Showing posts with label rich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rich. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2017

[Review] The Winner's Curse (The Winner's #1) - Marie Rutkoski: In Which Slavery Isn't All That Bad

In THE WINNER'S CURSE, Kestrel buys a slave and gets mixed up in a revolution.

What intrigued me: Gorgeous cover mostly, but also the hype.

So... slavery is okay, I guess?

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I started THE WINNER'S CURSE. I had no idea that it would be about slaves, and I had even less of an idea about the romance being between the slave owner and the slave! What can I say, I just find this incredibly distasteful and strange, especially as a minority myself, I don't want to read about the romanticization of slave trade.

THE WINNER'S CURSE is a prime example of how to not approach a sensitive topic and exactly the reason why I shy away from books written by white people about topics that influence the lives of POC. People never do their research. Rutkoski uses slave trade as a mere plot device to showcase her white savior protagonist and didn't even bother to portray the lives of slaves accurately. I'm not asking for historical accuracy here, it's high fantasy after all, but could we not act like the life as a slave is actually quite okay and they're basically just well-off servants? Could we not act like slavery doesn't involve torture, robbing people of their identities, robbing them of their homes, and treating them like actual human trash?

THE WINNER'S CURSE doesn't even once show us how horribly slaves are treated. The Valorians, the conquerors, are never actually shown beating their slaves. From a novel that's about such a topic you'd expect some graphic scenes. You'd expect something beyond just trading people like cattle. I assume Rutkoski decided not to show this because this would lead to us not rooting for the Valorians, aka Kestrel.

This is not a fictional scenario, slave trade exists to this day (!!!!). Could we not invalidate the experiences of minorities all over the world and act like it isn't all that bad and that you just have to wait for your rich white person to save you and give you the opportunity to revolt?

If at least the prose was great...

My personal feelings about the romance and the whole slavery thing aside, THE WINNER'S CURSE is not a skillfully written book. The writing is very technical, very emotionless. Lots of short sentences, lots of factual descriptions, even worse with changes in POV! I struggled with it a lot in the beginning because it's just not what I'm used to. 

The premise isn't that bad, despite Rutkoski not really bothering with world building. What made me lose all faith in the book is the fact that her protagonist Kestrel is an absolutely horrible person. She doesn't care about the slaves, she buys one herself even, and at no point tries to actually help the slaves. It's absolutely despicable to read about someone that doesn't understand slavery is bad - until she actually forms a bond with a slave. Wtf?!

I am tired, so, so, so tired. I can't believe that nobody bothers to mention this in reviews. I can't believe that nobody even seems to bother to get upset about this. 

Why is this so popular?




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I find this book incredibly offensive. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone and it's beyond me how you can close your eyes to the problematicness of it all. Privilege I guess. Thumbs down from me.

Additional Info

Published: March 4th 2015
Pages: 355
Publisher: Farrar Strauss Giroux
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780374384685

"Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read THE WINNER'S CURSE?

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Friday, April 1, 2016

[Review] Lucky Me - Saba Kapur: Bodyguards, Rich Kids, and Movie Stars

In LUCKY ME, rich girl Gia is threatened by an anonymous caller, which causes her father to hire a shockingly attractive bodyguard to follow her around.

What intrigued me: I was hoping for a light Kinsella-esque read.

Great first person narration

The most striking thing and actually also my favorite thing about LUCKY ME is definitely the main character, Gia. She's incredibly funny and just comes across as a real person. You hardly encounter novels about rich kids that don't play into stereotypes, and Kapur really managed to create a likable protagonist. I loved her witty banter with love interest and bodyguard Jack, their dialogues are definitely the highlight.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Gia, the other characters remain very one-dimensional and uninteresting. Because the narration is so focused on Gia and her internal monologue, LUCKY ME lacks world establishing. Hardly anything is described, from Gia's surroundings to the looks of the people around her. I do like that Gia's voice is so strong and seamlessly can transition from background information to the present tense storyline, but I would have liked this more if I didn't have to conjure up all images on my own. 

One-dimensional love interests

The bodyguard storyline isn't very groundbreaking and didn't really get to me that much. The immediate danger of the situation is mostly defused by the fact that Gia absolutely ignores it. There isn't much urgency in the story - which would have really spiced things up a little. 

Jack is always just hovering around as the sole reminder that something is actually wrong. I didn't really connect with him, most of the time I just couldn't make sense of his personality. Is he being sarcastic? Is he just trying to come back at Gia for her sassy comments? The only info we get of him is that he's attractive, and that just makes him a very flat character to me that I didn't have any reason to care about from the start. Same with the other love interest, neither of them were really fleshed out enough to actually make me root for either of them to end up with Gia. I wish the novel had tried less to force the inevitable love triangle and had played more with the stalker sub plot.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

LUCKY ME is a sweet, fun contemporary novel. It may be very predictable, but it's without a doubt a nice pastime if you can look past the generic love interests. The narration is truly impeccable, hilarious, and absolutely unique.

Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 329
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780692536407

"For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life.

But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a "Dr. D" start buzzing daily.

When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia's romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.

But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home.

In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite light, funny book?

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