Once, the world lived in harmony. People trusted and aided each other, dreamed freely, and communed with their ancestors. And then one day the eggs appeared. One thousand black eggs, heavy as pure lead, which by some mystical property, provoked greed and violence in all who came in contact with them. A family of brutish men managed to hoard the eggs and build a misogynistic dynasty that held all of the land in an iron grip. Years later, Arna, an orphaned young woman immune to the beguiling power of the eggs, is charged with a monumental mission: hunt down these formidable men, pilfer their eggs, and release the bright from the heavy. Along the way, she falls for the enchanting Sela, who shows her how beautiful the world can be.
From: Fantagraphics Books
Notes on This Title
The main character of this title is a queer woman; we follow her from her youth through to old age. She is in a relationship with a woman with dark skin. A supporting character is a child who was assigned female at birth, but has been raised as a boy.
There are frequent depictions of misogyny, including misogynist language and actions. The term “gender deceiver” is used as a pejorative within the text. This has been tagged with ‘transphobia’, as it represents normative attitudes around gender identity and presentation, although it is never leveled against any characters that are identifiably trans.
Starred Review: “Malkasian’s “once upon a time” parable infuses a Handmaid’s Tale–type set-up with surrealistic charm and bittersweet resolution, reminiscent of Studio Ghibli’s work. Highly recommended for fantasy connoisseurs.” (Source: Library Journal)
“An absolutely beautiful examination of the human condition, and the type of empathy and healing we must lean into if we are to survive into the future.” (Source: AIPT)
“This smart, surrealist work has the appeal of Handmaid’s Tale crossed with Tim Burton.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)