What We’re Reading: Kindred

Rating: 5 out of 5

Written in 1979, Kindred by Octavia Butler has been on my bookshelf for at least a year without me so much as reading the table of contents.


I’d bought it at the suggestion of some writer friends who offered it as a title written by and featuring black people. The search led me to Butler as an author and Kindred as the first book to read from her long list of award winning novels.


The story of Kindred, is a massive trigger warning for people of color, descendants of slavery and oppression as well as women who’ve survived sexual assault as well as various forms of domestic abuse.


The most difficult parts of the book were the parts of the story that gave it it’s edge. A glimpse at the degradation experienced as a slave in the antebellum South.


As Dana traveled back and forth through space and time I too went on a journey of self discovery, though no stranger to the tales of slavery, this particular story had the added insult of having a free woman from the modern world transported to the past and told she had to act the part. In a time where slavery is a not so distant memory and injustice is an everyday publicized occurrence the similarities of the past and the present are undeniable.


I could’ve been Dana, transported from my Philadelphia home in 2018 to 1815 where my complexion merely meant I probably wouldn’t work out in the fields. I’m not sure if I could’ve rescued Rufus.


The title Kindred, could speak to the two couples most noted in the book. The juxtaposition between Rufus and Alice & Kevin and Dana is a connection I couldn’t quite explain.


During the reign of slavery, slaves weren’t able to marry, had no rights and weren’t even seen as people. Rufus exploited this in his pursuits to woo, abuse and eventually drive Alice a formerly free woman to kill herself. Though Rufus claimed to love Alice  his actions showed he could only love her as much as he could any other property he possessed.


A stark contrast from the 70s, marrying outside of your race wasn’t common but occurred. Kevin waited 5 years for Dana and she returned to endure humiliation for him.


I personally don’t feel the title speaks to the story at all. I wouldn’t even say that Dana and Rufus are kindred spirits, their only connection being a bloodline established out of rape and systematic torture. Usually when thinking of the word, it elicits thoughts of fate and a connection that surpasses all boundaries.


This particular connection was to a place, time and person contradictory to the life Dana had built for herself. Beyond transcending time to save his own skin, Rufus Weylin exhibited none of the qualities of a kindred spirit.


It would be easy to create stereotypical characters and in some way Butler, manipulated stereotypes to tell her story however, I would say that Butler was able to cultivate well rounded life-like characters that I connected with and felt for. Dana for me was the most relatable. I am a black woman living in the modern era, it was as if I had been transported into the pass and as she was stripped of each layer of the modern world in a way so was I. There were times I felt physically sick from reading about her ordeal but I’m happy for having read it.


Octavia Butler must have a great mind to consider the conundrum she beset Dana. Without Rufus she would cease to exist, but how long is she to endure to ensure her own safety? She also forms a bind with the boy, once hoping to influence him for the better he evolves into the beast she dreaded despite her presence. I felt myself densely waiting on the arrival of her first descendant just so she could go home and never return.


Dana and Kevin are a biracial couple living in 1978 California at a time when race relations were tense but facing process. Their immediate transport to the antebellum South where white men used black slave women as bed warmers and breeders is a 180 degree switch from what they’re used to. Rufus, his parents and even the slaves had simply been playing the roles taught to them by society as a whole.


A part of the story I didn’t care for is the loss of her arm and the explanation behind it. Call me overly sympathetic to Dana’s plight but hadn’t she gone through enough? To then say that Butler, couldn’t have let her return completely, that some part of her had to remain in the past.


Personally, I feel by the end of the book that Dana had been altered enough and choosing to leave her with both arms wouldn’t have hurt. She’d been overworked, slapped, punched, kicked, whipped and had at one point slit her own wrists. Dana will forever be physically and psychologically altered.


I suppose one would have to wonder how Rufus survived without Dana prior to her birth, but I guess time paradoxes would suggest that she was always the one who kept him alive.


With more than 450,000 copies in print I can see why Kindred comes so highly recommended. The Book itself is a healthy blend of genres spanning across science fiction, fantasy, neo-slave narratives and historical fiction.


Kindred made me openly cry and wanna jump into the book and throttle the characters. I happily give this one a 5 out of 5.

Have You Read Kindred? What did you think? Let me Know in the Comments Below!



You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Advertisements

What We’re Reading: Hart’s Hope

Rating: 3 out of 5


I discovered Hart’s Hope by Orson Scott Card while reading a readers digest reference book written by Card. In it he discussed a variety of topics to help readers write their novels and he used his own experiences and writing as examples.


Card is the author of the Ender’s Game saga and a literary icon from what I’ve researched. It only made sense that I read his fantasy novel, to glean some hidden wisdom from his work.


I definitely learned a lot from reading it.


What I learned most was, though I did enjoy the plot of Hart’s Hope, I wasn’t sold on how the story was told.


The kingdom of Inwit, formerly Hart’s Hope has endured a power struggle for over 300 years, through magical and at times divine intervention the cruel king was usurped by Palicrovol a man the Gods deemed worthy to rule, he was then exiled by Queen Beauty, daughter of the cruel king, robbed of her virtue and banished from her homeland she uses the blackest of magic to lord over all.


The Gods through small miracles cause the Hero’s Journey of Orem Scanthips, the only person who can thwart the evil queen.


All the makings of an epic story until you open the book and get slapped by the fantastical names of this world.


Evanescence Eleven…


There are a few things I didn’t enjoy about Hart’s Hope that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the tale. The first would be some of the names, like our flower princess for instance  “Enziquelvinisensee Evelvenin” a name so convoluted I don’t wish to read it let alone trying to understand how it’s pronounced. Changing it to Weasel was probably the biggest favor Card could’ve done for us.


You know this story but, forgot so I’ll remind you.


At the beginning of my reading I noticed the story was a second person narrative. There is a brief paragraph in the beginning of the book that explains this individual is writing to king Palicrovol, in hopes to save the boy Orem’s life.


I have never read a story with a 2nd person narrator that I enjoyed and this particular story did nothing to change that. Throwing in the occasional “you remember that don’t you?” doesn’t change the fact that there are things the narrator shouldn’t know and hiding the identity of the narrator only adds to the confusion.


This new heading means I’m starting a new scene.


 Each chapter was separated into cute little vignettes meant to move the story along while covertly jumping through time. At times the headings broke up the story in a convenient way easing you through otherwise challenging sections with strange vernacular. Other times the headings came as abrupt stop signs interrupting the flow and reminding you of why you hate headings in books. (Is that just me?…oh well)  


I wonder what kind of story it would’ve been without the headings, pretentiously made up names and second person narrative.


I did enjoy the world created by OSC. As this story was mentioned in the world building section of the reference guide I was pleased to see that  his world development skills were phenomenal.


My overall opinion is that this book is neither completely horrible nor is it that great. I can add it to my read pile and that is important. 


Have You Read Hart’s Hope? What did you think? Let me Know in the Comments Below!



You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Time Paradox)

20171112_122116128101733.jpg

***Spoiler Alerts in this review***

Time jumps, magical romance and a villain with the tendencies of a cockroach. The Time Paradox thrusts us right into life shortly after Holly and Artemis return from Hybras.

Artemis is settling into life as big brother to twins Beckett and Myles, while sorting out life as a do-gooder. Holly reinstated at the LEP is also readjusting to life 3 years into her future.

A mortally ill Angeline Fowl, forces Artemis to call on his magical friends to take him back in time, and help prevent his younger self from making a big mistake.

The Time Paradox offers the usual Fowl formula we’ve come to know and love. A conflict causes the magical and mortal worlds to collide, the solution is barred by witty adversaries whom almost defeat our heroes, but, as always our Artemis outsmarts and inevitably defeats them.

Usually we find a superficial villain as well as a hidden villain revealed later in the story. Book One Artemis himself was the superficial party, responsible for the kidnap and ransom which initiates the entire series. While Briar Cudgeon was the unknown adversary, a social climbing sycophant with a penchant for backstabbing.

The progression of Artemis from aspiring supervillain to well adjusted oldest son and clever teenage genius, is one that needed to be told in eight books.

The maturity and desperation of a young boy with a missing father, mentally-ill mother and the wealth and free time of the elite allowed him to meet fairy guardians who changed his life and became true friends.

Something Artemis Fowl definitely needed. His friendship with Holly has definitely improved him as a person, but it’s their friendship that makes their budding feelings tricky. As things become more complex, to say it’s complicated would be an understatement.

Artemis Fowl is my recommendation for reader’s who enjoy action, intellectual warfare, and magic. The life of a Robin Hood style anti-hero is just what your library needs.

Each new adventure provides an opportunity for Artemis to think on his feet and prove that he’s truly worthy of the title “boy genius”.

Two more novels to go, crazy Opal on the loose AGAIN, and at least one of his parents’ is in on his secret. I can only imagine what will happen in the Atlantis Complex!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Have you read the Time Paradox? What did you think? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

October Book Haul Pt. 1

I needed to complete some collections if I plan to meet my 2017 reading goal, but also I just really like having a full collection. Mostly rounding out series collections I’d already started, starting with the Divergent Trilogy and The Immortals. The Mortal Instruments, a series I started but was never able to finish were all ordered via Thrift Books and it saved me tons!

When the delivery came I assumed the complete order had arrived but some of my books may be coming from farther away. I now own the full Divergent Trilogy plus the Four Novella, and was also able to fill in the gaps of The Immortals and start working on The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices.  I can’t decide which series to start next!

 

 

 

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Lost Colony)

Book Number #5. ​As always I absolutely loved this book. I’ve been binge reading for my 2017 Book Review Challenge a running theme I’ve noticed in this series is Action. 

This book is like if James Bond had a fairy god family or if Timmy Turner was a spy… A refreshing twist for the series is that we were dropped immediately into a situation. Artemis and Butler are tracking down  a demon when they notice they aren’t the only ones on the trail.

Holly fresh from quitting the LEP is a P.I./Bounty Hunter with Mulch Diggums. Ironically enough bounty hunters are ridiculed in this world too. 

A new layer of the story is added with the introduction of Section 8. A secret sector of the LEP which handles assignments “confidential” and otherwise too “challenging” for standard LEP officers. Holly is immediately recruited. 

This particular book does something many tv shows fail miserably at attempting. It provided a leap in time that moved the story along as well as refreshed the series. Jumping a few years into the future made Minerva an appropriate age. (She was 12 and he was 14 which seems inappropriate if a budding romance were to take place) While also giving everyone a brand new start. 

I’ve been recommending this series for weeks and I’ll do it again. I’ve been dragged across Europe, To the Arctic and Back and out of space and time continuously. I personally feel a little exhausted but it’s just another day for Artemis Fowl. 

Be sure to check out this review and others @ blumoonfiction.wordpress.com

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl (The Opal Deception)

As a budding fan of the Artemis Fowl series, I’m pleased to say Eoin Colfer has not disappointed. The Opal Deception, starts of with the return of a formidable opponent and the final exit of one of our favorite heroes.

Artemis Fowl the Opal Deception seems to be all about evolution and growth. The evolution of Holly from a headstrong, impulsive cop to a tactical professional investigator who’s efforts have saved the people time and time again.

Artemis has evolved from a budding megalomaniac to a somewhat respectable if not dangerously intelligent young prodigy with a penchant for missing art.

Butler’s transition actually occurred in book three, dying and being brought back fifteen years older has that effect on some people. 

Mulch also began his rebirth in book three, the criminal dwarf has been performing selfless acts in attempts to save Artemis forfeiting his traditional views as well as sometimes his freedom for our gang.

I suppose the biggest take away from Book Four: The Opal Deception is that this was a crossroads for the series. The first four books saw our characters as a motley crew thrown together by circumstance. Unlikely friendships were forming despite the differences in species and sides of the law.

The end of The Opal Deception showed a shift. For the first time it seems all of our group is on the same side. With the exception of Foaly of course who’s still head tech guy for the LEP.

There was a message scrolled across the bottom of Book Four a feature we haven’t seen since Book One, surprisingly it’s a recruitment message from Foaly.

#BluMoonFiction #WhatWereReading #ArtemisFowl #ArtemisFowlSeries #Faeries #YoungAdult #Bibliophile #BookHaul #Bookish

2017 Book Review Challenge

I set my 2017 reading goals in January. I set the goal for 20 books and as of September I’d read 2. Determined to actually complete my goals,  I decided to appeal to my competitive nature and join a second book challenge. DelightedReader.com has several book reading challenges including a reading scavenger hunt and a binge read option.

The challenge I chose sets a goal not just for my reading but also for my writing. The 2017 Book Review Challenge allows you to set your own goals as long as you read the book and write a review. 

You can read all my reviews right here on Blu Moon Fiction and check up on my progress via my Good reads feed. 
To join the Book Review Challenge here!