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Structured ​around a series of folktale motifs, Valente’s eloquent second full-length poetry collection dissects the perceived roles of women in Earth’s and otherworldly fable and myth. One prevailing theme is women’s subjugation by tradition and ritual in male-dominated societies, as in How Comes This Blood Upon the Key? wherein a wife imprisoned in her own home protests: I did not look/ for a house to become my limbs,/ for cast iron pans to become my joints,/ for doors and keys to become/ the stuff of my blood,/ for a bed to become my face. The young title character in The Child Bride of the Lost City of Ubar is ruthlessly and needlessly sacrificed, and in Glass, Blood, and Ash, a woman’s dream of falling in love with a prince is shattered by harsh reality. Fans of Valente’s Orphan’s Tales duology will find this collection similarly embittered, enlightening and enthralling.

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