In Other Lands by Sarah Rees BrennanIn Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands

bySarah Rees Brennan

Hardcover | August 25, 2017

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The Borderlands aren't like anywhere else. Don't try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border - unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and - best of all as far as Elliot is concerned - mermaids. What's your name?" " Serene." " Serena?" Elliot asked. " Serene," said Serene. "My full name is Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle." Elliot's mouth fell open. "That is badass." Elliot? Who's Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He's smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there's Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there's her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There's even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world. In Other Lands is the exhilarating new book from beloved and bestselling author Sarah Rees Brennan. It's a novel about surviving four years in the most unusual of schools, about friendship, falling in love, diplomacy, and finding your own place in the world - even if it means giving up your phone.Early Reader Reaction"Four years in the life of an unloved English schoolboy who's invited to a secret magical school and learns that even in fantasyland, real life is messier than books. . . . But over the course of four years training among child soldiers, Elliot, unsurprisingly, grows up. His slow development into a genuinely kind person is entirely satisfying, as is his awakening to his own bisexuality and to the colonialism, sexism, and racism of Borderlands society. . . . A stellar . . . wholly rewarding journey." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Elliot Schafer is a small-for-his-age 13-year-old who is prone to being bullied - largely due to his personality, which slots somewhere between insufferable know-it-all and sarcastic jackass. When Elliot's class travels to a 'random field in Devon, England' for a supposed scholarship test, he instead winds up in a strange world known as the Borderlands, which are filled with elves, mermaids, and other creatures. So begins Brennan's hilarious, irreverent, and multilayered coming-of-age fantasy, set over several years. Elliot quickly befriends (and falls for) Serene, a fierce elven warrior, and arranges a reluctant truce with Luke Sunborn, the son of one of the Borderland's founding families. All three - along with every young person there - are training in war or as councilors, charged with protecting the fragile barrier with the human world. Amid shifting relationships, the threat of war, and substantial growth among the characters, Elliot's razor-edged wit and general inability to keep his mouth shut make for blissfully entertaining reading. Smart explorations of gender stereotypes, fluid sexuality, and awkward romance only add to the depth and delight of this glittering contemporary fantasy." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)"I have rewritten the first paragraph of this review a half-dozen times, trying to find some way to make clear that Sarah Rees Brennan has created a nearly perfect YA fantasy without gushing. I can't do it. In Other Lands is brilliantly subversive, assuredly smart, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It combines a magic-world school setting with heaps of snark about everything from teen romance to gender roles, educational systems and serious world diplomacy." - Colleen Mondor, Locus "Brennan brilliantly turns the very genre she occupies on its head with this YA fantasy. In her latest, the human who falls into a magic world isn't a strong, beautiful, charismatic hero. It is Elliot, a hero who might annoy, but who is also the most intensely relatable character to emerge from fantasy lately. For anyone who has ever wondered how they would fare in the fantasy worlds they enjoy reading about, In Other Lands is a novel that might answer that question. Even though Elliot is never painted as a prodigy at any of the new things he encounters, Brennan allows him to be heroic, and in the end, all the happiness he may receive feels earned." - RT Book Reviews (4 stars)"Brennan delivers witty, nervy, romantic adventure that fizzes with feeling and giddy imagination." - Leigh Bardugo, bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom "A subversive, sneaky, glorious tale of magic, longing, and growing into your wings." - Holly Black, author of The Darkest Part of the Forest " In Other Lands is a stunning example of Sarah Rees Brennan's style; her characters are hysterically funny with complex and nuanced inner lives that could break a reader's heart. Elliot, cranky and obnoxious teen that he is, desperately longs to be loved best by someone, but covers with immense sarcasm and general unkindness. Luke and Serene, both exceptionally talented and good-looking, also struggle with feeling displaced. The depiction of misandry in Elf culture is one of the funniest concepts that Rees Brennan has come up, and even that she turns into a deeper lesson for Serene, Elliot, and Luke. In Other Lands can come off as a parody of fantasy, but it delves deep into issues of race, gender, sexuality, and war, and absolutely nails the struggles and triumphs of growing up." - Sami Thomason, Square BooksPraise for Sarah Rees Brennan's books:"Breathtaking - a compulsive, rocketing read." - Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author"Writing with fine control and wit, Sarah Rees Brennan pits an underworld society against privileged overlords. The young golden-haired heroine sparring with her rich boyfriend and his dark-souled shadow-twin lends wry and sexy human interest to the depiction of political struggle. I suspect that word of this magical thriller will pass through the populace with the energy of wind, of fire." - Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg and Spoon "From the pitch-perfect opening paragraph, to the heartbreaking final pages . . . delicious." - Kirkus (starred review)"A sparkling fantasy that will make you laugh and break your heart." - Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author"A darkly funny, deliciously thrilling Gothic." - Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author"Readers will laugh, shiver, and maybe even swoon over this modern Gothic novel." - Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author"Brennan takes the genres of young adult, fantasy, and romance, and through her own writerly, alchemical process converts them into something new and strange and lovely." - Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble "A laugh-out-loud delight." - Publishers Weekly ". . . a charming protagonist - full of vinegar and spice. Fans of romantic fantasy will devour it." - VOYA "Punctuated throughout with keen humor and heartbreaking emotional resonance, it's a stunner." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)"This dark-fantasy-meets-romance will have readers hooked." - The Horn Book Cover and interior illustrations by Carolyn Nowak."
Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland and now travels the world writing, teaching and confusing locals. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Tell the Wind and Fire and the Lynburn Legacy and Demon's Lexicon series, among other works. Carolyn Nowak graduated from the University of Michigan's School of A...
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Title:In Other LandsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.38 inPublished:August 25, 2017Publisher:Small Beer PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1618731203

ISBN - 13:9781618731203

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious read with lovable characters My favorite part was just how funny the book was. Elliot is so hilariously annoying and sarcastic. The author also uses some satire as well. My only problem with this was sometimes it was a little overdone, and sometimes Elliot was just plain mean that it wasn't funny anymore (but he grows some tact). The characters all developed so wonderfully as they aged, especially Elliot. If you're looking for something like Harry Potter or other YA fantasy, this isn't a really fantasy-focused novel. It mostly focuses on relationships and the development of Elliot. Despite it not being about "discovering a new world" or "defeating the enemy," this unique approach is actually very refreshing. Because realistically, a 10-year old isn't going to save the world. But don't misunderstand, the world building was still phenomenal, and still gives you some fight scenes and the wonderment of fantasy. But I like how it also tactfully sneaks in some messages that you would never find anywhere else. Like the importance of diplomacy instead of fighting, or colonialism. Overall, loved this book!
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I didn't want it to end This is such a fun book. The characters are endearing and feel real. Despite the "magic school" premise, the whole book feels fresh and unique. I really loved it!
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious and witty I read this book online before it went through the publishing overhaul and all the changes made just made it cleverer. The basic premise is pretty familiar but immediately unique with the "so, we have magic powers because we CAN'T walk through a wall?" and it gets better from there. The fantasy of this book is awesomely done and honestly? Enviable. And above all, the writing is funny and true to life. Some of the plot at the end, when things were really coming together, really hit me in the heart. The realities of not knowing how to properly related to other people because of our difficulties was perfectly stated. It was expertly done. Seriously though, read this book. You won't regret it. And I say that as somebody who hasn't bought a book before this in over a year.
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from pure joy Portal fantasies have been around for a long time now, books where our hero steps through a magical door/wall/wardrobe/dumpster and into a world not their own. Elliot is the hero I have been waiting for: prickly, undersized, by turns amazed and horrified by the new realities of his life. "Have you no ways to make her better faster?" Elliot asked. "This is a magical fantasy land. Have you no mystical unguents?" The medic gave him a flat look. "What." "Be straight with me here," said Elliot. "Do we have aspirin?" "No," said the medic. Elliot is bad at making friends, but his friendships are the heart of this story. I cheered watching him falteringly learn how to trust and love (and run away, very very fast). I read the book three times in a row. The thing about In Other Lands is that it's everything I never knew I needed, exactly at the time I needed it. Grim reality is a bit hard to take right now, and although there are some grim events in this book, the story carries along on a tide of joy. It is FUN to read, and it made me laugh and feel hopeful; I can think of no better gift right now. I desperately want other people to read it. I would follow you around with a copy if I could, pestering you until you agreed just to shut me up (like Elliot, I have No Chill). #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-04

Editorial Reviews

All of it is harrowing - and written in such heart-stoppingly beautiful language there's a good chance readers will ignore the plot and spend a few hours just chewing on the words, slowly, to draw out the flavor. Then they'll need to read it again. Fortunately, this is a short book; also fortunately, there's a lot of novel packed into relatively few pages. A highly recommended indulgence."- N. K. Jemisin,New York Times Book Review"Like an alchemist, Sofia Samatar spins golden landscapes and dazzling sentences. . . . The Winged Histories is a fantasy novel for those who take their sentences with the same slow, unfolding beauty as a cup of jasmine tea, and for adventurers like Tav, who are willing to charge ahead into the unknown."-Shelf Awareness (starred review)"Pleasantly startling and unexpected. Her prose is by turns sharp and sumptuous, and always perfectly controlled. Samatar's writing strongly recalls Guy Gavriel Kay's fantasy, which reads like historical fiction, but there are strains here too of Jane Austen and something wilder."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Throughout it all, Samatar ponders weighty questions. "What is the difference between a king and a monster?" Tialon asks; "What is music?" wonders Seren. But Histories isn't a book about easy answers, any more than it's driven by plot. It's circuitous and hypnotic, told through flashbacks, meditations, and stories within stories. Tialon pores over a history book written by her aunt; Seren sifts through the traditional songs she sings. Rather than being distractions, these nested texts ringwith lyricism."At the same time, they underscore one of Samatar's profound themes: how words make us, every bit as much as we make them. At one point Seren, waxing philosophical about the distinction between sorcery and literacy in Olondria, says that writing is "like riding a horse to go somewhere instead of walking. You go to the same place, but you can carry more." Accordingly, Samatar carries a great deal with her in the pages of The Winged Histories: beauty, wonder, and a soaring paean to the powerof story."- Jason Heller, NPR"Told by four different women, it is a story of war; not epic battles of good and evil, but the attempt to make things right and the realities of violence wielded by one human against another, by one group against another. It's about the aftermath of war, in which some things are better but others are worse. Above all, it's a story about love-the terrible love that tears lives apart. Doomed love; impossible love; love that requires a rewriting of the rules, be it for a country, a person, ora story."- Jenn Northington, Tor.com'An imaginative, poetic, and dark meditation on how history gets made.'-Hello Beautiful"This book. This perfect book." - Amal El-Mohtar,LightspeedIf you love stories but distrust them, if you love language and can also see how it is used as a tool or a weapon in the maintenance of status quo, then read The Winged Histories."- Marion Deeds,Fantasy Literature"Tav, a teenage girl from the House of Telkan, 'the most exalted bloodline' in Olondria, has run away to become a swordmaiden in the army. As she fights alongside the men, she realizes the war is a distraction while the ruling branch of her family subjugates her native kingdom, Kestenya, and surrounding territories. . . . Samatar is a writer of uncommon beauty, and she takes a genre that has historically tended to focus on the heroic exploits of men and shows how those exploits involve and affect women. This novel teaches us the importance of giving voice to experience and bearing witness; as one character says, writing is less about words than 'how we are written into one another. How this is history.' A lyrical immersion into a finely wrought world." -Kirkus Reviews"Samatar has created characters that you will carry around with you for weeks (months?). If you love strong voices, world-building, and books that tell hard truths with beautiful language, these are for you." - Jenn Northington,Book Riot"Samatar's use of poetic yet unpretentious language makes her one of the best writers of today. Reading her books is like sipping very rich mulled wine. The worldbuilding and characterization is exquisite. This suspenseful and elegiac book discusses the lives of fictional women in a fantasy setting who fear their histories will be lost in a way that is only too resonant with the hidden histories of women in our own age.' -Romantic Times Book Reviews"In 2013 Sophia Samatar'sA Stranger in Olondria introduced us to new world described with such poetic verve that is has since become a living classic of fantasy fiction. With her new book,The Winged Histories, Samatar's great storytelling talent and wickedly beautiful prose takes us to an Olondria wracked by war. Despite this bloody and turbulent time, four women will have their voices resonate above the fray. Their stories and the stories they tell themselves are vivid portraits of women willing to challenge the conventional and fighting in myriad ways to be remembered. Samatar's creative use of a section titled "A Common History" unites the voices of these women to unrelated yet connected people or events which adds an emotive depth to the story. She also includes a richly imagined mythology that is shared by the characters, a scintillating vein of ideas bringing such beauty and darkness, but that helps us understand unearthly changes need to be embraced, despite our fears, in order to be truly free."- Raul M. Chapa, BookPeople, Austin, TX"Can I smear tears on a piece of paper and call that a review? This was GORGEOUS and emotionally bruising and so so wonderful and engaging and many other perfect words. There is so much world-building, a fascinating mythology, and beautiful language (I'm trying not to yell about Seren's little language lessons). There are amazing epigraphs, which I'm always a huge fan of. Samatar winds the stories of four very different women through a monumental period of Olondrian history, and it's one ofthe best reading experiences I've had in the last year. Poetic and bloody, lovely and dark, this is a book to be SAVORED, and I will be re-reading it again soon, at a much slower pace."- Allison Senecal, Book Shop of Fort Collins"Sofia Samatar's work is a revelation. Her prose has only become richer and more assured between her debut novel and this follow-up.The Winged Histories gives the stories of four women whose stories are linked by the events that shape them (and that they help to shape). The contexts of the complicated class and national histories the inform these women is described in such clear detail that I feel that I know them all, their histories and their inner realities. Amazing, incredible, lush, emotionally rich, politically fascinating, this is one of the most satisfying novels I have picked up in ages. It begs the reader in each moment to consider how histories are created, and the costs and inequalities behind how we all must fight to be a part of history, however it gets written."- Gretchen Treu, A Room of One's Own, Madison, WI'A nuanced and subtle tale of war, love, duty, family, and honor. It's like polyphony-a chorus of voices singing different melodies, sometimes at odds, but ultimately harmonious. And moving. And exciting. Have I mentioned exciting?'- Delia Sherman'Sparse and magical, beautiful and terrible;The Winged Histories is a story spun out of stories and the lives of fierce women, each a warrior in her own right.'- Nalo Hopkinson'A brightly moving narrative that crystallizes into scenes as delicate, hard, and changing as ice, that rises up to meet four women in the midst of warfare, and the most devastating kinds of devotion and rebellion. It is astonishing what The Winged Histories does with language, what it does as a novel.'- Amina Cain, author ofCreaturePraise forA Stranger in Olondria"It's the rare first novel with no unnecessary parts ? and, in terms of its elegant language, its sharp insights into believable characters, and its almost revelatory focus on the value and meaning of language and story, it's the most impressive and intelligent first novel I expect to see this year, or perhaps for a while longer."-Locus"The excerpt from Sofia Samatar's compelling novelA Stranger in Olondria should be enough to make you run out and buy the book. Just don't overlook her short "Selkie Stories Are for Losers," the best story about loss and love and selkies I've read in years."- K. Tempest Bradford, NPR"Sofia Samatar's debut fantasyA Stranger in Olondria is gloriously vivid and rich."- Adam Roberts,The Guardian, Best Science Fiction Books of 2013"Books can limit our experiences and reinforce the structures of empire. They can also transport us outside existing structures. The same book may do both in different ways or for different people. Samatar has written a novel that captures the ecstasy and pain of encountering the world through books, showing us bits and pieces of our contemporary world while also transporting us into a new one."-Bookslut"The novel is full of subtle ideas and questions that never quite get answered. It is those dichotomies that lie at the heart of this novel, such as what is superstition and what is magic? How much do class and other prejudices affect how we view someone's religion? Jevick often believes himself above such things, as does the current religious regime of Olondria, but in a way both are haunted until they believe. . . . Samatar gives us no easy answers and there are no villains in the book - simply ordinary people doing what they believe is right.- io9.com'As you might expect (or hope) from a novel that is in part about the painting of worlds with words, the prose inStranger is glorious. Whether through imaginative individual word choices-my favourite here being the merchants rendered 'delirious' by their own spices . . . Samatar is adept at evoking place, mood, and the impact of what is seen on the one describing it for us.'­-Strange Horizons"With characteristic wit, poise, and eloquence, Samatar delivers a story about our vulnerability to language and literature, and the simultaneous experience of power and surrender inherent in the acts of writing and reading."- Amal El-Mohtar, Tor.com"Samatar's sensual descriptions create a rich, strange landscape, allowing a lavish adventure to unfold that is haunting and unforgettable."-Library Journal (*starred review*)'Sofia Samatar has an expansive imagination, a poetic and elegant style, and she writes stories so rich, with characters so full of life, they haunt you long after the story ends. A real pleasure.'- Chris Abani, author ofGraceLand andThe Virgin of Flames"Mesmerizing-a sustained and dreamy enchantment.A Stranger in Olondria reminds both Samatar's characters and her readers of the way stories make us long for far-away, even imaginary, places and how they also bring us home again."- Karen Joy Fowler,New York Times bestselling author ofWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves"Let the world take note of this dazzling and accomplished fantasy. Sofia Samatar's debut novel is both exhilarating epic adventure and loving invocation of what it means to live through story, poetry, language. She writes like the heir of Ursula K. Le Guin and Gene Wolfe."- Kelly Link, author ofGet in Trouble"Imagine an inlaid cabinet, its drawers within drawers filled with spices, roses, amulets, bright cities, bones, and shadows. Sofia Samatar is a merchant of wonders, and herA Stranger in Olondria is a bookshop of dreams."- Greer Gilman, author ofCloud & Ashes "All of it is harrowing -- and written in such heart-stoppingly beautiful language there'apos;s a good chance readers will ignore the plot and spend a few hours just chewing on the words, slowly, to draw out the flavor. Then they'apos;ll need to read it again. Fortunately, this is a short book; also fortunately, there'apos;s a lot of novel packed into relatively few pages. A highly recommended indulgence."-- N. K. Jemisin,New York Times Book Review"Like an alchemist, Sofia Samatar spins golden landscapes and dazzling sentences. . . . The Winged Histories is a fantasy novel for those who take their sentences with the same slow, unfolding beauty as a cup of jasmine tea, and for adventurers like Tav, who are willing to charge ahead into the unknown."--Shelf Awareness (starred review)"Pleasantly startling and unexpected. Her prose is by turns sharp and sumptuous, and always perfectly controlled. Samatar's writing strongly recalls Guy Gavriel Kay's fantasy, which reads like historical fiction, but there are strains here too of Jane Austen and something wilder."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Throughout it all, Samatar ponders weighty questions. "What is the difference between a king and a monster?" Tialon asks; "What is music?" wonders Seren. But Histories isn't a book about easy answers, any more than it's driven by plot. It's circuitous and hypnotic, told through flashbacks, meditations, and stories within stories. Tialon pores over a history book written by her aunt; Seren sifts through the traditional songs she sings. Rather than being distractions, these nested texts ringwith lyricism."At the same time, they underscore one of Samatar's profound themes: how words make us, every bit as much as we make them. At one point Seren, waxing philosophical about the distinction between sorcery and literacy in Olondria, says that writing is "like riding a horse to go somewhere instead of walking. You go to the same place, but you can carry more." Accordingly, Samatar carries a great deal with her in the pages of The Winged Histories: beauty, wonder, and a soaring paean to the powerof story."-- Jason Heller, NPR"Told by four different women, it is a story of war; not epic battles of good and evil, but the attempt to make things right and the realities of violence wielded by one human against another, by one group against another. It'apos;s about the aftermath of war, in which some things are better but others are worse. Above all, it'apos;s a story about love--the terrible love that tears lives apart. Doomed love; impossible love; love that requires a rewriting of the rules, be it for a country, aperson, or a story."-- Jenn Northington, Tor.com"An imaginative, poetic, and dark meditation on how history gets made."--Hello Beautiful"This book. This perfect book." -- Amal El-Mohtar,LightspeedIf you love stories but distrust them, if you love language and can also see how it is used as a tool or a weapon in the maintenance of status quo, then read The Winged Histories."-- Marion Deeds,Fantasy Literature"Tav, a teenage girl from the House of Telkan, 'the most exalted bloodline'apos; in Olondria, has run away to become a swordmaiden in the army. As she fights alongside the men, she realizes the war is a distraction while the ruling branch of her family subjugates her native kingdom, Kestenya, and surrounding territories. . . . Samatar is a writer of uncommon beauty, and she takes a genre that has historically tended to focus on the heroic exploits of men and shows how those exploits involveand affect women. This novel teaches us the importance of giving voice to experience and bearing witness; as one character says, writing is less about words than 'how we are written into one another. How this is history.'apos; A lyrical immersion into a finely wrought world." --Kirkus Reviews"Samatar has created characters that you will carry around with you for weeks (months?). If you love strong voices, world-building, and books that tell hard truths with beautiful language, these are for you." -- Jenn Northington,Book Riot"Samatar'apos;s use of poetic yet unpretentious language makes her one of the best writers of today. Reading her books is like sipping very rich mulled wine. The worldbuilding and characterization is exquisite. This suspenseful and elegiac book discusses the lives of fictional women in a fantasy setting who fear their histories will be lost in a way that is only too resonant with the hidden histories of women in our own age." --Romantic Times Book Reviews"In 2013 Sophia Samatar'sA Stranger in Olondria introduced us to new world described with such poetic verve that is has since become a living classic of fantasy fiction. With her new book,The Winged Histories, Samatar's great storytelling talent and wickedly beautiful prose takes us to an Olondria wracked by war. Despite this bloody and turbulent time, four women will have their voices resonate above the fray. Their stories and the stories they tell themselves are vivid portraits of women willing to challenge the conventional and fighting in myriad ways to be remembered. Samatar's creative use of a section titled "A Common History" unites the voices of these women to unrelated yet connected people or events which adds an emotive depth to the story. She also includes a richly imagined mythology that is shared by the characters, a scintillating vein of ideas bringing such beauty and darkness, but that helps us understand unearthly changes need to be embraced, despite our fears, in order to be truly free."-- Raul M. Chapa, BookPeople, Austin, TX"Can I smear tears on a piece of paper and call that a review? This was GORGEOUS and emotionally bruising and so so wonderful and engaging and many other perfect words. There is so much world-building, a fascinating mythology, and beautiful language (I'm trying not to yell about Seren's little language lessons). There are amazing epigraphs, which I'm always a huge fan of. Samatar winds the stories of four very different women through a monumental period of Olondrian history, and it's one ofthe best reading experiences I've had in the last year. Poetic and bloody, lovely and dark, this is a book to be SAVORED, and I will be re-reading it again soon, at a much slower pace."-- Allison Senecal, Book Shop of Fort Collins"Sofia Samatar's work is a revelation. Her prose has only become richer and more assured between her debut novel and this follow-up.The Winged Histories gives the stories of four women whose stories are linked by the events that shape them (and that they help to shape). The contexts of the complicated class and national histories the inform these women is described in such clear detail that I feel that I know them all, their histories and their inner realities. Amazing, incredible, lush, emotionally rich, politically fascinating, this is one of the most satisfying novels I have picked up in ages. It begs the reader in each moment to consider how histories are created, and the costs and inequalities behind how we all must fight to be a part of history, however it gets written."-- Gretchen Treu, A Room of One's Own, Madison, WI"A nuanced and subtle tale of war, love, duty, family, and honor. It'apos;s like polyphony--a chorus of voices singing different melodies, sometimes at odds, but ultimately harmonious. And moving. And exciting. Have I mentioned exciting?"-- Delia Sherman"Sparse and magical, beautiful and terrible;The Winged Histories is a story spun out of stories and the lives of fierce women, each a warrior in her own right."-- Nalo Hopkinson"A brightly moving narrative that crystallizes into scenes as delicate, hard, and changing as ice, that rises up to meet four women in the midst of warfare, and the most devastating kinds of devotion and rebellion. It is astonishing what The Winged Histories does with language, what it does as a novel."-- Amina Cain, author ofCreaturePraise forA Stranger in Olondria"It'apos;s the rare first novel with no unnecessary parts - and, in terms of its elegant language, its sharp insights into believable characters, and its almost revelatory focus on the value and meaning of language and story, it'apos;s the most impressive and intelligent first novel I expect to see this year, or perhaps for a while longer."--Locus"The excerpt from Sofia Samatar's compelling novelA Stranger in Olondria should be enough to make you run out and buy the book. Just don't overlook her short "Selkie Stories Are for Losers," the best story about loss and love and selkies I've read in years."-- K. Tempest Bradford, NPR"Sofia Samatar's debut fantasyA Stranger in Olondria is gloriously vivid and rich."-- Adam Roberts,The Guardian, Best Science Fiction Books of 2013"Books can limit our experiences and reinforce the structures of empire. They can also transport us outside existing structures. The same book may do both in different ways or for different people. Samatar has written a novel that captures the ecstasy and pain of encountering the world through books, showing us bits and pieces of our contemporary world while also transporting us into a new one."--Bookslut"The novel is full of subtle ideas and questions that never quite get answered. It is those dichotomies that lie at the heart of this novel, such as what is superstition and what is magic? How much do class and other prejudices affect how we view someone'apos;s religion? Jevick often believes himself above such things, as does the current religious regime of Olondria, but in a way both are haunted until they believe. . . . Samatar gives us no easy answers and there are no villains in the book -- simply ordinary people doing what they believe is right.-- io9.com"As you might expect (or hope) from a novel that is in part about the painting of worlds with words, the prose inStranger is glorious. Whether through imaginative individual word choices--my favourite here being the merchants rendered "delirious" by their own spices . . . Samatar is adept at evoking place, mood, and the impact of what is seen on the one describing it for us."--Strange Horizons"With characteristic wit, poise, and eloquence, Samatar delivers a story about our vulnerability to language and literature, and the simultaneous experience of power and surrender inherent in the acts of writing and reading."-- Amal El-Mohtar, Tor.com"Samatar's sensual descriptions create a rich, strange landscape, allowing a lavish adventure to unfold that is haunting and unforgettable."--Library Journal (*starred review*)"Sofia Samatar has an expansive imagination, a poetic and elegant style, and she writes stories so rich, with characters so full of life, they haunt you long after the story ends. A real pleasure."-- Chris Abani, author ofGraceLand andThe Virgin of Flames"Mesmerizing--a sustained and dreamy enchantment.A Stranger in Olondria reminds both Samatar's characters and her readers of the way stories make us long for far-away, even imaginary, places and how they also bring us home again."-- Karen Joy Fowler,New York Times bestselling author ofWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves"Let the world take note of this dazzling and accomplished fantasy. Sofia Samatar's debut novel is both exhilarating epic adventure and loving invocation of what it means to live through story, poetry, language. She writes like the heir of Ursula K. Le Guin and Gene Wolfe."-- Kelly Link, author ofGet in Trouble"Imagine an inlaid cabinet, its drawers within drawers filled with spices, roses, amulets, bright cities, bones, and shadows. Sofia Samatar is a merchant of wonders, and herA Stranger in Olondria is a bookshop of dreams."-- Greer Gilman, author ofCloud & Ashes"