Despite what many say about this book, I don’t find it racist. I find it a cautious portrayal about the issues that we face. The confusion that we have when all we know isn’t what it should be.
There is really not true good or bad here. And Elloren faces that all of the races are capable of prejudices, each thinking negatively about another race. And each other.
At times Elloren has prejudice but by the end, I like her, she has grown a lot as a character. As much as she is questioning everything around her, trying to find out what was real factual truth. And making her own decisions from there.
To the degree that even I’m surprised at the amount of growth she showed here. And the skill of the author.
There is a lot more of hidden secrets, and that each race often paints themselves in the best light. But don’t we all. And that no one is comepletely right, which this book shows so well.
Elloren was initially someone I wanted to throttle countless times, but by the end I found myself wanting to support her. She makes mistakes in the beginning, but she is still someone who doesn’t even have much knowledge of her world.
Her upbringing ensured that she will be biased, since she was sheltered all her life. And that her family wasn’t the best place to be honest certainly didn’t helped.
But I wanted to know more about her Uncle Edwin. He seemed nice, and at the same time I have the feeling that he knows more than is seen. I don’t see him pushing his niece to be wandfested when it was the best option she has. And he seems quite low lying which to me always spells a little suspicion.
As for the people she meets, I like the fact that her siblings play an important part. Not to mention the fact that she becomes friends, she also makes the best of her situation. The only thing which I liked about up until the middle of the book, was that she refused to be wandfested to a boy she barely met. And even when her aunt made her life hell for her.
Eventually, she found her own friends. In Diana, who has zero manners because her upbringing lacked them, to even her enemies. Not easy, but she eventually learned from them. As well as her brothers, I liked them as one did what he was taught never to do. And the other went to destroy a bunch of cages which went against the rules.
In a way, her brothers shared many things with her. And they are more than just being there for her. They all have their own stories. I guess the reason why I also like this book is that almost none of the characters become merely props or stereotypes, with the exception of Fallon and Vogel. Both which I hate. But no less than Aunt Vyvian, who was the worst.
As for the romance, there is still a little bit here. But it is small, there is no declaration of love for each other yet. But I know where it is going. And I like it, slow will suit Elloren, since she is the least likely to quickly fall for someone. And I do like the idea of exploring their relationship in future books.
So, this wasn’t fully enjoyable as I hated Elloren until the later half of the book. And despite all its controversy and the fact that people hate the book without even reading it, I find it an injustice. This is different, this is a complex portrayal of all the races. The intricate underlying messages that racism is wrong, that bigotry is wrong and so is sexism.
Although there is girl on girl hate, which I never liked in the first place. But there are still friendships with girls. Elloren, is a well developed character who grows over the series and becomes a likeable person. And none of the races here is portrayed as purely good or evil, it is complex with all of them capable of atrocities as they are of greatness.
So, give this a chance. Don’t judge it just because it will contain racism, without even reading it. And well, the hate this book has received is undeserved.
Rating: 4 out of 5