The rise of ebooks has made talking about doorstop books obsolete, and it’s not clear to me whether the term “epic fantasy” is even internally coherent anymore, as it increasingly seems to mean “not urban fantasy.”
This is a book fundamentally about women, but when I got to the end, I still wasn’t sure if trans women were included. I reread and tried to find them in the narrative, but I was left with their looming absence.
If Paris Adrift were merely about a lost girl nearly taking a supernatural escape hatch out of her life, it would be a satisfying—if perhaps rather slight—affair. It's the political aspect of the novel that leaves me unsatisfied and also a little troubled.
Middle-school me would be pleased that adult me still has access to books and worlds in which I can easily imagine myself. With Senlin Ascends, though, I find myself groping for any significance beyond the spectacle.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.