Showing posts with label heroine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heroine. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top 10 Current YA Tropes that Will Make Me NOT Want to Read a Book

I've done a couple variations of this post over the years, but it's definitely time for more up-to-date refresher for Top Ten Tuesday.

Examining Racism - Without POC.
I don't know where this trend started, but I absolutely deeply, deeply dislike any book that uses fictional races (elves, dragons, werewolves etc.) instead of people of color and tries to make them oppressed to illustrate how bad racism is.
(Spoiler alert: Anyone who isn't white knows this already. You don't have to teach us, oh my god.) Even worse when it's written by a white author who lacks the nuance and skill to execute this well.

The Alpha Male Douchebag.
I hate them. I've always hated them. The love interests who are bulky, muscly, super attractive and absolute shitheads to their girlfriends. I DNF anything with that instantly, I have no time for this. Knock knock! It's 1950, it wants their mentality back.

Voiceless, shy, and "bland" heroine.
I think all readers of YA are collectively tired of this. If I read about another girl that's bland with brown hair, brown eyes, and no personality, but yet thinks she's not like other girls? Well, I'm literally going to throw that book into my fireplace. No time for this.

In a world where the rich green-blooded people oppress the lower class because of their purple blood and inferior silver eyes and golden hair...
There are approximately 327836273 books about this. I am SO over this overdone and unimaginative premise of rich superior genetics people versus poor inferior (but still conventionally attractive) genetics people. Even worse when one of the poor ones manages to infiltrate the higher ups and it actually turns out they're also green-blooded/have ominous super powers/have an inexplicable asset they need. I just described probably 40% of the latest high fantasy releases. Please stop.

A girl with inexplicable powers and two boys who love her - one good and innocent, and one evil and mysterious. Who will she choose?
At this point nobody will take any book seriously that makes use of this. It's so overdone, it's not even funny anymore. And it's also really annoying that you always know that she's going to choose the bad boy every single time. I'm not bitter or anything.

Contemporary m/f romances that have no other premise than "he was a boy, she was a girl".
Compulsory heteronormativity is real and I'm not letting it on my shelves. I don't pick up any contemporary romance at all unless it goes more into the contemporary direction than the romance direction and has a super unique premise. If it's f/f or otherwise LGBTQ*, all bets are off though, I'm buying anything you have.

Whitewashing.
Don't think we don't notice and we don't see you. We see you whitewashing common and well-known mythology and cultures. We see you. Stop it.

One girl, destined for greatness by the ancient prophecy, rises up to lead a rebellion...
How has nobody deleted this trope completely yet? I can't see it anymore. I want to see no more teenage rebellions. Please god no. Who'd follow a teenager into war anyway? Maybe I'm just outgrowing this trope, I don't know if actual teenagers still enjoy this. I'm feeling old.

Fictional Oppression or Slavery.
You guys know how I feel about this, so yeah, no need to repeat it. Thanks, but no thanks.

Problematic Comparison Titles.
If it says for fans of [insert any known super ableist/racist/homophobic book], I am out. This is actually a really great method that has proved to be always pretty successful. Weed out the weak by watching what books get compared to. Will save you a lot of time.



What are some tropes that make you not want to read a book?


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Sunday, July 3, 2016

[Review] And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) - Kiersten White: Vlad the Impaler and a Badass Anti-heroine





In AND I DARKEN, the vicious Wallachian princess Lada and her gentle brother Radu are abandoned by their father Vlad Dracul to be raised in the Ottoman Empire.

What intrigued me: I absolutely love books about anti-heroes.

Fantastic Characters

AND I DARKEN doesn't read like a typical YA High Fantasy book. Don't let the blurb fool you, this isn't a story with dragons and magical creatures, this is alternate historical fiction, inspired by the famous Vlad Tepes. It's well researched, it's full of historical figures you might recognize if you're a history buff, and it's a pretty well-rounded book.

A huge portion of the book is spent on backstory, pages and pages telling us of Radu's and Lada's childhood to supposedly make us understand them and their choices better. I do have to say that the characters in AND I DARKEN are fantastic

The biggest strength of the novel is that it manages to create a realistic portrayal of nearly all of its characters, but sadly sometimes this comes at the expense of the narration. The writing is impeccable and White seamlessly manages to pull of multiple POVs without making it awkward at all. The fact that we get so much backstory does help with character establishment, but it also makes reading this equal a chore. The blurb promises the story of a vicious teenage princess, but the first 150 pages read like a family chronicle Game of Thrones style. I'm talking that part of Game of Thrones where Martin describes the ingredients of a sandwich for 3 pages.

Only for history buffs?

AND I DARKEN absolutely stands out within the genre, but I just wish there was more plot and more action to it all. White does not need so many pages to establish that Lada is brutal and mean and that Radu is a small ray of sunshine, I absolutely hated that there are so many time jumps. It makes getting attached to actual plot impossible when everything around them is constantly changing. I didn't understand the politics, I didn't really manage to create a basic understanding of who's fighting whom and why, mostly due to the story being told over the span of several years. 

It does read more like a family chronicle than a regular fantasy story. If you're not familiar with the actual history behind this story, I assume you'll feel similarly.

While I do appreciate to see something different in AND I DARKEN, I wish it was more dense, more focused on world building and less on the characters. At the end of the day this story just doesn't need to be half as long as it is. 


Rating:

★★½☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

AND I DARKEN is a very unique book with fantastic(!) characters, but the story just didn't grip me as much as I would have liked. I can certainly see many people enjoy this, especially if you're a fan of historical fiction, it's definitely a good read! Personally, if wasn't for me, I was looking for something more magical than historical.



Additional Info

Published: July 7th 2016
Pages: 498
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Genre: YA / Historical
ISBN: 9780552573740

Synopsis:
"No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books by Kiersten White?

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