Hailing from the nonexistent category of African-American readers, I'm here today to say this book exceeded expectations.
It is even more awful than anyone told me or I could've imagined. I question why Goodreads won't let me just give this zero stars as an exception. In point form:
- Your world-building is bad and you should feel bad.
Now, I know everyone is jumping on the YA Lit dystopia bandwagon to become the next Hunger Games, but in the very least, you need internally consistent logic. Melanin is not a radiation filter.
- Eden makes Edmund Pevensie look sweet and even-tempered and Bella Swan merely misguided.
- You cannot have a race name double as a racial slur, and judging by everyone's reaction to Eden's outburst, Coal is not complimentary.
- On that note, really? Pearl is the closest you can get to derogatory but coal (a dirty pollutant) in an environmental dystopia is supposed to be good?
- With an issue like race in a position of privilege you have to be very delicate with how you choose to explore that theme. Foyt uses a sledgehammer.
- How many times can you describe your black male characters as overtly sexual and violent without feeling like you're NOT AT ALL subverting stereotypes?
- Also Eden can keep calling her black female boss doing her job, a bitch. Even when the men are cruel they're ~sexy~ but Ashina? That haughty bitch. That's really turning stereotypes on their heads you guys.
- If there is an imperative to mate and they need more children why would they limit everyone to a child each? That's not even replacing the parents.
- The father speaks like a bad Sherlock fanfiction. Stop calling your own daughter, Daught.
- The sentence structure is god awful.
- Bramford has a name even if he is part leopard. Eden knows him. Why would she start calling him El Tigre? Not to mention, in case I forgot, he is called beastly every third sentence.
- I'm going to let someone else handle the portrayal of the Native people in this book. “Residue from oil mining,” her father said, indicating the murky water. “My hypothesis is the tribe sold their oil rights long ago, probably for worthless cash. I suspect no one ever explained the consequences.”...nope.
- If anyone has special snowflake disease it's Eden. She's not an animal, she exclaims! She won't eat the Native people's food. It's like vomit, and she spits it out. She wishes she had meal pills! Wahhhh where is her Life-Band? Whine. Whine. Whine.
- "Eden yearned to caress his savage face but feared he might hit her." pg 97. This is not romantic. What is with modern YA Lit and romanticizing creepy situations?
- I have nothing to say about that mess of an ending or the preachiness of colourblindness. From a person of colour, who racism affects in the real world, this is a piss poor examination what racism is like. Also colourblindness is exclusively a white privilege because you can't be ignorant of something that systematically affects you. What on earth is wrong with acknowledging race and discrimination and its effects on others' experiences and actively being sensitive to such?
- How could I forget the blackface? Which is both because Coals don't like looking at pearls and it's illegal or some such nonsense. She describes putting on red lipstick in a way to make her lips look bigger. Get it? Big lips. Because black people have them -_-"