Fantasy · Fiction · Historical · Young Adult

Dread Nation

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Title: Dread Nation

Author: Justina Ireland

Performer: Bahni Turpin

Length: 11 hr, 56 min

Series: Dread Nation, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 3, 2018 by HarperAudio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This book is fantastic, and I loved every minute of it.  Bahni Turpin did an excellent job reading it, and I have come to expect nothing less from her than a stellar performance.

Shortly before finishing this book, I browsed through some of the reviews posted on Goodreads and was surprised to find that there has actually been some controversy regarding this book.  After reading through these criticisms, I strongly believe that many people misunderstand the difference between author opinion and writing a story that is true to the era in which it is taking place.

Many people took issue with the fact that people of color are spoken of negatively in this book and did not like the way they were portrayed.  I saw words like “colorism” being thrown around because of the way the main character describes herself and other people of color, but it is important to remember that people of this time period had been indoctrinated with a very negative view of people of color.  It is not surprising that many people of color internalized this negativity, and it deeply affected the way they viewed themselves and others.  This is largely the reason that colorism exists, and I think this book was a powerful commentary on how damaging that type of rhetoric is.

It also confused me that so many people considered this an LGBT+ representative book.  Some people consider Jane bisexual, but I think that this is a stretch.  I think it can be argued that she is curious, but her strong attraction to men is made apparent throughout the book.  I understand that sexuality can fall on a pretty broad and fluid scale, but it does not seem that she considers herself to be particularly attracted to women.  It is also stated by reviewers that another central character, Katherine, is asexual, but I think this is also a stretch.  She admits that she has not experienced attraction to anyone, however, considering her traumatic upbringing and the near constant barrage of sexual harassment she experiences on a daily basis, I do not find this to be especially surprising.  My point in all of this is that this book should not be touted as LGBT+ literature.  Perhaps this topic will be explored more deeply in the next book, in which case I may change my mind.

There are so many positive things to say about this book.  It features strong female characters who are equally clever and badass.  It is a truly original story and the character development is quite good in my opinion.  The author even hit me with a twist at the end that I did not see coming at all.  I feel good about the ending, and I am so excited for the next book in this series!

 

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Children of Blood and Bone

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Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Performer: Bahni Turpin

Length: 17 hr, 51 min, 58 sec

Series: Legacy of Orïsha, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by MacMillan Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: Let me start off by saying, this book deserves all the accolades it has been receiving.  The world building in this story is truly phenomenal, and the African mythology woven into it is masterfully done.  Although lengthy, the pacing of the book moves rapidly and by the end, the reader is left wanting more.  Luckily, this book has been announced as part of a series, and there will certainly be more to come.

When I first started this book, I was convinced that I would be rating it with five stars; however, as the plot progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly disenchanted by the romantic angle that suddenly emerged midway through the story.  The romance not only seemed unprecedented, but rather forced.  Although I could see what the author was trying to do, it just did not seem to fit right with what I knew about the characters.  I think a romance such as this would need a lot more build up to be plausible, but it was sped along in the interest of furthering the plot.  It is not necessarily that I did not want the characters to end up together, but that I think it could have been done better.  For this reason, I lowered my rating to four stars.

Regardless of how I feel about the romantic subplot, I found this to be a complex and well-written story.  As a history major, I could appreciate the parallels to real life events such as apartheid, colonialism, segregation, etc.  There are many layers to this story, and many layers to each character.  It will be exciting to see where this story goes.

As an additional note, I HIGHLY recommend enjoying this book in audiobook format.  Some stories are just meant to be shared orally, especially those with deep roots in traditional mythology.  Bahni Turpin does an excellent job creating personas for each character, and the accents she created really bring the story to life and lend a little something extra to the listening experience.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold