Let me just start out by saying that I have no idea what to think of this book.
|(Source) Slap a title on this and I would read it in a heartbeat.|
|Have another dragon, just because. (source)|
Halme is portrayed as this Helen of Troy type of beauty, a very passive person who is tired of her immortal existence. In a twist, she takes unexpected agency and becomes hugely important in the end of the book -- while her mysterious brother/lover remains in the shadows.
I really wanted to love this book, OK? It had dragons.
But in addition to all the problems outlined above, I had further reservations. Nathan is first introduced as a mixed-race white and Indian Asian kid, with dark skin and hair. However, we soon learn that his conception was supernatural. So much for representation; he was fathered in a different universe. A universe where, we later learn, all the aliens look vaguely Asian.
The book goes on about how advanced their society is and how beautiful Halme is, and how the aliens look a bit like certain Asian ethnic groups on Earth. And then, completely oblivious, the author refers to "Orientals" when describing what Nathan looks like.
|Pictured: fan art of the MG novel you should be reading instead of this one. The Lives of Christopher Chant. Check it out.|
The one thing I absolutely, 100% loved
This book had a girl with an abusive father...and she didn't forgive him.
I could have done cartwheels. I could have cheered. Pretty sure I did a small victory fist when she called for help after the guy started beating on her mom. You go, kid!
And when Nathan tries to give her the old "He's still your dad" line, she sharply reprimands him. When someone dies suspiciously and her father has a motive, she doesn't try to protect him. You get the sense that she probably wants a decent father and is depressed about the relationship. But she hates her abusive father and makes that 100% clear.
Seriously, what the fuck is it with authors who feel the need to spin the Hallmark-channel-approved "character must forgive an abuser or if not, reconcile themselves to loving them anyway BECAUSE FAMILY IS EVERTHING" bullshit into their narratives? Like, no? Why must characters always let toxic people back into their lives just so the author can get that feel-good resolution? Why can't people realize that writing narratives where "you have to love them/forgive them because they're family" could do actual harm to an abused kid reading one of those books?
Hazel from Greenstone Grail is a rare and much-needed exception.
3 stars. Do I like it? Do I hate it? I still have no idea. I'm so annoyed I need to read the sequel just to figure out what is going on with this book. And series. And everything. Ugh.