[personal profile] redgirl
I "finished" reading this a little while ago (maybe two weeks?) and it's been stuck in my head since then. I was struck by how profoundly Green embodies a particular pattern that I've seen from time to time among (mostly male) sci-fi/fantasy authors: the idea that whenever two or more women are left alone in a room together, it's all "forbidden desires" this and "heaving bosoms" that.

Green begins with the eponymous character (whose 'real' name is never known to us) as a child, being sold into slavery by her father (for no apparent reason). This part of the story is a cute (if somewhat tedious...) coming-of-age story, touching upon the intersection of feminism, imperialism, and slavery (although I found it quite jarring that the "six-year-old" Green writes with a decidedly adult perspective about many of the things that are happening to her). There's some somewhat interesting stuff about the place and role of women in society, focused through the lens of the hyper-misogynistic society that is raising Green. The first third of the book takes forever to get to a point, but when it does, it gets there fast; in the span of five or so pages, a longstanding conspiracy with little apparent motive is revealed (with Green as the central figure) and Green spontaneously decides to join with the conspirators and murder her target (which she does with no difficulty whatsoever, despite him having been set up as a main villain during the tedious first section). She then flees the city and returns to her home, confronting her father (and his new wife) and bringing closure to the first arc of the story.

Then, inexplicably, the book keeps going.

Green leaves her home town again (having seen that there is nothing for her there now) and meets up with a band of wandering assassins (I am not making this up) who in short order turn out to all be lesbian sadomasochists (still not making it up). An incredibly jarring transition happens: in less than ten pages, Green (aged fourteen) goes from completely asexual to snuggling with one of her comrades (also a lesbian) to full-on, tie-me-to-something-and-flog-me, oh-god-yes-more out-and-out S&M. At this point my ability to suspend disbelief vanished, and I had to put the book down. I still have not finished it.

Verdict: Don't read it. The suddenness of Green's, er, "sexual awakening" and the deus-ex-machina feeling of the first third of the book left me feeling upset and somewhat uncomfortable.

edit_0: mail -> male

August 2011

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