skygiants: ran and nijiko from 7 Seeds, looking faintly judgy (dubious lesbians)
[personal profile] skygiants
[personal profile] jothra got me Of Fire and Stars as a holiday present last year, on account of Lesbian Princesses. It is indeed a YA fantasy about about lesbian princesses! This is the novel's big selling point and indeed I was sold by it, although to be honest I think I would have liked it better/it might have worked better thematically were it a book about lesbian princess, singular, + a non-princess lesbian.

Dennaleia (Denna), the Good Princess, is polite and ladylike and scholarly and eager to be of use to her kingdom of origin and also the kingdom whose prince she is meant to be marrying. Her big problem is that she has lots and lots and lots of poorly-trained magic, which is illegal.

Amaranthine (Mare), the Rebellious Princess, is mad about being a princess and does not care about royalty or ruling or responsibilities; she cares only about horses! Mare does sneak out of the castle on the regular with her One Friend to find out what's going on with the illegal magic-users in town, but since she seems to have one (1) contact in the city (how she made this contact? unclear) and no (0) highly-placed contacts in the castle to pass along the information that she gains from her one (1) contact in the city, it's difficult to tell how this got started or why she believes it's effective.

(It's also a bit difficult to tell what's actually going on in the city, why it's so easy for Mare and her One Friend to wander in and out of secret magic-user strongholds, and why there are only six people involved in the political life of the kingdom. Worldbuilding and political intrigue is not necessarily the book's strong suit.)

So, I mean, Mare is very much a YA heroine in the classic vein, but she and her "ugh, the court, the politics, THERE IS CLEARLY NO REASON FOR ME TO PAY ATTENTION TO ANY OF THESE LOSERS [flips table]" and her initial resentment of Denna's respectable princesshood would I think have worked better for me if she was a stablehand or something; these days I prefer my princesses with a little more self-awareness and sense of duty.

That said, though neither Denna nor Mare really demonstrate overwhelming amounts of tactical awareness or strategic intelligence, their romance is a perfectly cute iteration of Horse Girl Falls For Nerd Girl and I'm very glad that the genre of Tropey YA Fantasy With Paper-Thin Worldbuilding and Magical Princesses Metaphorically Singing "I Want" Songs - a perfectly respectable genre which every so often is still exactly the genre I want to read! - has gotten a little bit gayer.

(But if you want really good lesbian princesses, may I recommend Erin Bow's The Scorpion Rules? The baby royals are responsible AND there are asshole goats!)

Date: 2017-04-04 01:26 am (UTC)
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
From: [personal profile] sovay
a perfectly cute iteration of Horse Girl Falls For Nerd Girl

. . . this is a thing?

Date: 2017-04-04 01:36 am (UTC)
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
From: [personal profile] sovay
It's less that the combination is a thing and more that the characters are so very much a Horse Girl and a Nerd Girl that it feels like a thing even though it's not, as far as I know, a thing at all.

I could have been out of the lesbian princess loop!

Date: 2017-04-04 02:07 am (UTC)
shati: TEDDY BEAR version of the queen seondeok group photo. (Default)
From: [personal profile] shati
(But if you want really good lesbian princesses, may I recommend Erin Bow's The Scorpion Rules? The baby royals are responsible AND there are asshole goats!)

at last, my true reading niche

Date: 2017-04-04 02:30 am (UTC)
shati: TEDDY BEAR version of the queen seondeok group photo. (Default)
From: [personal profile] shati
Now I want to mask the goat from Hunchback of Notre Dame into the original Ariel/Jasmine vid.

Date: 2017-04-04 02:34 am (UTC)
aquamirage: Ben Wyatt expressing his displeasure (NOPE)
From: [personal profile] aquamirage
please explain

Date: 2017-04-04 02:49 am (UTC)
shati: TEDDY BEAR version of the queen seondeok group photo. (Default)
From: [personal profile] shati
Okay I'm not sure which part so I'm just going to explain everything:

  • You know those magic stores in books where you buy something that turns out to be a dragon egg, so you go back, but then the store is gone? This is the magic 2 am Youtube store, but it's still there when you go back, except when it gets taken down for copyright violation. I think there's also a re-release with a rainbow gradient and better masking instead of subtitles, but it might be down right now. There are also lots of others, this is just the first Ariel/Jasmine vid I saw in my entire existence and, like custody of a baby dragon, it changed me.

  • I don't remember the goat being an asshole but I think he had, like, reasonable opinions sometimes curtly expressed, and I think at least one of the other characters thought he was kind of judgy? This all sounds fake, I'm no longer at all sure there even was a goat in the movie. But if there was, I didn't mean to slander him, it's just that he could be cut and pasted into that vid...

  • I don't know, I went straight from "lesbian princesses with goat" to this.
  • Date: 2017-04-04 03:52 am (UTC)
    aquamirage: Elsa doing her hair (the picture of perfection)
    From: [personal profile] aquamirage
    thank you for this from the bottom of my heart

    Date: 2017-04-04 02:25 am (UTC)
    aquamirage: Bitterblue looking down / art by may12324 (and I feel the heartbeat now)
    From: [personal profile] aquamirage
    Responsible baby royals??? Sounds like my kind of scorpians!

    Date: 2017-04-04 03:37 am (UTC)
    evewithanapple: annie, frowning | <lj user="evewithanapple"</l> (copper | but alas i cannot swim)
    From: [personal profile] evewithanapple
    I wanted to like this book SO BADLY, but I just Could Not with Mare at any point in time. She was such an asshole- and I say this as someone who is fond of asshole heroines!- that I just really wanted Denna to dump her and run off with her nice lady-in-waiting to join a pirate crew or something. Or to find a nicer fellow princess to marry and rule the kingdom with, because God help the kingdom stuck with Mare at the helm.

    Date: 2017-04-04 05:07 am (UTC)
    hebethen: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] hebethen
    I think the thing for me was that the narrative was unaware of her assholery. It felt like I was supposed to find it cute and relatable, rather than it being a straight-up, honest portrayal of a teenager being an asshole.

    Or a gay-up, honest portrayal, as the case may be.
    Edited Date: 2017-04-04 05:08 am (UTC)

    Date: 2017-04-04 01:23 pm (UTC)
    evewithanapple: agron looks incredulous and exasperated | <lj user="letsey_x"</lj> (spar | the border lines we drew)
    From: [personal profile] evewithanapple
    And she never changed or learned! She stopped resenting Denna so much after they fell in love (well, after Denna became useful to her. COUGH) but she never stopped sneering at everyone in her general vicinity who didn't immediately give her whatever she wanted.

    I think the passage where they almost get killed by an assassin and she thinks "half fainting away was probably covered in one of [Denna's] handbooks on how to be a proper lady" was the point at which I nearly gave up and punted the book across the room.

    Date: 2017-04-06 05:18 am (UTC)
    evewithanapple: foxy robin hood with an arrow in his cap | <lj user="evewithanapple"</lj> (dis | we just borrow a bit)
    From: [personal profile] evewithanapple
    You know, there's that scene where her brother (whose name I have completely forgotten, whoops) catches them in bed together and tells her "we're not children anymore; you can't just do whatever you want" and obviously he was the antagonist in that scenario because he was coming between her and Denna, but I . . . wholeheartedly agreed with him?

    Date: 2017-04-06 05:16 am (UTC)
    evewithanapple: bonnie parker looking dubious | <lj user="evewithanapple"</lj> (b&c | feels like i could use a gun)
    From: [personal profile] evewithanapple
    . . . come to think of it, that also got on my nerves, but I didn't really identify it until now. She's like a matryoshka doll of annoyance!

    (I got the sense that her only goal was "I DO WHAT I WANT, WHEN I WANT (with horses, I guess)" but nothing more concrete than that.)

    Date: 2017-04-04 04:45 am (UTC)
    dimestore_romeo: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] dimestore_romeo
    I can only buy hardback in the UK which is why I haven't picked this up, but I will now get the Scorpion Rules instead.

    Marathoned Nirvana in Fire last month and after utterly breaking me it reverted me to my default settings, i.e. responsible royals who actually do stuff are the best royals.

    Date: 2017-04-04 12:50 pm (UTC)
    the_rck: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] the_rck
    For princess/princess romance aimed at young readers, I recommend Princess Princess Ever After. It's a short graphic novel aimed (in my estimate) at ages 5-8. I thought it was very sweet.

    Date: 2017-04-04 04:33 pm (UTC)
    larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
    From: [personal profile] larryhammer
    *adds to list for littles*

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