I received this book from the Apex Book Minions program for an honest review.
TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of rape, Romani slurs, abuse
Honestly this book was a confusing mess to me. It jumps around in time and between people on occasion to where I just couldn’t put the pieces together.
FIrst of all I don’t really know who the main character is. I think her name is Zhan, but I’m not sure. I think she might be white, still not sure. Maybe Adel was?
As for diversity this book feels like it was using a checklist.
“Brown person – check
Gypsy – check
Red head – check
Autistic person – check”
Even so lots of people in this book are described as having dark or black skin, however it seems to be different than brown skin. As lots of the bad people are described as having dark skin and being cannibals.
There are even these types of descriptions “People with “nut brown” skin that speak like “frogs and chimpanzees” and have “slanted eyes”. That’s not the first time that description was used.
I also hope you like your Romani slurs as the word “gypsy” appears constantly when Staf Sru Korinyes shows up and then after that. Oh and she’s infested with ants. I shit you not. It’s why the ‘gypsies’ can sing so good is that they are a literal hive mind.
Then there is Partridge. Yeah that’s his name. He’s the autistic one that is constantly called “fool” and is beaten mercilessly into silence. Don’t worry, they are both dead before the book is out. The book doesn’t even describe Partridge all that much because “he was Seth’s problem”. Which is a damn cop out from the author considering how long this book is.
Next is Korinyes who is sexually assaulted into submission by Seth. Then they are suddenly totally soulmates or something. It was disgusting to read.
Adel is supposed to be a “strong warrior woman” but she’s also threatened with rape from a “dark skinned mercenary” and needs saving by a man. She also breaks down and cries and then needs help from a man.
All this time I have no real idea what’s going on in the book other than they are on some trek to somewhere. In the meantime the narrative jumps about like a stream of consciousness, first the characters are talking about one thing, then they are hungry. Damn if the characters aren’t always starving and hungry. Many words are used to tell us this fact, and the fact they are freezing in the cold and how people are always puking all over the place and how gross and ugly everything is. This definitely want to be a GRIMDARK book. I do not like grimdark books.
Overall this book was a disjointed confusing mess and I really didn’t understand what was going on as it jumped around between time, places and people.