Beneath the Burning Wave (The Mu Chronicles, Book 1) by Jennifer Hayashi Danns

competencefantasy's review

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challenging dark reflective medium-paced


sarmckay's review

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Honestly this was the most disjointed book I’ve read all year. 

It’s supposed to be this great book about a non-binary, gender neutral society. But it almost immediately splits into “men” and “women” with an emphasis on reproduction and menstruation. 

The pronouns (which would have been fine on their own) are similar to character names, place names, and slang words, which is confusing. 

I DNF’d at the ritual sacrifice scene, which isn’t specially called out in the content warnings (the warnings just say violence).  
Spoiler I don’t really want to read about intestines smacking against the floor and priests beheading the corpses

SpoilerLike the characters Kairi and Kentaro can’t be together bc they can’t reproduce. Oh and mothers are referred to as “carriers” 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

lesbixan's review against another edition

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misogyny wrapped up in gender neutral terms 

emmacharlotte96's review against another edition

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adventurous tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

zionsadv's review

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I wanted to love this book but it was so confusing & it’s not because of the neo-pronouns. It’s because of things like peoples names being similar and the island name being the same as the the neo-pronouns. I appreciate what this book was trying to do as a black trans* person who has used neo-pronouns and is often in community with people like myself. But, it didn’t feel very queer - it actually felt surprisingly cis normative. I think this was because of the emphasis on sex and I also found it strange there was no obvious intersex variations.
There were moments where the book was so interesting and I had to keep reading to know what happened next. It’s very fast paced which made it fascinating but didn’t help my understanding. I want to read this again to see if I can follow it better because I actually think the story is really good.

literary_advdntures_with_gabby's review

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Thanks to @netgalley
& Jennifer Hayashi Danns for the #gifted e-Advanced Reader Copy

This is a really unique YA-fantasy novel. I just loved what it was trying to do. Whilst it might not be for everyone I do think it's worth a go for the unique style

bookishpixie's review

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adventurous challenging emotional reflective slow-paced


The cover really drew me in with this book. However, unfortunately as I waded through water reading this is became the story was less about exploring fluid identifies and more like stick to the binary. The writing wasn't in itself bad. I just feel I was led to believe I reading about something else. I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All of these opinions are my own. #BeneaththeBurningWave #NetGalley

jennieartemis's review

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challenging reflective tense fast-paced


TL;DR: Some interesting experimentation, but a confusing and surprisingly cisnormative execution

Beneath the Burning Wave is a strange one, because I do think it has potential to be a thoughtful and lyrical little work. The problem is I never really felt like I understood what was going on, because a lot of events and relationships are left to implication. The sparse writing style and short chapters could work well, but I just didn't feel like the balance was right between what was explained and what was just mentioned. The use of neopronouns is lovely to see and was not at all hard to process, but how they were used is a little odd. The depicted society still distinguishes between a binary of biological sex and has social requirements for that, so this is not at all about non-binary or genderfluid identity. The book more explores how cis men and women begin united and how that breaks down - an interesting theme, but not a radically queer one. Unfortunately just not the book I was hoping from the premise.

3/10 in personal rating system