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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 quee 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. Content warning: Some magic in the book involves self-harm.  


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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 quee 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. Content warning: Some magic in the book involves self-harm.  

30 review for Wench

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    September Tier List Video is up! Check it out for all my September reads! The Written Review Tanya the Tavern Wench has always known where life would take her. Her guardian has been training her from the moment she was informally adopted to taking over the tavern. And honestly? She's loved it. There's nothing more satisfying than a well-ran tavern - the food served hot an' fresh, the ale cool an' delicious, the barfights entertaining but nondamaging...she could go on (and on) (and on). But September Tier List Video is up! Check it out for all my September reads! The Written Review Tanya the Tavern Wench has always known where life would take her. Her guardian has been training her from the moment she was informally adopted to taking over the tavern. And honestly? She's loved it. There's nothing more satisfying than a well-ran tavern - the food served hot an' fresh, the ale cool an' delicious, the barfights entertaining but nondamaging...she could go on (and on) (and on). But when her guardian unexpectedly dies...Tanya finds herself unexpectedly out of a tavern. She was never formally named the tavern's heir and by queen's law, she has no claim to her home. Well...that just won't do. So Tanya hikes up her skirts and starts walking. If the Queen is the only one who can save her tavern then that that's exactly where Tanya will go! Overall - I felt like this one worked really well. I loved Tanya as a main character - she felt so relatable and down-to-earth. She was such a cool person to follow around for this story. Her banter with the other characters was spot on and would completely make every scene. The plot itself was pretty wild. When I picked this one up, I thought we were just going on an adventure. But the book deviates into magical thieves, magic, feathery quills, Queenly assistants, dark-and-infectious magic and so much more. It was a bit much at times but never overwhelming. I can honestly say I had no idea where the plot was going next but I was excited for that. All in all, this was an amazing book! More videos featuring this book! New week, new BookTube Video - all about the books sent to me in July and August! I'm LOVING the sound of this one. A huge thank you to Netgalley and Amulet books for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This book is surprisingly promising debut and there are too many positive attributes made me enjoy it mostly. Here are the things which truly attracted my attention: Tanya is strong, brave and adamant character you proudly call her a real heroine! She earned the trust of her guardian with her hard work and after he suddenly passes away without leaving a will pointing the next proprietor of the tavern, she is determined enough to talk with Queen to change things because she has every right and ev This book is surprisingly promising debut and there are too many positive attributes made me enjoy it mostly. Here are the things which truly attracted my attention: Tanya is strong, brave and adamant character you proudly call her a real heroine! She earned the trust of her guardian with her hard work and after he suddenly passes away without leaving a will pointing the next proprietor of the tavern, she is determined enough to talk with Queen to change things because she has every right and every capability to manage the possession of the place which takes her to the dangerous journey results with finding a magical object. This object gives her the leverage and power against her enemies. Second thing I enjoyed about the book: I loved LGBTQ representation and I wish instead of getting some snippets, we may get more serious and long F/F romance parts. Third positive thing about the novel: The supporting characters are sooo lovely. I like those powerful, cheerful, strong women’s stories and their true desires to chase their dreams and raise their voices for equal rights. The feminism vibes with fantastic premise worked so well in this story. But here are the negative things that bugged me about the story telling: The inconsistencies and the aimless story progression, slow pacing were a little disappointing factors for me to lower my points. For so many times I felt lost and I couldn’t see where the story’s direction exactly went. I decided to give three stars but I have to admit even though this is the first book of the author: I loved her ideas and her skilled character development. I only unliked the story’s bumpy direction. I still want to read future books of hers. Special thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS KIDS/ Amulet Books for sharing this unique ARC in exchange my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    This one was fun with a great main character!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Renaissance Kate

    Setting aside at 53%. This book had a lot of promise, but sadly the pacing and flow were too bizarre for me. So much happens and so many characters were introduced in the first half that just as I would get accustomed to what was happening, it would go in a different direction. This made the story less engaging and the characters difficult to connect with. That being said, the world and magic of this story are fun, so it might just be that this book isn't for me right now. You might enjoy it if y Setting aside at 53%. This book had a lot of promise, but sadly the pacing and flow were too bizarre for me. So much happens and so many characters were introduced in the first half that just as I would get accustomed to what was happening, it would go in a different direction. This made the story less engaging and the characters difficult to connect with. That being said, the world and magic of this story are fun, so it might just be that this book isn't for me right now. You might enjoy it if you give it a chance! Thank you to ABRAMS Kids/ Amulet Books via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: bi mc, wlw li, gay side characters CWs: magic involving self harm Galley provided by publisher If I wanted to compare Wench to any other fantasy novel, I would choose to compare it to The Princess Bride. It has that same sort of irreverence and light-heartedness to it, but with a darker undercurrent. And that is primarily what I loved about it. In the story, we follow Tanya, a tavern wench, whose guardian dies suddenly and then she loses her tavern when the Queen On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: bi mc, wlw li, gay side characters CWs: magic involving self harm Galley provided by publisher If I wanted to compare Wench to any other fantasy novel, I would choose to compare it to The Princess Bride. It has that same sort of irreverence and light-heartedness to it, but with a darker undercurrent. And that is primarily what I loved about it. In the story, we follow Tanya, a tavern wench, whose guardian dies suddenly and then she loses her tavern when the Queen’s Guard commandeers it, for unknown reasons. Wanting to get her tavern back, she embarks on a journey to request an audience with the Queen. Her journey is somewhat complicated by the fact she has to travel with said guard, the appearance of a band of robbers, and a magic feather. The book splits into two parts, and I think it would be safe to say that divide is also mirrored in my thoughts about it. It isn’t that I loved one and hated the other, but more that one I enjoyed and the other… well. I enjoyed less? I guess? Primarily the difference between the parts was a matter of pacing. A lot happens in part one, so much so that you could probably see part one as a complete story in and of itself. And because a lot happens and the pacing is rapid, part two definitely comes off as slower in comparison. But the problem, I think, is that the second part starts right when you might ordinarily expect everything to start kicking up a notch. As such, what you get is this transition from an intense and action-packed section, to something that is much less so (both in what happens in it, and in that it’s the start of a new stage of Tanya’s life). And it didn’t really fit overall. Pacing aside, I also sometimes struggled with Tanya’s motivations. As in, sometimes her actions do not feel as though they stem from her previously established motivations and worldviews. At one point, she tells another character that she only sees him as an asset to her, but I couldn’t tell you where that came from. Yes, there are a couple of times it’s specifically mentioned that she’s closed herself off to friendship, but it’s that old adage of show don’t tell. I felt that, in between being told this, I wasn’t also being explicitly shown it. If it all hinges on Tanya’s inability to accept love, then I need to be shown that throughout rather than realising right near the end that’s what’s going on here. I guess this ties into my next point, which is that sometimes the world felt at minimum under-described, if not occasionally under-developed. Primarily this is about the magic system in place. Now, I don’t mean to say I wanted massive amounts of exposition, but I did want more than I got. It’s all very well dropping me into a world and not explaining, but you still have to describe it enough I understand it. I feel as though this is exemplified by the fact that, over 80% into the book, a patron god of criminals was mentioned. Despite not having made mention of any sort of patron god beforehand. One final thing: at the start, there felt like way too many potential love interests (I counted four. In fact, it was pretty much everyone who was around Tanya’s age). And yes, two of them were actually gay, but they were still framed in the same way as the actual love interests. And by framed, I mean, it was entirely conceivable (up until the moment they were shown to be gay) that they could have been endgame with Tanya. So that was definitely weird. As much as I have seemingly complained throughout this review, though, I did really enjoy this book. It was a fun, low(ish)-stakes fantasy! It was just that those things I noted above probably dragged my enjoyment down a little.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)

    dnf - 35% I wanted to enjoy Wench a lot more than I did. The premise was excellent, the cover was fun, and I'm always up for an unapologetically feminist story! Unfortunately, the strange pacing of the book prevented me from connecting with the characters and plot. Tanya could have been a fun main character. The motivation of going on a quest to save her tavern was one that I was excited to read. Instead, I found it lacking. Her caretaker dies in the first scene, and pretty soon she's on her adve dnf - 35% I wanted to enjoy Wench a lot more than I did. The premise was excellent, the cover was fun, and I'm always up for an unapologetically feminist story! Unfortunately, the strange pacing of the book prevented me from connecting with the characters and plot. Tanya could have been a fun main character. The motivation of going on a quest to save her tavern was one that I was excited to read. Instead, I found it lacking. Her caretaker dies in the first scene, and pretty soon she's on her adventure. As much as I understand the need to get the story going, I didn't feel a hint of emotion at Tanya losing everything she's ever known. I didn't get to understand what the tavern meant to her, we were told, but never shown. The first half of this book features all over the place action and an introduction to the main characters. It was exhausting. Tanya was being pulled in lots of different directions, but she was often reacting to events rather than taking initiative for herself. That mixed with a lack of understandable motivation made me lose interest very quickly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Cover > Book. The premise for Wench was a good one, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up to expectations. I was expecting something akin to perhaps Daughter of the Pirate King, but this one lacks that level of cleverness and the humor misses most of the time. The magical system is fine, nothing special, nothing atrociously bad. But the story, which could have been a fun, rip-roaring adventure, is more of a dull slog peppered with moments of obnoxiousness. Part of the problem is that the heroi Cover > Book. The premise for Wench was a good one, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up to expectations. I was expecting something akin to perhaps Daughter of the Pirate King, but this one lacks that level of cleverness and the humor misses most of the time. The magical system is fine, nothing special, nothing atrociously bad. But the story, which could have been a fun, rip-roaring adventure, is more of a dull slog peppered with moments of obnoxiousness. Part of the problem is that the heroine is just a touch irritating. Our girl has skills, to be sure, but while striving for snappy confidence, she comes off more as shrill and overcompensating. She annoys far more than she impresses, despite the fact that her skill set and character traits ought to make her winning and lovable. The book also skews very young on the young adult scale. This is not of course punishable in a review, but does make me feel compelled to warn off the adult faction of the YA audience. The drama and antics feel juvenile, and the writing is very simplistic. *I receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Wench by Maxine Kaplan is a fun younger YA feminist fantasy that follows a character type that we rarely ever get to see lead their own story in the genre. Tanya is a tavern wench. She may not be the chosen one, a princess, an assassin, or a thief, but she is very good at what she does and finds herself on an unexpected adventure to see the queen anyway when her guardian, the tavern's proprietor, dies without a will and without na I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Wench by Maxine Kaplan is a fun younger YA feminist fantasy that follows a character type that we rarely ever get to see lead their own story in the genre. Tanya is a tavern wench. She may not be the chosen one, a princess, an assassin, or a thief, but she is very good at what she does and finds herself on an unexpected adventure to see the queen anyway when her guardian, the tavern's proprietor, dies without a will and without naming a successor (which deserves to be Tanya herself) to get the deed the business put in her name. While the book is uneven in terms of pacing, Tanya herself really makes the story work. Like I said, she's very good at what she does, is a hard worker, and has a sharp sense of humor all of which I greatly appreciated. In the long run, though, the novel doesn't work out as well as I would have hoped and as much as it should have. The pacing is all over the place and the story itself is inconsistent in places. Plus, the world-building is a little too thin for my tastes as well. Overall, I don't feel like I have a broad enough of a view of characters and the world they inhabit to really become invested in them. Maxine Kaplan's Wench never quite hits the mark that it's aiming for but it still manages to be a fun ride.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    I wanted to love this book but I just didn't. The concept of the fantasy world was cool, but I didn't really like the characters and found the story overly confusing for the most part. While twists and turns in a plot are fun, this wasn't so much twists and turns as it was a zigzag. I wanted to love this book but I just didn't. The concept of the fantasy world was cool, but I didn't really like the characters and found the story overly confusing for the most part. While twists and turns in a plot are fun, this wasn't so much twists and turns as it was a zigzag.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I thought I would really enjoy this book but there was just way too much going on and not enough interesting characters. The magic in this book was interesting enough but I never really found myself getting curious about it and wanting to know more. The plot was packed with too much and I felt like I simultaneously slogged and raced through it. None of the characters were memorable and I didn't rea I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I thought I would really enjoy this book but there was just way too much going on and not enough interesting characters. The magic in this book was interesting enough but I never really found myself getting curious about it and wanting to know more. The plot was packed with too much and I felt like I simultaneously slogged and raced through it. None of the characters were memorable and I didn't really care for Tanya. She was supposed to be a strong feminist lead but instead she came across as annoying and inconsistent. There was a lot of potential for this book but it just didn't work out for me. I did like the LGBTQ representation, the body positivity, and the general idea that you should do what you love and fight for your right to do it. Based on this book, I don't know that I would rush to read anything else from this author. It felt a bit more juvenile than YA and I found myself growing bored the more I read. It's a good idea for a story but the book itself wasn't for me. Full review: https://picturethisliteraturecom.word...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katya de Becerra

    YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    This sounds SO GOOD!! It's also got Big Hostess Quickly Vibes, which I'm so here for! This sounds SO GOOD!! It's also got Big Hostess Quickly Vibes, which I'm so here for!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I received a free copy from Amulet Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As a foundling, Tanya is taken in by Froud who offers her a roof and a purpose. Tanya’s purpose becomes the running of the tavern, the Smiling Snake, particularly as Froud’s health declines. But when Froud dies, Tanya finds that the Smiling Snake has not been willed to her and the Queen’s corpsmen offer a writ of ownership that takes away the tavern while all of her supplies are reappropriated. Tanya sees I received a free copy from Amulet Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As a foundling, Tanya is taken in by Froud who offers her a roof and a purpose. Tanya’s purpose becomes the running of the tavern, the Smiling Snake, particularly as Froud’s health declines. But when Froud dies, Tanya finds that the Smiling Snake has not been willed to her and the Queen’s corpsmen offer a writ of ownership that takes away the tavern while all of her supplies are reappropriated. Tanya sees an opportunity to get her tavern back, but it will require traveling with the corpsmen to the capital to petition the Queen and Council. But when a magical quill enters the picture, everything that Tanya knows and planned for is blown away, and Tanya finds herself on an improbable quest that will determine her future. The main protagonist, Tanya, was unapologetic in her desire to save herself. As a reader, this was an enjoyable trait. Tanya’s desire stems from the fact that she was abandoned in Griffin’s Port at a young age without anyone to rely on. When Tanya embarks on her quest, supporting characters work to form relationships with Tanya, which is difficult given the fact that these advances are often met with skepticism. This was a bit frustrating since Tayna is stubborn and doesn’t see their intentions as genuine until it’s almost too late. However, as a whole, Tanya was an enjoyable character to read, particularly since tavern wenches are often not protagonists able to determine their own fate. Tanya was also self-possessed and body positive, a welcome viewpoint. As for supporting characters, they were well fleshed out and each had their own story to tell. Jana, Riley, Darrow, Greer, and Rollo all offer interesting views into Tanya’s own psyche based on how they interact with her and how they seek to find their own way forward. Additionally, like Tanya who seems to prefer the romantic company of both men and women, many of these characters are not tied into traditional heterosexual relationships, which is an area that is often overlooked in fantasy. Given that the characters were well envisioned and the plot was wickedly fun, there are still a few critiques. First, the magic system was a bit unclear. The magical manipulation was straight forward, specifically when novices try to access the strands it creates an inverse reaction, called junkoff, that can be harmful. What was less clear were the magical artifacts, such as the quill and the crown. Though the novel seeks to explain these as commissioned by the Queen late in the novel, this felt underexplored. Second, the Queen also seemed to be a figure shrouded in mystery. Maxine Kaplan offers some details about the Queen, but not enough for a reader to be satisfied. Third, the conclusion of the novel felt odd and rushed. It almost seemed like there should be more since the resolution was a bit too neat. Finally, a minor point, the plot was fun if a bit twisted as points, but the nature of a quest lends itself to such a narrative, which made it work. Overall, I enjoyed Wench and would recommend it to others, particularly if you’re looking for a quest narrative with a strong feminist angle.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Story

    What a delightful book! Wench is a classic heroine's quest freshened with feisty, feminist values. I look forward to recommending this to the children I work with. What a delightful book! Wench is a classic heroine's quest freshened with feisty, feminist values. I look forward to recommending this to the children I work with.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    The book was kind of all over the place and uneven, and I wanted to like it more, but I enjoyed it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Colby

    First of all, thank you to Amulet Books and Net Galley for an eARC of this! Wench follows Tanya, a tavern wench who has nothing but the Snake. When the Queen's Guard shows up and comandeers it, she goes with them in hopes of asking the queen for the tavern back, but is pulled into a fantastical journey full of magic. This book wanted to be a feminist journey for a young wench who knew what she wanted from the world, but the magic wasn't full explained, and it was difficult to enjoy the character First of all, thank you to Amulet Books and Net Galley for an eARC of this! Wench follows Tanya, a tavern wench who has nothing but the Snake. When the Queen's Guard shows up and comandeers it, she goes with them in hopes of asking the queen for the tavern back, but is pulled into a fantastical journey full of magic. This book wanted to be a feminist journey for a young wench who knew what she wanted from the world, but the magic wasn't full explained, and it was difficult to enjoy the character when her perosnality and motivations were kind of all over the place. Tanya is bi and plus-sized but eve still the romance often didn't feel genuine, and she was kind of awful? I was pretty disappointed in this one. I really want to love this one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to Edelweiss+ & ABRAMS for providing an advanced copy of Wench in exchange for an honest review. Wench was such a fun read. I've been reading a lot of fantasy-adventure YA stories recently but Wench still manages to stand out with a unique magic system I've never seen anything even remotely similar too. My main concern going into a book claiming to be feminist looking to flip the script on stereotypical fantasy bar wenches was that making the MC appear strong would come at the cost of ster Thanks to Edelweiss+ & ABRAMS for providing an advanced copy of Wench in exchange for an honest review. Wench was such a fun read. I've been reading a lot of fantasy-adventure YA stories recently but Wench still manages to stand out with a unique magic system I've never seen anything even remotely similar too. My main concern going into a book claiming to be feminist looking to flip the script on stereotypical fantasy bar wenches was that making the MC appear strong would come at the cost of stereotypically feminine fantasy characters being considered lesser than, but all the female characters in Wench are wonderfully unique and strong (while also being just as flawed as the male characters. I'm a big fan of when feminism actually treats genders as equally capable which sounds like setting the bar low, but if you've read a lot of YA you know it's a rare thing to find). Also being as non spoilery as possible I was getting all ready to be upset that a less developed male-female relationship looked like it was gearing up to becoming every YA book's mandatory romance arc even though one of the characters significantly more established flirtatious bond with a member of the same sex but was pleasantly surprised because Wench is casually queer!!! (my absolute favourite type of queer in the fantasy genre because a lot of books shoehorn in over the top queer relationships to try and bring in queer audiences and it makes it feel a lot less genuine) I'd say my main issue is that Wench's first act can kind of be broken down into 3 different big plot points with 3 different sets of characters Tanya's interacting with and because of the book's shorter length, it meant members of squad 1 who we'd barely seen since the beginning of the story who showed up for the final act didn't bring as much of an emotional attachment as the story seemed to require because there wasn't sufficient time to get to know them and they quickly fading out of memory to be replaced with squad 2 and 3. Overall though, it's a fun new take on the genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    brooklyn ☂︎

    3.5 stars Wench is a funny, magical, feminist novel that hooks you right from the first sentence. I love the day-in-the-life style opening of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Kaplan’s world building and the strong independent nature of the novel’s heroine. GOOD STUFF: - Jana (even though she’s not the heroine) is so freaking cool I want to be her, I want to meet her. The first time we truly meet her she is humming, swinging a sword, and dancing around a bunch of hostages. That image perfectly enca 3.5 stars Wench is a funny, magical, feminist novel that hooks you right from the first sentence. I love the day-in-the-life style opening of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Kaplan’s world building and the strong independent nature of the novel’s heroine. GOOD STUFF: - Jana (even though she’s not the heroine) is so freaking cool I want to be her, I want to meet her. The first time we truly meet her she is humming, swinging a sword, and dancing around a bunch of hostages. That image perfectly encapsulates her whole character and she is just so great. I loved Tanya (who is the heroine) and her relationship with her tavern. I especially loved the way it develops. She’s so unapologetically Tanya, it’s impressive. The rest of the characters are great too. - This is such an empowering novel with tons of great scenes. It’s a wonderfully magical romp through both the literal and figurative woods. It’s strong and powerful and certainly feminist, just as it’s advertised WHY THIS ISN'T A 5 STAR BOOK: - A lot of characters are simply forgotten about for portions of the novel, which created a bit of a disconnect. It’s not just that they aren’t present, there is no mention of them. At all. Said characters don’t even cross Tanya’s mind for huge stretches of pages, and it’s a bit strange. - The writing leaves a bit to be desired. It’s not bad, it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel, but it did stop me in my tracks a couple of times, especially at the beginning. Something about the first two chapters or so feels almost stunted? I’m sure how to articulate this. This doesn’t hinder the book though, not really. It honestly is very engaging the way it is, but it had the potential to be one of my favorite books, and it fell just short. I still think most people would enjoy reading this. It would be hard not to be entertained.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    DNF @ 35% I guess this was supposed to be a fierce feminist fantasy but instead what I trudged through were events pulled along at an insane pace, a plethora of forgettable characters, and really none of what the blurb touts this book as having.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sammy

    You can see my full review, favorite quotes, and an interview with the author on my blog We Write at Dawn! The first half of this book is amazing. I couldn't put it down and kept pushing myself to read one more chapter because I had to know what was going to happen next! As the plot progressed though, things started to fall apart for me though I love how the book ended! Tanya is a take no sh*t, tough girl who just wants one thing - not to lose her tavern and her home. This leads her on a journey a You can see my full review, favorite quotes, and an interview with the author on my blog We Write at Dawn! The first half of this book is amazing. I couldn't put it down and kept pushing myself to read one more chapter because I had to know what was going to happen next! As the plot progressed though, things started to fall apart for me though I love how the book ended! Tanya is a take no sh*t, tough girl who just wants one thing - not to lose her tavern and her home. This leads her on a journey across the world where she has to face corpsmen, smugglers, thieves, magicians, and even the Queen herself. There's a lot that goes on in this book and it's easy to find yourself twisted around because Tanya goes through a lot on her journey! I loved the cast of characters we meet. Jana, a queen in her own right, is a sharp shooter who not only woos the corpsmen, but the reader with her fun personality. She's the kind of girl who is effortlessly beautiful and fun, while also a well trained shooter who could shoot an arrow through your arm as she hides in the trees. Basically, she's a fun time. Then we have other characters like Rollo, Greer, and Riley who add some pizzazz to Tanya's journey - which is a good and bad thing at times.  Another thing I really liked about this book was the humor. There were some solid moments of me laughing out loud at the sassiness that Tanya brings to the table. She's a fun character to follow around and while I question a lot of the decisions she makes, she can sure make me laugh.  Some of my favorite moments are also moments with Rollo - a sassy magician who is very upset with Tanya. The poor guy has his quill, his horse, and his dignity stolen by Tanya all within a short amount of time. He's a takes no sh*t person too, which makes it even funnier when they start to bicker.  Along with great characters, funny moments, and perfect dialogue, the magic system is also really cool and unique! The basic rule of magic is that any thing you do, there is an equal consequence that must occur. Take some gold from a safe and the river floods. Create a fire and it rains rocks. You never know what the consequences are until they appear, which they call "junk off". I thought the magic system was so cool and the fact that Tanya gets in the middle of a whole magical debocial made it that much cooler! Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the world, the magic, and the characters. I did have an issue once I got halfway, since it felt like the plot went off track almost, but I was still happy with the end. Tanya goes through a lot on her journey and I loved every moment of it. Even with the plot beginning to clutter, I still found myself excited to read what happened next! 

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah

    To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book. I loved the idea of a feminist fantasy. I loved that the MC was a tavern wench. I loved so much about the idea of this book. When I saw it was labeled as queer, I needed it. The issue is this book is SO SLOW. It took me about two weeks to read it. I kept falling asleep on my kindle. I kept distracting myself from picking it back up again. I liked the idea of the book more than I liked the book itself. The plot meanders in a w To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book. I loved the idea of a feminist fantasy. I loved that the MC was a tavern wench. I loved so much about the idea of this book. When I saw it was labeled as queer, I needed it. The issue is this book is SO SLOW. It took me about two weeks to read it. I kept falling asleep on my kindle. I kept distracting myself from picking it back up again. I liked the idea of the book more than I liked the book itself. The plot meanders in a way that makes it feel like it was multiple books shoved together. There were multiple stopping points that just seemed natural like when the MC got the quill or when she escaped from the thieves or when she was hired by the queen or when she made it to Bloodstone. This might have worked better as multiple books. This would have given more time to actually develop the characters. The book was labeled queer, but all the characters were so flat and emotionless that none of the “romance” made sense. The MC kisses a girl (17) and a man (no clue, but he is in the army). She also supposedly has a thing for another character who gets with a guy at the end. None of these pairings made sense. The only pairing that even started to make sense was the MC with the queen. The MC has the most interactions with the queen and they actually seem to have bonded. This isn’t even me whining that my pairing didn’t make it into the book. None of the pairings made sense. I would not have been happy to see the queen and the MC get together for real. It would have still felt forced. So much of the book was telling and not showing. There were info dumps about magic and the way things were. Some of these made sense, but they felt so long. Why did I need to know hundreds of years of backstory of the kingdom? By the time that the information was relevant I felt like I was two books away. There is also the issue that things were so easily solved with magic. There wasn’t any suspense for me. The queen can just send magical mail using ice tunnels. Cool. I expected that. I felt let down the further the plot went on. This might be a great fantasy novel, but it wasn’t for me. This is just an example of why I don’t like fantasy. So much reads like this. Long winded, boring, a lot of characters that don’t really feel distinct. I thought a feminist fantasy would help me enjoy the genre, but I honestly don’t see how it is a feminist tale. It is just a woman who thinks she needs no one and who is a good tavern wench. Is it feminist to think you don’t need anyone? I really don’t get how that label applied in this case. That is a label that draws me to books, but usually there is a reason outside the MC is a woman.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandy {The Review Booth}

    I enjoyed the magic in Wench – the simple fact that it was fraught with amateur magicians made it laughable and believable. I particularly liked the side-effects of practicing magic without knowing the consequences is known as junkoff. If you cast a spell to procure an item (gold, water, food, etc.), it has to come from somewhere – the junkoff is the consequence of the magician not planning that part out. That is precisely what Tanya excels at (besides running an efficient tavern) – organization I enjoyed the magic in Wench – the simple fact that it was fraught with amateur magicians made it laughable and believable. I particularly liked the side-effects of practicing magic without knowing the consequences is known as junkoff. If you cast a spell to procure an item (gold, water, food, etc.), it has to come from somewhere – the junkoff is the consequence of the magician not planning that part out. That is precisely what Tanya excels at (besides running an efficient tavern) – organization. Organization as a perk to a heroine is a story is a skill I’ve never come across in a book, and I LOVED it! I think in a similar way to Tanya, I loved seeing this aspect in the main character. Part two of the book read more like a second book than a continuation of the first half. While it didn’t appear that an extended amount of time had passed, the Tanya in part one read a little different than the Tanya in part two. The book meandered with its telling and that made the momentum that it had going bog down even though it was interesting material – just a little choppy, if it were polished up a little bit it would be much better. Tanya learned the hard way that the most important lessons you can learn in life habitually cost you the most. Tanya felt completely unsettled, hopping about from situation to situation, and it made the book feel a little choppy. Her dream got brushed aside too readily for how stubborn she was about it. My favorite side “character” was the golden horse – her attitude and snark made me want to know if she was indeed a horse at all. We don’t see the timid emergence of LGBTQ+ romantic feelings until roughly 70% through the book. Here too Tanya doesn’t seem to know what exactly it is that she wants. The romantic interactions between characters are minimal and PG, which isn’t necessarily negative (depending on personal preference). I am curious to see if this will be a standalone novel or if there might be a second book – it could go either way. If a second is in the works, I will more than likely read it. I would be curious where it would take our cast from the conclusion of the first novel. Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours, Maxine Kaplan, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a digital ARC of Wench – all opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pine Reads Review

    “Whoever bears that quill is bound to be very important in this court…. Are you ready to be important, Tanya of Griffin’s Port?” Tavern wench Tanya has been running her tavern since she was tiny and could do it with her eyes closed. When her guardian dies, Tanya expects to take over ownership of the tavern and for everything else to remain the same. But without signed papers that leave the tavern to her, Tanya could lose it all. So she does what any self-respecting tavern wench would: she embarks “Whoever bears that quill is bound to be very important in this court…. Are you ready to be important, Tanya of Griffin’s Port?” Tavern wench Tanya has been running her tavern since she was tiny and could do it with her eyes closed. When her guardian dies, Tanya expects to take over ownership of the tavern and for everything else to remain the same. But without signed papers that leave the tavern to her, Tanya could lose it all. So she does what any self-respecting tavern wench would: she embarks on a journey to the royal palace to petition the Queen to keep the tavern in her name. However, travel to the palace isn’t going to be easy, which Tanya discovers as she crosses paths with thickheaded guards, unscrupulous thieves, and dimwitted wizards. When she finds a magical feather that seems drawn to her, Tanya realizes that she has the potential to change not just her life but the fate of the kingdom. She must decide who she can trust and figure out exactly how her feather works if she wants to save herself and her friends from a despicable plot centuries-in-the-making. This book had great potential, but in my opinion, it just fell short. While I loved the feminist elements, it was hard for me to really connect to the book because of pacing and character development issues. Tanya is a fierce and fun character, but by the end of the book, I had trouble cheering for her after she made some questionable choices. However, the character of Jana, a kick-butt and hilariously wonderful thief, was a joy to read. I also appreciated the LGBTQ+ representation, but the romances seemed abrupt and unsupported, almost entirely appearing in the last hundred pages. Still, I had fun following the misadventures of Tanya’s journey and discovering the magical elements of this empowering novel. Content Warnings: Death of a loved one, self-harm, strong language (Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Musing of Souls

    A detailed review for the book is present on Musing Of Souls Thank you so much Amulet Books, Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Book Tours for giving me an opportunity to read this wonderful book! With much complex plot and so many different characters, that too, all perfect, Wench did not disappoint me at all. Tanya has been a Tavern Wench since she could notice the world around but when the owner dies, she is to become the proprietress of 'The Smiling Snake'. But, when the Queen's corpsmen take away h A detailed review for the book is present on Musing Of Souls Thank you so much Amulet Books, Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Book Tours for giving me an opportunity to read this wonderful book! With much complex plot and so many different characters, that too, all perfect, Wench did not disappoint me at all. Tanya has been a Tavern Wench since she could notice the world around but when the owner dies, she is to become the proprietress of 'The Smiling Snake'. But, when the Queen's corpsmen take away her property, she decides to join the corps on the travel to "The Glacier" (The Queen's land.). There are secrets hidden within the corps and the queen and when Tanya finds out what the secret is, she is suddenly in the castle kneeling in front of the queen. What happens in between and what are the secrets that 'The Queen' is hiding? To find out, grab the book! Now, talking about the writing style of the book. I would not say it is for any beginner, while the English used is quite easy and readability is amazing, the book involves a lot of changes in the scenario and emotions, as well as there, are many characters present and new ones keep coming now and then. For me, this part turns out to be a favourite one but for someone who wishes to get into reading, it might not be the best read. The character development is amazing. The lead character is strong, powerful and has a very loveable personality. Even the supporting characters are built so deeply that it will leave you awe-struck. As much as the main character means to us here, all the background characters have their own part to pour into here. I cannot imagine the book being so good without such good characters! If you are looking for a medium-paced, book with high fantasy elements including minor elements of LGBT+ Romance as well as action and magic and some tragedy, this is the book for you!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Selkie

    3.5- Tanya, a courageous tavern wench, is shocked when her guardian dies and hasn’t left a will naming her as the tavern proprietor. The tavern is promptly repossessed and Tanya sets out on a journey to see the Queen in hopes that she might grant her the building’s deed. However, the pathway to the castle is anything but smooth. In her travels, Tanya discovers a strange magical object that just might give her the leverage she needs. Undaunted by challenges, Tanya encounters suspicious characters 3.5- Tanya, a courageous tavern wench, is shocked when her guardian dies and hasn’t left a will naming her as the tavern proprietor. The tavern is promptly repossessed and Tanya sets out on a journey to see the Queen in hopes that she might grant her the building’s deed. However, the pathway to the castle is anything but smooth. In her travels, Tanya discovers a strange magical object that just might give her the leverage she needs. Undaunted by challenges, Tanya encounters suspicious characters and unlikely friends- featuring LGBTQ romance and representation. There was a lot to like about this story: Tanya’s determination, the exploration of magic, and great supporting characters. (TW: Magic that requires self-harm.) The pacing seemed a bit off to me and lacked a consistent flow. I would’ve liked more development with the F/F romance. I felt the brief flashes of romance were immediately interrupted or diverted. I don’t know whether there will be a sequel to this book, but I would love to see more complexity in the relationships. Wench is an adventurous fantasy, with an intriguing take on magic and compelling characters! This book has a cheerful sense of humor, strong women who know their goals and dreams, and a unique world to adventure in. Wench releases on January 19, 2021. Thank you to Maxine Kaplan, Amulet Books, and Netgalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    iam

    DNF @ 29% Nothing wrong with this one, but for now it failed to keep my attention. I loved the setup of Wench and Tanya, the no-nonsense protagonist who is determined to get her tavern back at all costs. From the very beginning the plot was fast-paced, and scenes, moods and allegiances changed quickly. It was not particularly funny or surprising, but while I did find it entertaining, somehow I was not especially deeply invested. I think ultimately things just happened a little too fast, and I didn DNF @ 29% Nothing wrong with this one, but for now it failed to keep my attention. I loved the setup of Wench and Tanya, the no-nonsense protagonist who is determined to get her tavern back at all costs. From the very beginning the plot was fast-paced, and scenes, moods and allegiances changed quickly. It was not particularly funny or surprising, but while I did find it entertaining, somehow I was not especially deeply invested. I think ultimately things just happened a little too fast, and I didn't really know what to do with and think of with various plot elements that were introduced in frequent intervals without really letting the previous one sink in. In the part I read there were already several intriguing developing relationships, and I am looking forward to eventually picking it back up and finding out how they all end up. Related to that, Tanya definitely reads as bisexual. The most overt thing that bothered me was all the misogyny. Tanya knows how to handle herself and use her situation and how men view her as weaker to her advantage, and while it certainly was never condoned it also was treated as so deeply normalized that it was barely worth remarking, much less get upset over. I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

  27. 4 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    dnf @ 18% **I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** rep: bisexual protagonist, wlw love interest, gay side characters cw: magic involving self harm There's nothing really wrong with this book; it's more a case of "right book, wrong time" because I'm just really not in the mood for a book that feels like it's going to meander towards its goal. The writing is good, and the book itself seems to be shaping u dnf @ 18% **I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** rep: bisexual protagonist, wlw love interest, gay side characters cw: magic involving self harm There's nothing really wrong with this book; it's more a case of "right book, wrong time" because I'm just really not in the mood for a book that feels like it's going to meander towards its goal. The writing is good, and the book itself seems to be shaping up towards a fun fantasy, which I usually like. However, it's simply not the right book for me at this time. I might return to this book and finish it in the future! Also, this is just my personal opinion, so please don't let this discourage you from reading this Wench if you want to read it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Thank you to Netgalley and Abrams Kids for the opportunity to read and review this book. Hmmmmmm..... what can I exactly say about this book?? Well its very unique and fascinating yet conniving and twisty all at the same time. Trigger warnings for self-harm, violence, and verbal abuse. This is a standalone (from my understanding) and I will be honest there were moments that things seemed out of order and if not out of order too long. The magic systems are very unique and fascinating and the endi Thank you to Netgalley and Abrams Kids for the opportunity to read and review this book. Hmmmmmm..... what can I exactly say about this book?? Well its very unique and fascinating yet conniving and twisty all at the same time. Trigger warnings for self-harm, violence, and verbal abuse. This is a standalone (from my understanding) and I will be honest there were moments that things seemed out of order and if not out of order too long. The magic systems are very unique and fascinating and the ending was fulfilling yet unsatisfying all at once. I do like the inclusivity of the characters and most of them were very fun to read about. But I think I had too high expectations when I read this or perhaps I was the wrong audience I am not sure. Overall though, this was a fun fantasy story and I would recommend it to people who like fascinating characters and magic systems 3.5 out of 5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Merricat

    This book is legitimately all you need in life when you’re in a slump. A reading slump? School work slump? Dating slump? Wench will get you through. I loved every page of this magical Wench adventure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kat // Novels & Waffles

    *I received a digital ARC of this book (via Edelweiss) from its publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

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