Tag Archives: racism

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

7 Jan

8490112Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 448 pages

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

Karou is a young art student in Prague who has no idea who she actually is. Her hair grows out of her head a luscious shade of blue, she can speak a stupid amount of languages, and her sketch books are filled with hundreds upon hundreds of sketches of ghoulish devils, all with elaborate back-stories that she tells her friends. Only, they’re not just stories. Karou grew up in a devil’s lair; she is the ward of the Wishmonger, a devil named Brimstone who (you guessed it!) deals in wishes, selling them for teeth pulled out of the mouths of corpses by ghastly characters. One day, all over the world, blackened hand prints start showing up onĀ  doors, and people report sighting strange beings who appear human, but whose shadows have wings. When Karou finds a handprint on the door to Brimstone’s shop, she is pulled into an otherworldly war between devils and angels, a war that she has been a part of for much longer than she knows.

This book has been getting an insane amount of hype ever since it came out, and I kept telling myself “by golly, I really want to read that! The next time it’s on the shelf at the library I’ll grab it.” Only, it was never on the shelf, and eventually I had to suck it up and put a hold on it, and thank god I did because this book is da bomb and easily one of the most enjoyable books I read in 2012.

Continue reading

Advertisements

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

29 Sep

“Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.”

Hi, precious flowers. Once upon a time, I got my very first YA or GTFO ARC in the mail. OK, so maybe it was through Goodreads firstreads, but whatever. I would like to think that maybe I got chosen because of this blog. We all have our little delusions. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about Kat Zhang‘s What’s Left of Me, both because it was an interesting concept for a “dystopia” (I am using this term loosely here) and because it was the first time an ARC showed up on my doorstep with my blog’s name on it. Unfortunately, all those fresh-faced hopes were really disappointed with this dud.

Eva lives in an alternate reality in which people are born with two souls in one body. As the body goes through childhood, one of the souls gets weaker and weaker until finally it relinquishes control to the dominant soul and takes a nap for the rest of its “life.” Eva is a recessive soul that never left; she and Addie share one body, but they must live as if only Addie is present. People who make it through childhood with both souls alive and kicking are known as “hybrids,” and if they are discovered they’re carted off to looney bins or whatever and never heard from again. After years of being covertly dual-souled, Eva and Addie befriend Hally, a girl whose “foreign” looks mark her as strange in this alternate imagining of a pseudo-Aryan nation isolated U.S.A. (the rest of the world is overrun by rascally hybrids, which means wars and famine and general chaos). As they become closer, Hally shows Eva/Addie that there is a way to give Eva control over their body again, and even though it could risk their lives, Eva is willing to risk anything for the opportunity to be bodily alive for even a short while.

I’ll start with the positive. This was a really interesting concept and Kat Zhang did a good job of playing with language to convey the idea that there are two people living in one body; whenever something happens to Eva/Addie, Eva refers to herself as “we,” or “us.” The only times that she refers to herself as “I” is when she is talking about her thoughts or feelings, or when she is actually moving their body. It’s an interesting examination of what it is to be human, what it means to have an identity, and the horribly claustrophobic feeling of being trapped inside a physical body that you cannot control. I enjoyed the relationship between Addie and Eva; there was a subtle examination of the power play between them, and the interplay of guilt and reassurance that comes from it. Aside from those positive points, I’ve got nothing.

Continue reading