Showing posts with label racist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racist. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Review] The Amateurs (#1) - Sara Shepard: Rookie Detectives and Murder

In THE AMATEURS, Aerin and a bunch of amateur detectives are trying to solve the murder of her older sister.

What intrigued me: Felt like reading a thriller.

Awful Execution

THE AMATEURS has the strangest premise: A couple teenagers who are obsessed with unsolved crimes and frequent true crime forums decide to solve a murder case. What sounds really great in theory absolutely fails in the execution. Shepard's writing style doesn't really match the tone of the story, it's wonky at best, and never manages to convey the atmosphere you'd expect in a book like this. The multiple POVs neither work, nor are the characters fleshed out enough to make this story even remotely compelling. Had THE AMATEURS stuck with Aerin's POV alone, I would've liked this a lot more. The other characters are just messy to read about the writing feels stilted. This is definitely a subjective taste issue, if you've enjoyed other Shepard books in the past, you'll probably feel differently.

Another thing that bothers me about the execution is the fact that this is not a fast-paced thrilling narrative. It reads exactly like the premise sounds- amateurs working on a case, not knowing what they're doing. This is just not fun, and beyond that the whole reveal and set up of the mystery makes no sense whatsoever, and renders this story pretty much unrealistic and off-puttingly pointless. I also suspect that a ton of plot holes will open up when you're reading this for the second time.

Sexism, Racism, Exoticism

To a degree all I've said so far can be overlooked. It's really subjective. But the last nail in the coffin is just the horrible, extremely offensive portrayal of non-white characters in this. I hated every second of reading any description of non-white characters in this and seeing reviewers praise the "diversity" in this book is laughable at best, making me lose my faith in humanity at worst. I think there are a total of two non-white characters. One of the protagonists, Seneca, is biracial-coded. I don't think it's on-the-page representation, I certainly don't recommend that you pick this up because of this, and neither should this be on a list of books with biracial characters. She's described as exotic, with light eyes and light brown skin, and that's that. That's not how representation words, this is actually just exoticism.

Then we've got characters who homogenize Asians and make jokes about all Asians being the same, without having it addressed as racist, which renders me speechless.

Beyond that THE AMATEURS is dripping with sexism. From centering every female character's personality around their breasts, to turning the female characters pretty much just into sex objects and reducing them to their sexuality - this is as far from feminism as it gets.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sexism, racism, bad prose, and a plot that makes no sense - decide for yourself if you think that's worth picking it up. I certainly regret the time I spent reading this. Hours of my life I'm never going to get back.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781484742273

Synopsis:
"I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read a decent YA thriller lately?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

[Review] Six of Crows (#1) - Leigh Bardugo: European Exoticism, Russian Cliches, and a Confusing World





In SIX OF CROWS, a gang of master thieves is hired to free the inventor of a dangerous drug that might kill everyone who uses it.

What intrigued me: The fact that no one on tumblr is physically able to shut up about Leigh Bardugo. Did I even have a choice?

European exoticism isn't cool-or inventive

The world building is just awkward. Ketterdam, the setting, is loosely based on a cliche of Amsterdam. The language and lingo the characters use is a weird mix between Dutch, German and Swedish words and names, umlaut marks thrown around randomly, and every cliche you've ever read about Russia. Please don't smash existing languages together, it may sound ~cool~ and **exotic** for people who don't see through this, but it makes native speakers cry. I cried. 

I was secondhand embarrassed more times than I could count. Stadwatch, Fabrikator, Hringkälla, Corporalnik ... can we just stop??

This does not work as a stand-alone

Aside from the fact that the lingo made me want to crawl into a hole out of embarrassment, this is just not the book for me. The characters are very much cliches - we have the morally grey super attractive reckless leader Kaz, the funny best friend Jesper, the badass girl who's secretly pining for Kaz, Inej. And some filler characters whose names I didn't bother to learn. 

There is so much filler, so many names and so many concepts I have never heard befor-. SIX OF CROWS is technically a spin-off of Bardugo's Grisha verse and supposed to be able to stand on it's own, but it really can't. I didn't know what was happening half the time. Heartrender, Drüskelle, Grisha... what is all this??! It's thrown around in the book very early on without explanation, or just a lazily muttered sentence here and there, and I had to look words up online to be able to follow the plot. This a red flag and should never happen if this book is marketed as the beginning of a different, independent series!

Maybe it was the topic, maybe it was the world building, but I was just so bored out of my mind while I read this. Nothing in there, nothing in this premise made me want to continue. I didn't like any of the characters, I found the mission annoying, and the world building confused me too much to even want to bother learning what's going on. I'm sorry, this is probably an it's not you, it's me situation.


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you haven't been in contact with Northern European or Russian culture, go ahead. You'll probably enjoy this and think it's very unique and interesting. To my European friends out there: No.



Additional Info

Published: 29th September 2015
Pages: 465
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781627792127

Synopsis:
"Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
 

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first."(Source: Goodreads)


 Have you read any of the Grisha books?

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