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Publisher's Summary

Destiny sees what others don’t.

A quiet fisher mourning the loss of her sister to a cruel dragon. A clever hedge-witch gathering knowledge in a hostile land. A son seeking vengeance for his father's death. A daughter claiming the legacy denied her. A princess laboring under an unbreakable curse. A young resistance fighter questioning everything he's ever known. A little girl willing to battle a dragon for the sake of a wish. These heroes and heroines emerge from adversity into triumph, recognizing they can be more than they ever imagined: chosen ones of destiny.

From the author of the Earthside series and the Rewoven Tales novels, No Man of Woman Born is a collection of seven fantasy stories in which transgender and nonbinary characters subvert and fulfill gendered prophecies. These prophecies recognize and acknowledge each character's gender, even when others do not.

Note: No trans or nonbinary characters were killed in the making of this book. Trigger warnings and neopronoun pronunciation guides are provided for each story.

©2018 Ana Mardoll (P)2018 Ana Mardoll

What listeners say about No Man of Woman Born

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

No man of woman born shall harm Macbeth!

In Shakespeare's play, the prophecy protecting Macbeth is thwarted by the fact that Macduff was not, strictly speaking, born. Instead his mother had a cesarean. Famously, J. R. R. Tolkien took the elements of the play Macbeth and told an entirely different story with them. Instead, the Nazgul Lord, protected by just such a prophecy, is slain by a woman, who is "no man".

Ana Mardoll taps into this centuries old writing prompt and takes them in an entirely new direction, exploring the ways prophecies could be thwarted by heroic trans and genderqueer protagonists. By queering fairytale and fantasy traditions, from the dragon slayer to the enchanted, sleeping princess, Mardoll does important work in creating a more inclusive fantasy genre while telling old stories in fun and exciting new ways.

Both the writing and narration is excellent. "No Man of Woman Born" is well worth the listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Not What I expected

The narrator was great. The stories we're interesting. As a result I will give it a high rating. I didn't like the book because I was expecting a fantasy romance, and this isn't one. It's epic fantasy with dragons, witches, and magic. If that's what you want then this book is for you. But for me I wanted a romance novel, not this.

6 people found this helpful

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derivative and ham handed mostly

most of these stories are flat copies of other tales with the sex of the character changed and or pronouns changed. most missed the mark by virtue of over using attempts at gender neutral pronouns. the face that the pronouns changed between stories hurt the overall experience and made the chosen words sound silly. that said the story of the books name sake hit the mark well and i would like to see it fleshed out more.

1 person found this helpful

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what I needed, when I needed it

a refreshing and vital take on the fantasy genre through a queer lens. my only complaint is that more fantasy novels arent this open about gender and sexuality.

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somewhat repetitive, but still necessary

i am trans, so to see a book of folk tales centered around trans protagonists is something unusual and delightful for me.

ultimately the book was, yes, repetitive, in that it followed the general schema for every anthology entry:

1 there is a problem
2 there is a prophecy about the solution to the problem
3 the protagonists, being trans, somehow fit the prophecy and solve the problem.

and then the story ends, with varying levels of success. while i do think its important that trans people can occasionally be the center of a story, the thing is that i want to see people like me be important for things that dont revolve around our transness. it informs my life, for sure, but i dont want to be picked out by a prophecy because i happen to be trans.

mild nitpick aside, i did like the stories around the genderfluid sleeping beauty (because of the spell lawyering), the trans princess (mostly because of her more complex and relatable relationships with her family) and the questioning character most. i'd try another mardoll book if they build up another relatable trans character that feels like a breathing lived in character like those three. :)

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*chef's kiss*

Finally, some wholesome trans/nonbinary fantasy. I enjoyed these short stories immensely. thank you Ana mardoll for these brilliant characters and thank you Cori for the narration

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It touched my queer, fantasy-loving heart

I give my experience listening to this five stars. It's not Tolkien, but it's good!

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Simply Incredible

The book I never had as a non-binary kid and teen. Absolutely amazing and captivating. I wish there was more!

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This is one of my favorite books

This is one of my favorites. It is probably one of the best books about trans people out there.

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What a great group of retellings

Clean but very emotionally fulfilling storytelling features with non binary characters having a completely different perspective of what would normally be very standard situations for the heteronormative of us. Ana makes even old, well known stories absolute page turners.

What also might be considered cut short endings are absolutely perfectly timed to the real purpose of the stories--these stories are about the inner journey of the main character(s). The standard adventurer need not apply. When that journey for this moment is complete, the story is done. And all are done beautifully well.

The content warnings are also really appreciated as there was one story I was not able to read at this time and it's very helpful for readers not wishing to retraumatize themselves for the sake of trying to enjoy things.