Paperback, 560 Pages
Urban Fantasy/ Adult Fiction
By: Fonda Lee
“Expectations are a funny thing,” Wen said. “When you’re born with them, you resent them, fight against them. When you’ve never been given any, you feel the lack of them your whole life.”
🌟 I BR this with my friend Fares, he wrote a great review too so I need to go all out now! I am not a big fan of mafia and Yakuza and all these real life gangster thing! I don’t watch movies including them as I feel they are all the same and they make me uncomfortable!
🌟 I heard great things about this book from many friends I trust and that’s why I decided to pick it up. I remember it being a self published book before being published by Orbit! I took all of that in consideration while gathering my thoughts and while reading the book.
🌟 This is the first book I read by Fonda Lee and I actually like her writing style, it takes a bit of concentration and the beginning was a bit slow but it is all worth it. I have been having a middle-reading-Life crisis (more on that on a separate post) and this book confirmed some things I already knew, I should be reading more adult fantasy books!
🌟 I have difficulties in retaining character names and the names were kind of difficult for someone who is not familiar with Asian names but I tried to connect them with things and people I know and it worked, I should mention that the author also writes from a 3rd person POV and she did a great job in introducing them slowly yet surely!
As Fares mentioned in his review, these are family members of a clan that is basically a gang, I can’t say that I relate to them but I felt their struggles! I think good writing should make you care about the characters and I did care about them. (You can’t relate to Harry Potter for example as you are not a wizard, yet you do care for him!!). I liked Lan’s self control and his desire to find a solution for problems without causing a war, Shae is great and calculating and has a good self control, she fought against all odds and traditions to achieve her goals, Andy my favorite is a Valedictorian and he feels he does not belong to his people and lives under tremendous expectations (I am Andy xD) and Hilo is a good human inside and cares about family but he has anger issues. There are other characters and all played an important role. I still remember the names of these after a few days of finishing the book and that should say something about them!
“She thought, Two strong-minded women in a man’s world, if they do not quickly become allies, are destined to be incurable rivals.”
🌟 The plot is good, I did not know what to expect and the things I expected did NOT happen and I like that! There is a great focus on financial and political intrigue, so if you like that, you will mostly like this novel. The fighting scenes were a bit lacking and I wanted more of them. The synopsis explains the plot well and I suck at writing summaries so no need to play an expert!
🌟 The world building is good, I am satisfied, I just read the author’s answer to a question explaining that in the next books she will be exploring more of the world and there will be international forces coming into the game which shows that there is still potential. I prefer when we are geographically limited to an area as that makes it easier to concentrate! I also like when authors build a magic system and shows how the world is affected by it! I think another thing Fares pointed out was the lack of focus on money (Seriously people, you need to do BR with Fares, he’s the best!) and he asked me what was the currency called and I didn’t know, he mentioned that it has a name but I think more lights should have been focused on money for a story of this kind!
🌟 Speaking of Magic systems, I did like the concept but I think it could have been more well executed and there was a wasted potential indeed. Fares and I kept having the Mistborn vibes but we also decided it won’t be fair to compare these two authors. But the author should have used the school tournament for example to explain the magic system such as V.E. Schwab did in AGOS. That would have added more action and a clearer magic system!
🌟 Summary: As you can see I have mixed feelings about this, and while most of my thoughts are positive, there are a few things that could have been improved! I like that the author did most of the job by herself and it was worth it, I will be most definitely reading book 2 very soon!
“Any old horse will run when it’s whipped, but only fast enough to avoid the whipping,” Hilo said. “Racehorses, though, they run because they look at the horse on their left, they look at the one on their right, and they think, No way am I second to these fuckers.”