I Can’t Wait For…The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg

Posted 2nd March 2022 by Sia in Can't-Wait Wednesday / 2 Comments

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

This week my Can’t-Wait-For is The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg!

The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MCs, queernorm world
Published on: 20th September 2022

In this first full-length novel from the acclaimed Birdverse, new love blossoms between an impatient starkeeper and a reclusive poet as they try together to save their island home. Nebula, Locus, and Ignyte finalist R. B. Lemberg (The Four Profound Weaves) has crafted a gorgeous tale of the inevitable transformations of communities and their worlds. The Unbalancing is rooted in the mystical cosmology, neurodiversity, and queerness that infuses Lemberg’s lyrical prose, which has invited glowing comparisons to N. K. Jemisin, Patricia A. McKillip, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

Beneath the waters by the islands of Gelle-Geu, a star sleeps restlessly. The celebrated new starkeeper Ranra Kekeri, who is preoccupied by the increasing tremors, confronts the problems left behind by her predecessor.

Meanwhile, the poet Erígra Lilún, who merely wants to be left alone, is repeatedly asked by their ancestor Semberi to take over the starkeeping helm. Semberi insists upon telling Lilun mysterious tales of the deliverance of the stars by the goddess Bird.

When Ranra and Lilun meet, sparks begin to fly. An unforeseen configuration of their magical deepnames illuminates the trouble under the tides. For Ranra and Lilun, their story is just beginning; for the people of Gelle-Geu, it may well be too late to save their home.

Lemberg’s Birdverse is an absolutely beautiful world that has already been the setting of multiple short stories and a novella (The Four Profound Weaves, released to much acclaim in 2020). I’ve adored every one of the short stories, and enjoyed the novella, and I am BEYOND EXCITED that we’re going to get a whole novel of Lemberg’s wonderful prose and breathtaking worldbuilding!!!

And just look at that synopsis! Poets! Ancestors! Islands! (I don’t know why islands and archipelagos enchant me so much, but they do.) And STARKEEPERS! I don’t know exactly what a starkeeper is (yet), but I know that just the sound of it fills me with a sense of wonder. That’s not unusual with Lemberg’s work – there’s always something, in every piece of their writing, that takes my breath away – but this feels extra-special. My not-so-inner-child just LIGHTS UP at the idea of starkeepers!!!

Knowing a decent bit about deepnames and the goddess Bird from Lemberg’s other works in this universe just makes me VERY FLAILY at what the description tells us. Bird delivering stars??? The deepnames of two people forming a configuration??? HI I HAVE QUESTIONS AND MY BIGGEST ONE IS HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMEBER FOR THIS?!

I guess I’ll just have to reread the other Birdverse stories. WHAT SUFFERING. But for real: if you haven’t read the Birdverse yet, you have until September to make yourself familiar with it, and if you have read it, you can, like me, preorder The Unbalancing from the publisher here!

2 responses to “I Can’t Wait For…The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg

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