Saturday, December 14, 2013
Of Beast and Beauty
Disclaimer: Even though the book has been released since July, I managed to read the advanced reader's copy. Undoubtedly, there will be minor differences between the one I read and the published version, but I imagine them to be most fixing typos and formatting. Nothing too drastic most likely.
...an amazon summary, "In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love." AMAZON LINK OF WHOA THAT'S A LOT REVEALED
First, I feel that I harp a lot on switching narrations in books. This book switched between the narration of three characters; Isra, Bo, and Gem. I liked it a lot because it wasn't complete chapters and then sudden switch in narrations (for the most part). They broke up the chapters nicely if they had different narrations. It was pretty nice. When the narration switched, it actually seemed to have purpose and wasn't random nonsense. Again, it was pretty nice.
On this book, the amazon summary definitely needs to be ignored because it reveals WAYYY too much of the story. Let's begin.
Once upon a time there was a God who helped the planet. One day, a bunch of humans came in a ship and were like LET'S COLONIZE THIS PLANETTTTT. The planet was like, WHOA, WHOA, CHILL OUT, and the humans went YOU CAN'T MAKE ME and began to build domes. The God was like WHOA, WHOA NOT COOL, I CAN'T HELP YOU IF YOU GET IN THOSE DOMES. The humans were like WHATEVS WE DO WHAT WE WANT. So they built the domes and God was like NO, SERIOUSLY STOPPPP. Then the humans had some weird thing happen and they're like, WAIT WAIT, IF WE WANT THIS TO BE AWESOME, WE SHOULD MAKE A BLOOD SACRIFICE TO GOD. God was like WHOA, NO NO, I DO NOT WANT YOUR BLOOD....but his personality split so he was evil blood needing God in the dome and gracious God out of the dome. Gracious God gifted the humans with mutations so they could better live in the environment because the domes were REALLY screwing with the environment, caused the God to split into two, anddddd everyone slowly begins to die.
Flash forward to present time where Isra is in line to the throne of the families that continue to make the blood sacrifices to the evil God. She's blind, her mother went crazy, and her father has questionable motivations (not sexual at all (serious face)). She's been living trapped in her tower since her mother came and has monstrous traits where her skin is papery and feels as if it's peeling.
Switch to Gem who is a monstrous, his people are dying, and he breaks into the dome to retrieve a rose bush (the symbol of the sacrifices). He gets caught and arrested but Isra is like NOOOO SPARE HIM. So they do and they begin a weird hateship. It's tentative friendship from Isra but all hate from Gem.
Then there's Bo who is like the misunderstood boy who crushes on Isra and feels very entitled to everything. He says he loves Isra, but it doesn't really seem like it.
So the driving plot of the story is that Isra wants to heal the monstrous and prevent any mutations (and help her own mutation), Gem wants to save his people, and Bo just wants to be King (by marrying Isra).
Engage shenanigans, emotional knots of weirdness, and some annoying stuff.
Annoying stuff like the book driving home the point that Isra is BLIND but about a third of the way through the book Bo is like, "Dude, don't drink your tea, I think your being poisoned". Isra is like, "OKAY," and then a couple weeks later, BAM EYESIGHT.
I have qualms with this on so many levels. When Isra was blind, she was still a very strong, confident character. She was a little unsure of how everything looked, and was hesitant to make a stand, but she was working up to it.
Then BAM EYESIGHT and suddenly she could truly love Gem, she could loathe Bo, she could suddenly pick up on all these small nuances of the world because of her sight. Almost implying that only with sight could she be a complete person; someone whole and worthy of being called Queen.
I LOATHE THIS IMPLICATION. SHE WAS FINE WITHOUT HER SIGHT. That magic moment should have waited until the end like when Needle got fixed. Seriously. If you wanted it THAT bad it could have waited.
I'm morally upset by the implications.
I also REALLY wanted to see more of Gem and the desert people. I was wayyyy done with the domed city before it led us other places. I was wayyyy done with the dome city period.
....yep, I'm done here.