Pros: Interesting Asia-based setting, where the author skillfully incorporated customs, culture and hierarchy.
Cons: Everything else. Half of the book is spent on the protagonist doubting herself. She is constantly thinking out loud about how she is not good enough and why she does not deserve anything.
The values that would normally be propagated in a story with a female lead are missing. Rather, the book propagates backward values. The protagonist loves and is loyal to her master - notwithstanding the fact that he beat and crippled her. The author portrays his abuse as being for the protagonist's own good - and the protagonist likewise adopts this viewpoint.
"I knew he was right. A woman could not have power. Or if she did, it was from the shapeliness of her body, not from her spirit and certainly not from her mind."
Worse yet, the protagonist is dumb. There are a ton of "clues" about why things are how they are, and she just happens to not understand any of it. Worse, it is not that she does not understand and ignores the clues; she instead picks the path that directly contradicts them. It is very frustrating that the protagonist is portrayed as such a stupid and incompetent character.
I did not enjoy the narrator's performance. Ultimately, I would not recommend this book to a person of any age.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it is different from what I normally read. It raises complex, theoretical and real-world questions of politics, colonialism, racism, culture and religion through the perspectives of a southern, early 1960s housewife and her three daughters. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each woman as she attempts to cope with moving from the deep south in the United States to Kilanga in the Belgian Congo with their missionary husband/father. Each integrates with the Congo land and people in their own ways, while each dealing with the heavy-handed presence of their father/husband. The book is beautifully narrated and is one of the few that causes you to contemplate the underlying characters and environment, even when you're not reading. The events in the book and the ending will leave you both joyful and mourning - it is not a book to be missed.
Good character development while permitting a layer of mysterious to surround each character. Quite an enjoyable book, including the incorporation of the details of the historical setting. Parts were too slow and there were a few twists that were a bit of a stretch, but I would recommend this to another.
The narrator was the only good part of this book. I'll sum up the story (spoiler alert):
First Third of Story: "Woe is me. I'm a type A personality with no close friends or family. My work is everything because I have not met Mr. Right."
Second Third of Story: "I met Mr. Right. There is not one damn thing wrong with him. He is generous, kind, loyal; he makes his own delicious wine and takes care of his oh-so-adorable kids (who overcome my normal distaste for kids) and of course he is instantly in love with me. He is gorgeous and charming and adopts dogs from the shelter. But woe is me. I can't let myself be vulnerable to such an amazing, perfect person. I was so scarred by growing up without a father that of course I never learned as a grown woman to have meaningful adult relationships. Oh - and I found out I have a sister who is also as perfect and as one-dimensional as the man I met."
Final Third: Yay! I have a sister and a boyfriend and I've improved my relationship with my mother. I learned that I can love! I also happened upon $20 million and so I can live happily ever after. Whoopie!"
The only interesting part of this book - which likely consisted of maybe 20 pages - was when the story flashed back to the Danish resistance to German occupation in World War II.
The author also fails to even close some sub-plots, like what happened to the sister when she left for college, why she is so worried about the outside world and how Dominick tried to "save" her.
Poorly written, flat and unrealistic storyline. I've never rolled my eyes so much when listening to an audiobook.
This story focuses on a 17 year old boy with the mind of a 12 year old. I have never before caught myself rolling my eyes so often from a book. A minimum of the first 20 hours of this novel focuses on the main character complaining about how bad his life is as the son of the arch-marge of his city: it's too confining, he has too many comforts, he has to be served dinner in silver platters full of scrumptious foods and eat alone while his father is still at work and he has to go to school and learn high magic while other kids get to toil in the fields. I wanted somebody to slap some sense and maturity into him - or at least just make him stop whining. The beginning is slow and irritating. The book improves some during the last 10 hours through new scenery, new magic and some standard action - but not by much.
The characters lack any depth - they are either purely good or purely evil. There are no unexpected twists or surprises. It is juvenile and standard.
Unlike other reviewers, I like the author - one of the first female authors I've come across who is good. She is good at varying her voice and adding intonation.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I love fantasy series and have read several dozen. I'll finish this series off because I hate ending short series part-way through. I'm just crossing my fingers the authors and the book's characters improve with time.
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