Foxfire In The Snow by J.S. Fields is exactly the book that young folks need when they are questioning their gender identity need. It lays out the complexity of the young non binary person’s quest to find themself. Plus, adding a fantasy element makes it an engaging world to explore.
17 year old Sorin is the heir to a master woodcutter in a world that is defined by guilds and matrilineal inheritance. Being non binary, though, means that Sorin struggles to find their place. They are not the daughter that they are expected to be, nor do they really want to follow their mother’s woodcutting lineage. They are far more interested in becoming an alchemy apprentice and have a natural ability with it.
When their mother does not return home in time for the guild fair and Sorin ends up on the road in search of a future they have put off for far too long. But when they reach the town where the fair should be held they discover that hundreds of guild masters are missing along with the Queen and Sorin’s mother.
Now it is up to Sorin and her childhood friend, Princess Magda, to find out what is going on and restore some kind of order to the guilds in order to save the country of Sorpsi. But dark magics, unexpected twists, industrialisation and people with far more power than they have want to see them fail.
Is there any chance at all that they can save their futures?
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I love the cover, the title and the way Fields writes. Their use of language is particularly good in this book and their descriptions are gorgeous.
The audiobook is narrated by Lynn Norris who also did the Ardulum series by Fields. I loved how different this narration is and how much teen angst Norris managed to inject into Sorin’s character.
There is some violence and the ending is rather abrupt. I would have liked a little more of a wrap up.
This book or audiobook is perfect for any young person who wants to understand the non binary experience. It’s first and foremost an account of the complexities of coming out as non binary in a world that doesn’t understand what that means.
I would have really felt for the character when I was a young person coming to terms with my own sexuality. And from that perspective, I think it’s a must-read for all young people.
From the adult point of view I found the angst a little overdramatic at times. I wanted to just hug them and tell them that it would all work out in the end.
Absolutely get this audiobook for the young people in your life and expose them to the point of view of a young non binary person.
Excerpt from Foxfire In The Snow by J.S. Fields
She frowned. “You do look kind of like the master woodcutter, from Thuja. Anyone ever tell you that?”
“Yeah.” She made a circling motion with her finger around my face. “Same curly black hair, same funny little dimples. Same body shape. You got that curled bow lip thing my husband thinks is beyond attractive.” She snorted.
Guild problems seemed really far away, all of a sudden. I looked down at myself, dripping muddy water, my clothes torn, my brown skin scratched and welted from the wood cart. The binding under my shirt was only sodden, not unraveling, but with my shirt clinging so close, I looked unquestionably female. I’d pass easily enough for a dockworker, but I couldn’t be seen like this. I could not. They would know, the fishmongers and the fruit vendors and the tailors with their treadle machines. They wouldn’t see the woodcutter’s daughter, for I was too covered in grime, but they would see a woman—a girl—and that was wrong.
I’d be a witch before I’d be a woman.
But I couldn’t go to the alchemy fair looking like this, or I’d spend the whole time huddled in a corner, trying to mash my chest down. I needed clothes, and I had a few stones in my pocket—enough to buy the high-quality cotton that had the correct tautness of fabric. I knew where to go—I’d always enjoyed the capital’s textile district back when Mother had let me travel. It was still morning, and the masters wouldn’t leave until sunset. That was plenty of time. I could do this.
With my arms still crossed high—for I would crush my damn breasts if I had to—I thanked the fruit vendor and walked as confidently as I could onto the access road. She called after me with more things to buy, but I forced myself to keep walking. I had to, or I’d spin to shavings. I passed yet more vendors. Some were stationary, and these I could weave around and ignore the calls to purchase, but the ones with pushcarts dogged my heels despite my appearance.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781648903410
Publisher: NineStar Press
Audiobook Publisher: Kat McFearin
Narrator: Lynn Norris
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