Welcome to one of the January 26th stops on the blog tour for Wench by Maxine Kaplan, organized by TBR & Beyond Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for all sorts of other awesome posts including promos, reviews, guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
About the Book
by Maxine Kaplan
Published 19 January 2021
by Amulet Books
Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQIA
Page Count: 400
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Content warning: Some magic in the book involves self-harm.
A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench
Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.
My stop is both a review and a playlist stop on this tour. I’m going to admit something… I’ve never made a playlist for a book before! I compiled the playlist after reading the book, not during, so this is not in any particular order other than starting with the tavern, classic fantasy adventure feeling. I picked out two blockbuster fantasy movie based tracks to set that scene, then moved on to instrumental & nonsense lyrics type music to further illustrate the feeling of reading this book. Then I started thinking of songs with lyrics, so I found a few of those as well! I hope you’ll enjoy this playlist, and I hope those who’ve already read the book don’t think I’m completely out to lunch on this one.
PS. watch the OK Go videos included if you’ve never seen them before, look up the alternate music video for This Too Shall Pass, and then go get lost in the OK Go void if you’ve got time. My personal favourite of their videos, which sadly doesn’t fit the feel of the book, is White Knuckles. (Can you spot the goat?)
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.
I was granted complimentary eARC access via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I am presenting my review as part of the blog tour for this title with TBR & Beyond Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in granting me this opportunity. This has not swayed my opinion; my thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Wench is the story of Tanya, a hardworking woman who finds out that her beloved inn & tavern has been claimed by the crown to fill her old master’s debts, and no record can be found that proves the tavern was left to her. What’s a girl to do? Travel with the Queen’s men to plead her case before the queen, of course! But could the solution really be that simple? Of course not! Prepare for kidnappings, magic, mishaps, and all sorts of unintended adventures along the way!
I absolutely love Tanya as a character. She’s self-assured, witty, and absolutely a force to be reckoned with. She has awesome lines that won my heart right from the beginning, like musing that sometimes “magic” is just common sense and folk knowledge, or when someone asked what she was doing she said, “Thinking, ever try it?” Sassy! So sassy! I love it!
My two big critiques are that this witty lover of common sense gets kidnapped or stuck in completely solvable conundrums far too frequently for the brains she boasts, and there’s a lot of page real estate awarded to simple travelling time. Honestly, it could do with some trimming. It’s currently 400 pages in print length, but I’d say it could be in the 300-350 range quite easily before it loses anything vital.
With that said, I must give major compliments for the LGBTQIA representation layered throughout this book! This book is full of strong women, LGBTQIA representation, and a whole lot of fun. Tanya’s a great main character, but the side characters are brilliant and well filled out as well. I love the magic system, the many places they visit, and just this world in general. I’m not sure that this story in particular needs a sequel, but I would absolutely be interested in reading more in the world.
Overall 3.5-4 stars, very good, solid read. I recommend this to all fans of YA Fantasy, LBGTQIA fantasy, or just YA and LGBTQIA category books in general.
About the Author
Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her dimwitted, but soulful cat.
Her first novel The Accidental Bad Girl received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and will be available in paperback January 5, 2021. Her sophomore novel, Wench, is coming in January 19, 2021.
One person will win a finished copy of Wench. The giveaway starts on January 25th and ends on February 1st. (USA only, sorry!)
Don’t forget to check out other stops on this tour!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.