The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg: Complex and Unique

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 Semberí to take over the starkeeping helm. Semberí insists upon telling Lilún mysterious tales of the deliverance of the stars by the goddess Bird.

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

R.B. Lemberg has lovingly crafted this complex and unique novel within the Birdverse universe that explores the power of trying, community, and carrying on even when failure seems imminent. Telling the story of Lilún, a poet, and Starkeeper Ranra, The Unbalancing, asks the question of what do  you do if all your attempts to save your home fail. It asks those questions using gorgeous prose, a beautiful loving relationship, and diverse lgbtq characters who are also neurodiverse. The characters of Lilún and Ranra are unique, magnetic, and very human in their interactions with each other and others.

Part of why I loved the writing so much was the relationship between Lilún and Ranra. They communicate honestly, their passion compelling, and their personalities vivid and distinct. Lilún is a nontraditional gender with a tendency to few relationships and Ranra enjoys open relationships. Yet, the pair find each other not just attractive but impossible to ignore the sparks of desire. It is a believable relationship with a complex world full of intriguing magic. The world is engaging and while you don’t have to have read the other stories in the universe to enjoy this one, I highly suspect you will enjoy it more having read the shorter works by the author. I know I will be looking for those works and reading them. I find it impossible not to read more of this unique world, especially with such complex and unique stories. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

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