So listen, there is a lot to unpack for this book and I really just didn’t go into it. There is two parts to the controversy for this book. One is that this book had a seven company bidding war as well as a large number payment for the book deal. The fact that this book also got on Oprah’s Book Club, is also to be considered. These two facts tied on to the fact that the author has no experience for what is told in this novel outside of research, is enough to cause a controversy. This is an issue primarily for POC authors who have been trying to write similar stories. This is a publication controversy. That’s only the first half.
I was almost tempted to not post this review, because I feel rather naive about the controversy about this book for the second half of it. The second half of the controversy comes from how the characters were portrayed in this novel, the content controversy, being called stereotypes amongst other things. With all the reviews I read, I understand it is clear that Lydia comes across as an American tourist more than a Mexican woman. Additionally people cite how not much happens in character arcs but trauma, which I can agree with in a look back. The characters change because of trauma, and not much else growth. There are a few other things that I would recommend looking up for yourself.
I feel odd rating this book well because I don’t think it was horribly written and it did make me feel things and care. But rating it horribly seems like a cop out because I don’t hate this book, even with my research.
I think that this book can be used as a talking ground on why this (the situation regarding the publication of the book and book portrayal itself) isn’t okay, and also to speak on refugee situations. It is for that reason that I am posting this review at all.
Additionally, this review is pretty gutted when compared to my standard for reviews. Part of this has to do with the medium of reading. I was reading this book on my ipad while on trains. This means I reread a lot because I can’t focus on digital versions of books. Please note that this review was written before I did a lot more research for this specific book and topic, stuff I wanted to know for book club. I did more after book club as well. As such I mention wanting to do more research a bit, and that is a past thought.
First review for the day. I was not able to finish the Lorien Legacies for one reason or another, and so we will see how reviews will break down from this point on. I hope you are all doing well Voidfriends.
A soft murmur of voices cascaded through the tavern. Another person dead, last week, from what he could tell. A traveler from a distant place this time. Still, no closer to killing the beasts in the waters off the shore of the village. Still, no closer to saving the town from ruin. Many hunters were in the tavern, hoping to slay the beast. The glory, however, could only go to one of them.
“Are you going to stay, sir?” A small girl, no more than ten asked him. She was a pale thing, scrawny, and dressed in tatters. But there was a beauty to her that would come into fruition as she grew older.
“Yes, a room for one please.” He answered her.
“For a night or forever?” She asked with a tilt of her head and a small smile. From across the tavern he could see the tavern keeper, a beauty to behold in these parts. It was a wonder how some great noble lord had not swept her off her feet and carried her back to his castle. The woman must have been a cunning one, sweet words and bitter lies. A mother teaching this girl to con people with doe eyes.
I know, I typically post my updates on Wednesdays. However, this upcoming Wednesday is going to have a lot of stuff. I just wanted to give you an idea of what April will look like.
Since isolation/social distancing is still in effect for where I live, I’m going to be posting a lot story wise, because why not. I also got a new request for reading an author’s novel. So be prepared for that around May (because I have my April TBR decided, and IDK if I’ll have time for it until after that TBR is done. OWLs come first, haha).
Additionally, if you guys are interested in a weekly writing competition, check out Penable’s blog. There is a weekly writing competition each week. This week I’m joining, because the concept is fantasy. You have until Tuesday to write something (story or poem). It seems like a lot of fun!
202 Days Until Collapse And the Uncertain End (Part 8)
Zeydar awoke with a gasp, pulling himself from the floor that was drenched in sweat. His head pounded with the lights that flickered, or perhaps his heart beat. He was not sure. Everything was far too bright, and he had no idea how long he had been out. Everything was eerily quiet save the thunderous sound of the shattered lights, but he knew that was his senses picking up on them for louder than they were. Magic circled around him, begging him to use it. His body was unscathed, and he felt refreshed in a way that told him he had healed himself when he had passed out.
The Council room was empty, not a soul to be found. They had not found him yet, and the Tower was still standing. Perhaps they were waiting to see if it would fall. Perhaps not much time had passed at all. The immediate danger was over, he knew, but the other danger was coming. Pulling himself to his feet, he moved from the Superior Council room and outside. Spreading his magic out he felt the city evacuated still. There was little to no life on the CloudCity floor, perhaps scavengers looking for things in Circle abandoned houses. He would not check.
Books. Sweet Dreams. Flee.
His order of thoughts made his prerogative clear. Hurrying towards the library, Zeydar did not take time to examine the damage of the Tower and City. He needed to get as many magic books and archives as he could. For Kony. Because if he had to flee and try to break every control the Superiors had over him — the Superiors who had caused this mayhem to begin with — then he needed Kony. In the library he ran to a computer and took a virtual book, requesting access to all the digital copies of every single manuscript in the library. He gave his code to override the restricted books, and watched as they were downloaded. It would not be tracked with the library digitally downloaded, but it would take time.
Reading the time required, he left the library and went towards his room. It did not take him much time to get to his home, stealing a car in order to move across campus quickly and haphazardly. He drove over hills and terrain through courtyards and across campus outside of the designated paths. In his room he found it a mess, shattered lights, broken walls and floors, his clothes and possessions scattered. Signs of the collapse. Gathering clothes, supplies, and his most prized possessions — which were no more than Tyler’s staff and a few photos — Zeydar left to go to the medical wing. He didn’t know where the Sweet Dreams were kept but he had a feeling it would be there.
The travel to the medical wing took a bit more time than it took to get to his room. Part of this was because of the collapse having moved buildings and created a collapse, part of it was because his head was pounding and he couldn’t figure out where he was at times or what he was doing. Zeydar knew, instinctively, that he was getting dangerously close to when the Military Mages would return to start checking the Tower. He did not have much time to avoid them.
In the medical building, Zeydar requested access to the bottom floors figuring that if the Superiors kept their drugs anywhere, it would be there. The doors opened to a laboratory that was everything Zeydar expected for a lab designated for the creation of Sweet Dreams. Gathering the Sweet Dream tablets, he packed as much as he could figuring he would ration it when he was safe. He would have to and not a moment before.
Zeydar looked at a tablet, feeling his mind scattering and aching for it. Was it worth it? Was it worth losing this power? This control? It would make everything go away, but could endanger him. Opting for the smallest dose possible with the highly concentrated version, Zeydar went to take the drug. He then stuffed the rest of it away into a lock box, that he hoped would deter him from getting more out. He needed to deter himself from falling back in, but he also needed the lights to stop blinding him.
He could feel his mind begin to clear, as a haze grew and the pounding the sounds faded by a bit. It turned out the lights weren’t extremely bright, but super dim, and that the sounds were no more than the sounds a mouse would make. The lab was more of a disaster because he had entered than because of the fall. He didn’t even want to think about what the campus would look like from him driving, because it was probably way worse due to him. Not that he had time to think of it. The desire within him raked at his skin, forcing his nails to claw at the box to open them for more.
“No.” He stopped himself by forcing it into his box. He needed to leave, not to relapse so badly that he could never escape. He could not trust himself to control himself. He had to trust himself to ignore it, ignore it for now and escape. Get out of Valaria and then he could have as much as he needed.
Get out of Valaria. Get out. Get safe. Books. Sweet Dreams. Flee.
Leaving the medical center, Zeydar made his way back to the library right as the books finished uploading. Grabbing the digital book, he shut its connection and tracker off, disconnecting it from the server despite the warnings and made his way to the armory. He stole a few Staffs, specifically for Kony since new Stars always broke many of them in learning their powers, before leaving Star campus all together. He’d have to disappear into the Tower. Disappear and get to the place where the others would find him and then he could have as much Sweet Dreams as he wanted because then he would be safe.
Even if he wanted it right now.
A little wouldn’t — no. He had to get out of Valaria.
202 Days Until Collapse And the Uncertain End (Part 7)
Zeydar walked through the flames of the street, pushing them back and leaving a path for the others to escape based on the route he had seen from Evester’s map. In an instant he knew how to help the Tower, not by memory but by magic. There was a map in the darkness, and Zeydar now knew where everything was, where everything to destroy would be.
The day was for monsters. The sun was for the beings that crashed through the forests, and controlled the waters. They thrived in the light, and used fire for protection and destruction. They were children of the heat, and inhibitors of the world. Their children, copious. Their actions, malicious. Their ignorance, incredible.
And the day was theirs.
There was a time, the elders told us, in which we traveled upon the earth in the day. When we did not have to fight for our lives, and cower in abandoned corners of the world. A time when our people sang bright songs, and guided the monsters. We had thought the monsters incapable of harm, like a child. We had believed them of us, but other in a way. Their otherness was far more than we expected.
Car lights moved across the glass, refracting into the room and causing shadows to dance across the walls. Thunder rumbled as the sky was lit up once again in a flash of blue that did not belong to a car, lightning? Christopher sat with his back in a corner, breathing deeply. It was becoming increasingly hard for him to breathe as he pulled his knees closer into his chest. The nightmare had been a recurring one: clowns, smiles, guns, screams, and blood. He didn’t want to go to his parents. they didn’t know that he had watched the babysitter’s movie from the shadows of the staircase.
The house creaked. Old houses always made sounds. It was the way they breathed, his father told him. He didn’t like thinking that the house needed to breathe. The house wasn’t alive, or at least he hoped so (he’d seen a movie about a living house once). The house whispered out as if someone was walking through the halls. He knew that it was childish of him to even believe that someone was in his house. His parents had a security system, the best around. No one could break – there was the distinct sound of footsteps. The footsteps were heavy, much like his father’s before morning coffee. Christopher focused on the crack along the door frame, trying to decipher the shape of the changing shadow on the other side of the door. Car lights moved outside, causing the door to glow intensely. Then they bled, and shook, rattling and cascading lighting the world in fire. His entire world was shaking. The fans, the lights, his bed, his world, and he knew it was himself. HIs entire body was jittery as he tried to sit still, silent, hiding.