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Tekijä: Natalina Reis
Ei tämänhetkisiä Keskustelu-viestiketjuja tästä kirjasta.
Story wise the book suffers from the complete absence of any real conflict. Huli and Xiao Ying fall in love with each other pretty much as soon as they see each other, and although the narrator tries to insist that they are both people who keep others at arms length none of this comes out in their behavior. There's some hemming and hawing in the first quarter of the book on Huli's part, who despite being someone we are told has had lots of sex on account of him being a sex demon, feels like a "high school girl" around Xiao Ying and is afraid of seducing him against his will. But that gets resolved pretty fast. The relationship between the three protagonists is generally without complication. There are no real antagonists in the book. The emperor is far away, and while he is mentioned with some regularity he never shows up, and his actions never pose any direct threat to the adventure. On the rare occasion that an enemy does show their face, they are trounced immediately and completely.
There is also not much driving action in the book. There is a lot of looking back, and constant reminders of things that had happened before the story started, but Xiao Ying going off to look for evidence is the only initiative that anyone seems to take. Huli follows because he's love sick and Ying Ying follows because she is for some reason Huli's best friend. Through the course of the story they're told to go here and there, and then they do. The reward for this travel is usually a little more backstory revealed. There are no setbacks.
The end of the book feels therefore like the beginning of the story, as suddenly our heroes are given a job to do, the end. If Huli and Xiao Ying constantly reaffirming their deep and absolute love for each other is satisfying enough to the reader this may be fine, but I found Huli to be too passive a personality to be interesting, and the relationships between everyone to be taken too much for granted, and not really earned within the story.
There are a few superficial issues too. The prolific use of epithets I assume is an artifact of hewing closely to danmei style, but not having read any of it even in translation I can't say for sure. Even if so it was jarring to me every time Ling Ling was "the female warrior" and the other's just got "Fox" or "Healer" as their titles. The other issue that kept itching at me was the use of Chinese throughout the text. "Gao, hao, bu, dui bu qi" etc. keep popping up, all basic 101 words but typically still helpfully translated into English soon after. This is generally ok. While this sort of interjection of words with clear and uncomplicated English equivalents into the text isn't my preference, it's not that big a deal. But the text tries to actually explain itself, saying that when the characters use these words what they are doing is speaking in an ancient tongue forgotten by most people. This raises an unintended question. If bog standard modern Chinese is actually a lost ancient tongue in this world, what language are they speaking when they aren't peppering their talk with random ni shi shei's? If you don't know Chinese you may not be bothered by this but I know enough Chinese to be mildly bothered by this.
There are other small complaints I could make, but ultimately the big issue I had with it was the heroes seem to have been given their journey in the last page of the book. If there had been any sort of conflict, if Huli's poor sense of self worth had resulted in a bad behavior rather than just being a trait the narrator reminded us of with regularlity, if the emperor had scored even a single point against the heroes, if the troupe had experienced a test of their loyalty to each other in any way, I might have gotten invested, but with none of that I found myself largely uninterested in the story as I was reading it and am not compelled to read a volume 2, if it appears.
Received as an ARC from Library Thing for an honest review.
Fun story idea - the blurb made me super interested in the story
Was very excited for a diverse world and characters
I love exploring new books with queer characters that I can relate to
The characters are very flat. I felt like I could have changed names around on certain characters and it would have changed nothing because they all have the same voice
The internal dialogue is very cringe. Very
The external dialogue wasn't any better
Why do we just randomly refer to characters by different names? Mid-chapter in the first chapter, it switches from using "Huli" to "Fox". Why? It feels like it was done to try be artistic but it's so, so off-putting.
This book is in desperate need of sensitivity readers. And a lot scrapping and rewriting/re-imagining.
My thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC. I was so excited to read this so struggling through what I did was such a disappointment. Very sad, but I do not think this book is for me whatsoever.
Kirjastojen kuvailuja ei löytynyt.
LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum
Natalina Reis's book Foxy Tails was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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I see the other reviewers found it very slow and that not much was happening, but the pacing was perfect for a late night calming read (I especially liked the city with the calming lavender! Great dreams!) ( )