SOMEWHERE BENEATH THOSE WAVES by Sarah Monette: 205/318
tw: transmisogyny, death, murder, bad families, suicide
So first I finished “Amante Doreé,” which is about the courtesan in AU not-USA, where the south and west are colonies of France and the north is Spanish. Below are spoilers, which also include trigger warnings.
Somewhere Beneath Those Waves Was Her Home is about shitty men, selkies, figureheads, and freedom. Darkness, As A Bride is about a clockwork virgin sacrifice. Katabasis: Seraphic Trains is like a cross between Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link (I will tell you which I prefer, it is Kelly Link), about a mysterious and ruthless city, the death of a young failed poet, and the girl who eventually figures out she doesn’t want him back from the dead after all. Three Letters From The Queen of Elfland is about empty marriages and hot lesbian sex with elves that isn’t any use because you don’t want to be eaten alive by your lover’s passion for you (see also Monette’s Elegy for a Demon Lover). Now: the Seance at Chisholm Place.
Some of the stories are stronger than others but the whole set is interesting, atmospheric, fully fleshed and full of ideas that sit comfortably in their own skins (if not in the reader’s).
It’s about political murder, but also HEY LOOK! A TRANS CHARACTER! She turns out to be a trans woman, but of course this is not especially easy (HAHAHA LIKE IT IS EVER EASY) in this setting. She doesn’t get killed and nothing vile happens, but the guy she likes is not interested in her body type and even though he’s not nasty and doesn’t betray her and actually helps her save her own life in the end, they don’t get together. There are a couple really heart-seizingy upsetting moments in the course of her realizing that they won’t. Also not a great story for anyone who can’t cope with bad comings-out of any level.