Lily the Silent reminded me of works by authors who blur the line between fable and emotionally realistic, less overtly symbolic (if still fantastic) narrative, like Angela Carter, Rachel Pollack, and Kelly Link. There’s a lot I admire about it. It’s unambiguously, but not heavily-handed, feminist. It explicitly opposes the conventions of Tolkein-derivative heroic fantasy. At its best, it slips between figurative and literal descriptions with dreamlike fluidity.
But I can’t say I enjoyed it much. Partly this may be because it’s a middle chunk of a multi-book narrative that may overall be less dour. Partly it may be that I’m not the perfect audience for this novel. But I found myself wishing it were either leavened by a touch more humor, or that there were a little more character development beyond the archetypal, or both.