Effie Calvin's “Daughter of the Sun”

I just loved Effie Calvin's new Inyatha book, Daughter of the Sun. It's light, fluffy, silly-and-knows-it, D&D-inflected PG lesbian romance, which is totally a thing, and my thing, and I can't help but hope that Effie Calvin puts out another one soon.

Poor, utterly clueless Orsina is a young paladin with magical evil-detecting tattoos on her arms, sent on a quest to find and locate a vaguely defined Great Evil™. She finds a lesser evil— Aelia, the Chaos Goddess of Poor Decision Making— has taken over a small town. Orsina vanquishes Aelia in the first chapter, running her through the stomach with her blessed sword. There's some running and chasing thereafter, but eventually she and the townsfolk corner Aelia in a barn and find a body to put to the pyre.

A day later, Orsinia finds a somewhat airheaded woman bathing naked near a lake, recovering from a mostly-healed stomach wound and trying to clean her sword-cut dress, absolutely soaked in blood, and decides that the woman was the victim of domestic abuse and needs help. Aelia is so wounded and drained of power that Orsina's evil-detecting powers don't register her. Thus Orsina and "Elyne" start their adventures together.

It doesn't take rocket science to figure out what happens next. Orsina trusts those tattoos too much, so Calvin has some hilarious scenes where Elyne is naively dropping clues left and right about her true nature and Orsina just doesn't pick them up at all. There's a really nice twist toward the end about Orsina's quest that I admired, too.

It's just adorable from beginning to end. Not quite sweet enough to give you cavities, but close.

Calvin's writing style is light-hearted and generous. Her theology is a little weird and I'm not sure it works all the way through, but it's fun in the way the Greek or Norse gods are fun. There are so many loose Gods wandering around the mortal plane, but if one low-level paladin is regularly vanquishing them left and right and banishing them to their plane "for ten years," then there must be a host of gods, like, a thesaurus of them: if Aelia is the Goddess of Caprice, is there also a Goddess of Eccentricity, and a God of Whimsy, and a God of Kink, and a Goddess of Vagary, etc. etc.?

The world of Inyatha is still a queer paradise: there are men, women, "neutroi," and maybe enbies, and people marry each other for love rather than hardware compatability reasons. Orsina has two dads, who we get to meet.

Aelia's adventures as a mortal are fun. She makes a good foil for human foibles. It's completely PG. There are a few lovely kissing scenes, but that's about it. I loved it all.

Earlier: Kit Rocha's “Beyond Shame”

Later: Reading “The Boys From Brazil”