poetry featuring doom and gloom? Is it listening to trees? Is it the Hebrew words hiding in plain sight? But I chose, in the end, to write about a person – my very best and grumpiest ancestral ghost, Semberí.My Favorite Bit