Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray


35852908Publisher: Self pub
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Received From: Review copy received from author

Katya has always lived in the magical woods between the kingdoms of Shān and Lebedia. She keeps company with her crow and raven familiars and her partner, the eccentric sorcerer Ivan. When a group of soldiers escorting the Princess Yi Zhen of Shān come through her woods, she is shocked to find Ivan taking the princess as his prisoner, and enlisting Katya’s help.

Katya finds herself entwined in a complex web of politics, grudges, betrayal and heartache, spanning centuries. At the heart of this web she must find out who she is, what she stands for, and what she is willing to sacrifice to stay true to herself.

A nuanced re-telling of “Swan Lake,” this story explores love and loyalty, how both are won, earned, destroyed, or betrayed.


GENDER: presumed cisgender, nonbinary
SEXUALITY: bisexual, polyamorous


TROPES: magical abilities, love triangle that is actually polyamory
TAGS: new adult, fantasy, retellings, romance, queer romance, queer characters, disabled character, coming of age, ownvoices
WARNINGS: mental illness (depression, anxiety), violence, kidnapping, ableism, torture, nonconsensual activity


This was a very interesting, altogether enjoyable, queer retelling!

The strongest part of this book was the variety of different relationships throughout. First, we see Katya and Ivan, who seem to be partners in magic and lovers, but are revealed to be something different when Ivan enacts a sinister plan and drags Katya along for the ride, during which decades’ worth of lies are forced to the surface. Then there’s Katya and Zhen, who are captured together by Ivan and must work together to free themselves. They immediately build a friendship that quickly develops into romantic feelings as they get to know each other. I especially loved their relationship because they were so cute together, but also because Zhen feels free with Katya, like she can finally be herself when her parents and obligations never let her before. And in this relationship, we also see Katya’s conflicting emotions towards protecting Zhen, an innocent, and her loyalty to Ivan, before she learns all the ways in which he’s betrayed her. Next there’s Katya and Alexis, who bond over their feelings for Zhen and work together to free her from Ivan’s grasp. I enjoyed watching these two form a hesitant alliance so that they could save Zhen, and the ways in which they both forced themselves to put aside their jealousy in order to make Zhen happy, ultimately resulting in a polyamorous relationship in which Zhen is involved with both of them. And finally, Alexis and Tatiana, who’ve been friends for years, have the kind of tightknit friendship, respect, and loyalty towards each other that I love to see in friends.

More than the overall plot of rescuing the princess, preventing war, and falling in love, I think this novel is a coming of age story starring Katya. It was heartbreaking to watch her have to peel away the lies she’s lived with her whole life, unbeknownst to her, to find the truth underneath and do the right thing. It’s wonderful to watch her go from the innocent, naive girl at the beginning to the strong woman who is making a name and a place for herself.

Also, I loved that nonbinary genders seem to be a widely accepted, unquestioned aspect of the world the Murray has created with this story. The concept is seamlessly introduced in the story through the usage of they/them pronouns for Princen Alexis from the first moment they’re mentioned within the novel by another character, and then later in their own perspective. There is very little to indicate the gender Alexis was assigned at birth, and I particularly enjoyed that they’re fancy fashion included pants and a skirt in the same outfit. And it’s indicated that wider society is accepting of other genders as well, as much of the Czarina’s Guard appears to include people of other genders. I might’ve liked to see a bit more of how nonbinary genders are accepted amongst commoners, but I was overall satisfied with the gender representation.

The writing itself wasn’t terribly complex, but the prose wasn’t bad and worked with the story that Murray was telling.


3.5 stars, rounded up to 4




Pronouns: fey/fem/feir/feirs/femself

Dax grew up in small town Pennsylvania, studying at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA where fey earned a BA in Political Science and a minor in Creative Writing (Poetry). While there, fey enjoyed playing flute in Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, and Flute Ensemble. Fey was also active in the campus feminist and reprojustice groups, and is a sister of Alpha Delta Pi’s Eta Beta chapter.

Today, fey can be found in Washington, DC where fey lives with one of feir partners and not enough cats or snakes. Fey writes futures and pasts filled with queer characters and mystical powers.




2 thoughts on “REVIEW: A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams by Dax Murray

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