Short Story Saturday #19 The Hunger Chronicles

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books around 100 pages or less that are self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.

the hunger chroniclesThe Hunger Chronicles by Tes Hilaire

Publisher:  Self published

Retail Price:  Currently free on Amazon.  $.99 on Barnes & Noble.

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Twitter  |  Website  |  Facebook

Pages: 60 pages (119 with preview for LIFE BITES)

If you remember nothing else, remember this…

The nightmare is here. There is no way out. Even death isn’t an escape because it is death. And chances are it’s already taken everyone you know.

…You’re on your own.

Just because the face is familiar doesn’t mean they won’t kill you. Hiding won’t help. And it’s past time to run. They’re already here. And hunger is the only thing they feel.

Review:  THE HUNGER CHRONICLES is a collection of short stories based in a zombie apocalyptic world, however this novella goes way beyond all expectations of zombie stories.  I was flabbergasted by the amount of character depth and how instantaneous I connected with each of the main characters.  The voice is so different for each one that I it doesn’t even seem like one author wrote THE HUNGER CHRONICLES.

By 50% I knew I had to go see if this author wrote any other books.  By 100% read, I was ready to purchase the companion book.  And, then I discovered that it was her only book not available in paperback.

Each story is stand alone.  The stories combined paint a hopeful yet morbid picture of what society has turned into.  I think the ‘hope’ resonating through each story is the reason why I found the novella so irresistible.  In most zombie books, there is no hope.  There is no plan for redemption.  But, each of these stories, particularly show that there might one day be an end to the zombie epidemic.  Now, forgive me as I beg the author to release LIFE BITES on paperback for me.

 

Don’t wait!  Pick up your copy while it is FREE on Amazon.

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Book Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

I apologize for the slight vacation in posts.  My husband took a weekend vacation and took my computer desk with him (it’s one of those white Wal-Mart folding tables), so I didn’t get everything reassembled until last night.

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If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Genre:  YA Dark Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Releases March 26th, 2013

THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN’T LEAVE BEHIND … A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the “normal” life of school, clothes and boys. Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go … a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

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I don’t usually review books this far in advance, however If You Find Me is pre-order worthy.  As a child, Carey believed every word her mama told her.  Carey raised her little sister without electricity, water and sometimes food; because her mama told her that there was a bad man out there looking for them.  When this bad man arrives with child protection services years later, Carey knows that her mother will come and save them again.  Then, she reads the note her mother says relinquishing her custody of both girls and Carey starts to doubt the stories her mother told her.

This debut novel is written from the POV of a missing child that didn’t know she was missing.  The brilliance of the novel is the contrast between Carey’s version of truth and her father’s version of the truth; the former we learn initially and the latter we learn over the course of the novel.  The truth behind why Carey ended up in the woods with her mother isn’t revealed until the very end.

This would of been an okay story if it transcribed Carey’s reintroduction with her father, but it’s a compelling story when Carey’s mute younger sister, Janessa, is stitched into the drama.  Janessa’s father was someone their mother screwed for a hit of meth and neither girl has seen that man since.  Janessa’s unwillingness to talk spawns from something that Carey did a year ago and as the horrors of both girls’ past unravels I really wondered what Carey could possibly do to top everything else they had experienced.  It was a relief when her secret was finally revealed and it wasn’t a disappointment.

I have a little sister myself, so the relationship between Carey and Janessa reminded me of my sibling bond.  It’s refreshing to have siblings in a YA story that are so genuine, you wonder if they’re fiction.  I was a less impressed by how pigeonholed Delaney was as a mean stepsister.  Compared to the other characters, Delaney was very underdeveloped and her motives questionable.

I was also slightly discouraged by the opening chapter, as it was written with a “backwoods” accent.  The accent disappears from the narrative after the first couple chapters, so don’t let the opening dissuade you.  Once the hickish accent faded from the pages, there is nothing that could stop me from finishing.  This is a book that I will recommend to friends and I think they will both love and hate me for making them read a book so poignant and real.  If You Find Me is a reminder that when a child goes missing, their story doesn’t end with being found.

rating A minus rating

(I received a copy from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I have also pre-ordered a personal hardcover copy as a result of this review.)

about author authorifyoufind(Information and picture borrowed from Goodreads.)

Emily is a writer, a poet, and a lover of books. There’s never a time she’s without a book. Her debut novel, If You Find Me, will be available from St. Martin’s on March 26, 2013 and from Orion/Indigo UK on May 2, 2013. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her caring for her horses, dogs and family on a ranch in rural Arizona, where the desert’s tranquil beauty and rich wildlife often enter into her poetry and writing. Emily’s other passion is saving equines from slaughter. She uses her writing to raise awareness of this inhumane practice, with the goal of ending the slaughter of America’s equines through transport to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. She offers sanctuary to abused and slaughter-bound equines who dazzle her every day with their forgiving nature and gratitude in exchange for security, consistency, food and love. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Emily hopes her penchant for writing will do just that. All-in-all, she’s a lefty in a right-handed world, writing her way through life and smearing ink wherever she writes.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

tiger lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher:  Harper Collins Children’s Books

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Released July 3rd, 2012

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.

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Originally, I fell in love with this book because of its gorgeous orange cover.  Then, I read the blurb and I was super excited to read a re-telling of Peter Pan from the point of view of one of my favorite Disney characters, Tinkerbell.  It turns out that Tinkerbell was the reason for much of my frustration over this beautiful story.  I started this book in July, but annoyed by Tinkerbell’s disinterest in the main characters early on in the book, I stopped reading 38 pages into the story.

A couple of days ago, I took the book back off my shelf and gave it a second chance.  It turns out that Tinkerbell was a fantastic choice for a narrator.  She could give input on a multitude of characters, since she was so small and mostly ignored.  Since she wasn’t able to speak, she couldn’t spoil the fun “surprises” the the readers knew awaited the other characters.

Tiger Lily has a unique personality that may be hard to connect to.  She’s quiet, boyish, and rebellious.  She doesn’t know how to express her feelings to anyone, including the dashing Peter Pan.  I really empathized with Tiger Lily and I was sad to say goodbye to her when the book was finished.  I truly wished that more characters acted like her – a shy tomboy – because I know quite a few in real life.

Peter Pan reminded me slightly of Lestat in Anne Rice’s vampire series.  He did what he wanted to do without caring about the consequences.  He didn’t understand why Tiger Lily made choices with her head and not her heart.

The contrast between these two characters made some very tension filled scenes.  It was heartbreaking to witness their interactions.  As a reader, I knew what should be said and what should happen, but it never unfolded that way.

One thing that did shock me was how late in the story Wendy showed up.  I almost thought that her parts would be rushed, but somehow the author was able to establish and develop Wendy just as much as the other characters.

The pirates do make an appearance, as does the ticking crocodile  but they’re rather minor characters.  I like the reasoning behind Hook’s jealousy towards Peter Pan, as well as the ‘aging curse’ which explains why some characters grow old and others do not in the land of Neverland.

So, even though this almost ended up being a DNF, I have to rate this book 5 stars.  I’m so happy that I gave this book a second chance.  I loved the characters and the story and it’s a book that I will definitely be re-reading.

rating A minus rating

(I purchased this book from my local bookstore.)

about author

tigerauthor

(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads)

I write books about vaguely magical peach orchards, resorts in the afterlife, enigmatic island princesses beloved by Tinkerbell, and…civics! I was an awkward and strange child who kept lots of secrets. Now I live with a sweet Basenji dog named Peanut who loves to eat shoes, and a sweet husband who is good at all the things I’m bad at, like being organized and thinking things through. I’ve loved writing and reading about mythical and strange things since I can remember.

Publisher’s Website  |  Facebook  | Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Tour Review/Giveaway: Wings of Tavea by Devri Walls

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Wings of Tavea tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tour.  You can check out the full tour schedule at the bottom of this post.  On this stop, we have reviews of both books and a giveaway!  Both review copies were courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest opinion   This is the first series I’ve reviewed where I gave more than one book top marks.  

Funny enough, I read the first 15% of the second book before I realized it was the sequel.  I don’t recommend doing so because not knowing the story from the first book makes the second extremely confusing.  So, remember Wings of Arian and THEN Wings of Tavea.

There’s one warning I have to give about this series.  If you read the first book, you are going to feel compelled to read the second one.  There just plain awesome.  You should be able to read both reviews, as the spoilers are fairly minor in my second review.  Even less spoilers than reading the blurb.

wingsofarian

Wings of Arian (The Solus Trilogy #1) by Devri Walls

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Storehouse Ink

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Released April 24th 2012

Kiora thought she had never heard a lie until she was sixteen. But she was wrong. Her entire existence was based on nothing but. She thought that evil did not exist. Lie. That magic was not real. Lie. And that the land of Meros was all there was. One more lie.

With Aleric telling her that evil is knocking on the door and that she is the only one who can stop them she has a choice to make. Refuse, or start the wildest most painful ride of her life.
She reluctantly dips her toe into her new existence of magic and threads, dragons and shapeshifters, and the person who wants to take control of it all: the evil Dralazar.

However, this journey was never meant to be hers alone. She will be accompanied by a Protector. To her disbelief, and utter irritation they name the hotheaded, stubborn, non -magical, (albeit gorgeous) Prince Emane. They will have to trust each other with their lives, but right now Kiora would settle for a non hostile conversation.

And now it comes down to this, If you had never heard a lie, would you know when you heard one? Is knowing good from evil innate? Kiora finds herself having to decide who lives and who dies on those very questions.

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The descriptions and visuals are stunning in this book.  It was amazing how every scene was so crisp and lifelike and yet it never felt bogged down by the descriptions.  There are good characters and there are evil characters.  They aren’t many gray characters.  However, the good characters have not so nice traits and the bad characters…well, they’re pretty bad.  I wish that there was more fleshing out with the bad characters  particularly those that end up siding with Dralazar.  He is a fun character, although his insistence to send minions to do his dirty work is almost humorous because of how badly it backfires time after time.  I really loved Dralazar.  He reminds me of Hades from Disney’s Hercules.  Talks way too much, underestimates the good guys, and is so cute when he’s mad.

I knew generally what was going to happen but by the time it did happen, I wanted anything but.  The romance is sappy and the two united faster than I liked.  The banter between Kiora and Emane was really cute in the opening chapters.  But it was nice to have a relationship in a YA novel that was healthy.  They cared for each other without the controlling, possessive, and jealous nature that many couples have in this age bracket.

Although the characters are 17 or so, this book is a very clean read.  There’s hints but nothing more on screen than a kiss.  There was more action on that Go Daddy Superbowl commercial than what this book shows.  So, both MG and YA readers can enjoy this book.  There’s some violence, but again it’s downplayed.  The focus is more on the intent of the characters than on the gore. (A-)

(Nitpick – location on Kindle 5202 there’s a missing apostrophe.  It says “The Shifters face” instead of “The Shifter’s face”.)

rating Aminus rating

wingsoftavea

Wings of Tavea (The Solus Trilogy #2) by Devri Walls

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Storehouse Ink

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Released November 2012

Kiora is rapidly learning that evil and lies come in shades of black and white and swirling greys, but nothing could have prepared her for the shock of leaving Meros.

Kiora and her protector Emane step through the pass into a world they never knew existed but were always meant to save, only to find it far worse than they could have ever imagined. Good has been forced into hiding for its own survival, while the rest of the land bows to the Shadow, a force that pushes any remaining thoughts of Dralazar from Kiora’s mind. This land is full of new creatures, each more dangerous than the last. Her visions have taken on a deadly twist, and magic, or what comes of it, was never so real. And then there is Alcander: a Tavean, their guide, and an entirely different kind of trouble.

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Book One is all about a world that has been devoid of evil and so it was a little too sweet for me at times.  Book Two is all about a world that has been devoid of good and so I love ever moment in this land.  There was much character growth from both good side and evil.  I’m also quite attached to two of the characters introduced in this book: Alexander and Lomay.  The plot in this book is slightly more unpredictable than the first, but the visuals are no less breathtaking.  I truly love the descriptions in this series.  The only two authors that I’ve read recently to rival Devri Walls’s gift are Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

My dear villain,Dralazar, has returned.  When he discovers the only way his curse can be cursed – I almost died laughing.  He knows that he’s pretty much shit out of luck, and yet he decides to press on.  This crafty villain is certain that he’ll figure out some way to gain compliance from this individual. I really like that despite being pure evil, he isn’t blinded by it.  He’s a big picture type of villain and I can’t help but crush on him a little.

As much as Emane is good for Kiora, I was absolutely giddy with excitement when the third wheel of the love triangle was introduced in this book.  Alcander is a fun character who speak more though facial expressions than with words. He doesn’t say much and he’s a grump, but I could tell from the very beginning that there’s a tender soul underneath.  I really, really like how Alcander gets under everyone’s skin and isn’t the nicest person.  He’s a damaged soul and I can’t help but want Kiora to switch her love to him over Emane.  Here’s an fine example of what people think of Alcander (Drustan is a shapeshifter):

Gratitude and relief rushed through her. Craning her neck, [Kiora] asked, “Why are you so tall?”

Drustan usually kept to the same form. Today, he looked a good foot and a half taller.

“I got tired of looking up to Alcander, so I adjusted.”

She grinned. “How did he like that?”

“He didn’t.” Drustan smirked. “But he was too proud to say anything about it.”

Lomay (who I kept calling Loopy in my head) is an interesting character who I often did the “wrong” things for the “right” reasons.  He had the best intentions at heart, I’m sure, but his lack of trust made his motives questionable.  He kept both the reader and the other characters in the dark about everything he would do until it was done.  Never asking for help or relinquishing control in the decision-making.

My only complaint for this book is that the author used a dated method of good verses evil with white vs black with the Tavean race.  The bad Taveans have black hair and the good Taveans have white hair.  High fantasy novels have a long history of making all the bad guys have “dark” features, while the good guys have “light” features, but it’s a shame that the author uses this stereotype in an otherwise original fantasy world.  Since this is a very minor detail, I still think that this book deserves full marks.  (A+)

rating Aplus rating

giveaway image lizzy dark fiction

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 about author

wingsauthorDevri Walls lives in Kuna Idaho with her husband and two kids. She has worked as a music teacher and currently, a preschool teacher. She majored in theater and her love of a story still drives her today. Thankfully, she has finally found an outlet for all the voices in her head. Her first novel, Wings of Arian, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Apple. The second book in the Solus trilogy, Wings of Tavea is scheduled for release Nov 2012.

Author Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

 

Wings of Tavea Tour Schedule

February 4

February 5

February 6

February 7

February 8

February 11

February 12

February 13

February 14

February 15

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Five Star Review: Handling Controversial Topics

So what is 5 star review?  Well, this is where, as a reviewer, I let you know what makes me rate your book 5 stars – or not.  This week topic: Handling Controversial Topics.

I plan on submitting reviews for both of the books over the next week or so.  I ran out of time today.  I will edit this post with the reviews after they’re public.

Please note that some things that turn me off to your book as a reader/reviewer turn others on and vice versa.


Handling Controversial Topics

This idea was sparked after hearing about the controversy surrounding Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt.  It has been described as the worst and most racist book ever written. What is the book about?  It is racial reversal in a science fiction setting.  The main character has to pretend to be a black woman in order to survive, because her fair skin makes her genetically inferior.

It surely wasn’t the first book to tackle this sensitive topic.  One book about racial reversal that was highly recommended was Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

Comparing the ratings

January 2001, Malorie Blackman released Noughts and Crosses and she currently has 4025 five star ratings on Goodreads and 143 one star ratings.

January 2012, Victoria Foyt released Revealing Eden and she currently has 316 one star ratings on Goodreads and 54 five star ratings.

Compare the authors

Does it matter that Malorie Blackman is a black woman and Victoria Foyt a white woman?  Does that make her more qualified to write about racial issues?  Personally, I don’t think race matters.  I think experience matters.  Throughout history there has been war and hatred based on genetic differences.  The Holocaust happened because people believed that the Aryan race was superior and Jews were inferior.    The genocide in Rwanda happened because the Hutu blamed the Tutsi for all their problems.  The internment camps in the US of Japanese Americans happened because of fear that these “Americans” were spies for the Japanese during World War Two.  What about what women had to suffer through in order to gain equality with men (and still don’t in many cultures)?

I think that a writer could write the perspective of a black person who dealt with the Civil Rights Movement as well as a black person, provided that significant research is done to capture the cultural differences and beliefs of a person living through that era.  I think that same could be said of a writer trying to capture the true emotion and horror of surviving through the Holocaust.

Malorie Blackman talks about her book: (source)

How did you come up with the idea for Noughts and Crosses? 

I’d been mulling over the idea of writing a story about slavery for quite a while, but the reaction from my friends was lukewarm to say the least.
‘Slavery is in the past’, ‘Why d’you want to rehash something so painful?’, ‘Why do black people always harp on about slavery?’ are just a few of the comments I received. Almost everyone I spoke to about it was of the view ‘Been there, done that, let’s move on.’ But I wanted to write a story about the legacy of slavery. About how attitudes way back when, still influence all our lives and the way we think and live today.

I really believe the subject of slavery is terribly important – especially in this day and age. I think it gives a context to modern day Western World thinking and attitudes regarding other races and cultures.

But the comments and feedback I received planted the seed of the idea for Noughts and Crosses in my mind. It occurred to me that the story I had in mind would be more challenging to write and hopefully read if I played with people’s perceptions of the society presented in the story. I wanted to turn society as we know it on its head in my story, with new names for the major divisions in society, i.e. Noughts (the underclass) and Crosses (the majority, ruling society). I wanted to see this new world through the eyes of the main two characters, Callum (a nought) and Sephy (a Cross). Race and racism are emotive issues that most people are loathe to discuss but I think they should be discussed, no matter how painful. I wanted the society in my book to be viewed from two different points of view (Callum and Sephy’s) to show how our perspectives colour our thinking. The adage, ‘you can’t really know someone until you have walked in their shoes’, is like all clichés mostly true. That I think was the idea I had in mind when I sat down to write Noughts and Crosses. I think it was Nietzsche who said, ‘There is no truth, only perspectives. And the more perspectives you have, the closer to the truth you get.’

Victoria Foyt talks about her book (source):

Where did the idea for the Save The Pearls books come from?

Somewhere in the back of my mind there must be a special stove with different huge cauldrons in which my stories incubate. From time to time, I toss in random elements until the story is cooked. Several key elements in my life seasoned the creation Revealing Eden.

The post-apocalyptic scenario grew from my deep concern about the loss of our natural environment. I wondered what would happen if global warming turned today’s prevailing beauty standards upside down? In the story, because Caucasians have less melanin in their skin to protect them from the sun’s burning rays, they are branded as inferior Pearls. Dark-skinned people, or Coals, have more resistance to the Heat, and therefore, now rule society. Eden Newman, a lithe blue-eyed blonde, would be considered gorgeous in our day, while in the future she has to beg for a mate or suffer an early death. The direction in which my wonderings took me greatly surprised me, as it often does.

Lastly, I had come to a point in my life where I wasn’t sure I believed in true love anymore. I’d been burned and decided love was a hoax. When Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, perhaps the only hope for mankind, she is cast out into the last patch of rainforest and into the arms of a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change, but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love. In writing her story, I also found a way to open my heart, and find love.

As you can tell, I think the problem lies with the focus of the story.  While Blackman sought to explain how how “our perspectives color our thinking”, Foyt wondered “would happen if global warming turned today’s prevailing beauty standards upside down”.  Foyt is focused on the skin-deep elements of racism, while Blackman focuses on cultural differences that emerge long-term from racism.  In Revealing Eden, the cure is to change the physical aspect of the inferior race.  In Noughts and Crosses, the cure is to change the thought processes of both races.

Characters

What I enjoyed most about reading Noughts and Crosses is that despite the hatred and social difference, the characters reacted eerily similar in similar situations.  For instances, both a Nought and a Cross use suicide as an escape mechanism.  And both of their suicides are covered up by family members, one declared an accident and the other a cry for attention.  Callum and Sephy try over and over again to push the limits of society and be together and prove that the color of skin makes no difference.  Although there are several characters that are racist, neither one of these two characters ever fit that classification.

What I hated most about Revealing Eden is that Eden is very closed minded.  Without offering any supporting evidence to the reader, she calls every single Coal cruel and is extremely jealous of their power and position in society.  Despite Bramford trying repeatedly to help her out (for reasons that end up being selfish), Eden hates him.  She thinks of him as a beast.  She thinks of herself as beautiful beneath the mask (black makeup) society forces her to wear.  For the entire novel, Eden thinks only of herself.  She doesn’t ever challenge the notion that skin color matters.  Even in the final pages, she is very aware of the skin color of every other character.  Eden is definitely what I would call a racist.

Slang Terms

In Noughts and Crosses, there are several terms used.  The derogatory term for Crosses are Daggers.  The word nought means nothing, while the word Cross means people of God. The derogatory term for noughts are blankers.  Also, it is important to note that in the book, any time a Cross refers to a “nought” it is lowercase, while “Cross” is always capitalized. I thought that was a nice touch.

In Revealing Eden, fair skinned people are referred to as Pearls and dark skinned people as Coals.  These are the derogatory terms for both races, but Eden never offers any non-derogatory terms.  I find that odd, since I know I don’t think of myself as a [insert racial term], but rather identify myself with the politically correct terminology.  The word “Coal” also too closely resembles current derogatory terms used for black people, while “Pearl” doesn’t have any negative connection to white people.

Moral of the Story

In both stories, there are two questions to be answered.  Would I stand up for what is right or would I follow the crowd?  Would I follow the rules or would I fight for equality?  The main characters of Noughts and Crosses ultimately chose the difficult path of following what they think is right, but along the way the do sometimes give in to the easy path.  Sometimes they follow the rules, but in the end it’s equality or nothing.  Noughts and Crosses reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, in that it takes blood and sacrifice in order for the two families to consider reconciling and stop fighting.  The main character of Revealing Eden follows the beliefs of others most of the book.  She doesn’t challenge the status quo and as a reader that makes her a very unlikable character.  Revealing Eden reminds me of Beauty and the Beast.  Eden slowly (very slowly) accepts her own beauty and discovers the man within the beast.

 Missteps

There are also two things that readers of Saving Eden complain about.  One is the use of Blackface in the novel.  Blackface was used in the early era of television.  A white person would put on black makeup to pretend to be a black person and often portray the black person in a derogatory manner.  In May of 2012, an eight year old used Blackface to pretend to be Martin Luther King and he was suspended for it (source).  Black people do not want to be reminded of the racist acts surrounding the use of black makeup on white people, so when Eden used it in both the book and in the book trailer it was no surprised that it was harshly criticised.  Even if Foyt was oblivious to the racist implications growing up (it was never taught to me in school), if she had done her research on the Civil Rights Movement and the history of racism in the United States, it would have surfaced.  I blame this particular misstep on a lack of research, rather than intended racism.

The second is that Bramford is often referred to as a beast.  Well, Eden’s father mixed Bramford’s genes with that of a jaguar, so he technically is half a beast.  That said, generally speaking when dealing with werewolves or shapeshifters in novels, it is still more common to refer to the halfling as a person not as someone who is less than human.  And it is disturbing to read about Eden becoming aroused by a creature/beast.  bestiality = eww.  Add on to the fact that he is a black beast, and there is fuel for more implied racism.

*Author and book cover images are borrowed directly from Goodreads.  You can find Malorie Blackman’s page HERE and Victoria Foyt’s page HERE.

TL;DR?

If you are going to write about a topic that is controversial, RESEARCH.  If your book deals with a particular religion, study it.  If your book deals with a particular culture, study it.  Also, ask experts on the particular subject to READ YOUR BOOK before publishing.

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