It’s been five years since I published A Demon in the Desert. Some time after I put it out, I blogged about everything I’d learned from. Five years on, those things still hold true but I’m not taking active lessons from it anymore. It serves as a very mixed gateway into the life of Grimluk and his adventures, with some people loving it and a few thinking it’s garbage. It’s a first book. And I don’t know what else to say on it.
I could talk about how sometimes I think about rewriting it but my desire to let it stand, as its own thing and as a sign of where I started mostly wins out there. It will stand as it is.
I also like how Ashe has pretty seamlessly incorporated queerness and gender diversity into these books. In that respect, I do actually think I’d recommend these as good fantasy for middle school age queer/trans teens and early high school age queer/trans teens. Though gender and sexual diversity aren’t the main focus, Ashe incorporates them in a way that makes them feel normal and a part of the world, rather than make those characters anomalies or always in danger of persecution and ridicule. Not many other fantasy series featuring genderqueer orcs or queer elven or dwarven couples as a normal and accepted part of the world!