I didn’t like Lillian and I think it was because of how she was written rather than who she was, which I know sounds weird, but there you have it. She wasn’t believable.. and, again, I know how weird that sounds for a character in a book with fire kids… but when you suspend your disbelief in supernatural things for the premise, that doesn’t mean you can’t bump on inconsistencies and badly written characters.
The book is about a horrible horrible world and the horrors never stop. In the hands of a less skilled writer, you could get desensitized to what is happening. So many murders. So many rapes. So many children being killed. But somehow Butler keeps us feeling those feelings without ever going numb, as much as we might wish we could.
IEvery time I read a novel about the Black experience, I am shaken by the sheer shit that history has doled out. Some people like to say that Black people should get over the past, that it is unfair for contemporary people to still be bitter about the history that their people have suffered. Those people are wrong.
It is not a novel.
I happen to enjoy short stories.
What I don’t enjoy is having a book that calls itself a novel start off with an interesting protagonist only to discover that she is only the protagonist for 18 pages.
But you know, it wasn’t just dark… it was twisted. Think Tim Burton but not as weird. And… well, honestly, it was kind of sad. It had a good ending, don’t get me wrong, but the world that we live in is really dark… and that darkness is the patriarchy.
Think a tad Douglas Adams, a tad, Terry Pratchet, but… more mellow and not trying so hard. The humor is here in spades but it isn’t a laugh out loud sort of humor or jokes told at full volume. Rather it is a bit akin to snide or sarcastic comments muttered under your breath that nearby listeners will accept with a wry smile of acknowledgment.
The style of this book is very “beach read.” It is fast. It isn’t deep literary. It’s a Long Island Iced Tea… it goes down smooth and you are all giddy and enjoying yourself and then WHAM you realize that you have been accidentally complicit in racist crap by rooting for Alix and the world is much bigger and more complex… all is not how it has been portrayed and the last quarter of your drink was straight whiskey.