Twisty Faster comments on a fantasy novel she tried to read, but couldn't. I simply had to comment because I think she totally missed the point.
I Blame The Patriarchy: Twisty, Book Killer: What I can’t live with is the dependency of the fantasy narrative on unapologetically misogynist pseudo-feudal agrarian European settings that glorify patriarchal principles of war, caste systems, omnipotent deities, primogeniture, and women-as-virgin-damsels. The Curse of Chalion is about pseudo-medieval Spaniardesque nobles with names like antifungal ointments, the males brandishing swords all over the place to protect the females, who sit around the castle embroidering. The hero, Benadryl, is a 35-year-old warrior-nobleman who lusts after Rogaine, the beautiful, strong-willed 15-year-old princess.
Huh. LMB is usually considered to be *feminist* writer. Most of her career was spent writing about the ironies of patriarchy in her light-hearted Vorkosigan science fiction series. The premise of this series was a highly feudal, primitive, patriarchal society suddenly exposed to a galaxy where in many/most places men and women are more or less equal. It's told through the eyes of a man who, by accident, is deprived of many of the privileges of being a man in his (high) stratum of feudal society. In the second-last book, one of the crises is that a woman, knowing she could run her late father's estate better than her incompetent and inimical younger brother, has a sex change done on another planet (a total sex change including the ability to reproduce as a male) but *still* has to fight to inherit. One of the male characters, having "played the field" for most of the series, decides to "settle down", but discovers to his dismay that most of the women have passed him by and now tend to be more like those uppity galactic women, going to graduate school and piloting aircraft and expecting men to be more than overgrown children, etc. And so on. It's for the Vorkosigan books that she won her Hugos and Nebulas, mostly. Twisty Faster did notice LMB's talent when she said LMB had "flair."
I think Twisty missed the point of The Curse of Chalion, though it's not entirely her fault. "Benadryl" does not lust after "Rogaine" at all, though he is loyal to her. But more importantly, Chalion is a lead-up novel to a series. The next book, Paladin of Souls, is focused completely around what is a side-character in Chalion, Queen Ista. It's the only medieval fantasy novel I know of that is focused around a bitter middle-aged widow, recovering from playing a role she hated. The book is not "unapologetic" about its patriarchal setting, it is simply leaving aside the question. The theology includes an argument over the nature of the god known as "The Bastard," which is precisely intended to be a feminist comment (Quintarians vs Quadrenes: can "The Mother" goddess have a willing affair with the demon king, or is any such thing by definition rape?). But Twisty dismissed the book too quickly to notice it.
Genre fantasy is series-based, and it requires patience particularly with the first world-building novel, so I guess it's an acquired taste, so to speak. I think SF does a little better. It's true that medieval fantasy focuses, well, around patriarchal societies, but that's not because everyone thinks that it is a good thing. Certainly, LMB doesn't think so from the mountain of her other work that critiques it, but she was willing to put that aside to actually experiment with the genre. Most fantasies that ostensibly start with equal female or matriarchal societies tend to degenerate into other kinds of stereotypes, if you know what I mean. And a bigger problem is that the fantasy genre's attraction is precisely the "inserting magic into a violent and chaotic history" pattern: that's why the medieval template is so common in the genre. It has historical grandeur, graced with Magical Objects. The best feminist fantasies use the same pattern to subtly and ironically point out the flaws---as LMB does.
I suspect, then, that even the "Gold Standards" of feminist fantasy wouldn't be enough to satisfy Twisty. The first book in Le Guin's Earthsea series also, if I recall correctly, paints a patriarchal world without questioning it too obviously, but it is only in the later books where she starts to twist the knife, and she focuses completely on gender in the last book (so far), Tehanu. And I am the biggest Cherryh fan (she writes rarely directly on gender, proving that female writers don't also always have to be pigeonholed into writing gender-comment fiction---but most of her worlds are rougly egalitarian), but I suggest she steers clear of the Fortress novels.