At the book store the other day, I saw the cover for Jay Lake’s Green. Fell in love. If you haven’t seen this cover, go look at it. Or, just go to the artist’s website: http://www.dandossantos.com/gallery.htm
This does contain spoilers, so if this book is on your TBR list, read at your own risk.
Anyway, the blurb of the book makes it seen fantastically awesome. Girl is sold into slavery, gets a kick-ass education in kicking ass (and other stuff), and is utilized by subversives to carry out anarchy. The female lead, Green, begins as a great character–ballsy, smart, brave enough to buck against oppression, but intelligent enough to work around it. The author’s voice is beautiful throughout the book, even though it is a little confusing at times due to the turn of phrase and the author’s attempt at circumventing modern terminology. Even though Green slowly turns from this intelligent girl to a belligerent, hard-headed, angry teen with an attitude problem, I still cared enough about the ‘mission’ to keep reading.
I didn’t like how belligerent and stupid Green became as the book went on (this response is shared by many reviwers on Amazon and Goodreads, so I know I’m not alone). Yeah, I get she’s a teenager. She’s had a strange life. She’s never been truly loved by a caretaker. She’s got issues. Enough GOOD stuff happened to her, though, to give her some hope. She was taken in by a benevolent order of priestesses. She was offered power and worth based on who she was, not what she could do. Her strength and intelligence were recognized, but she still remained spoiled, selfish, angry, and ungrateful. I sort of stopped caring if she made it, and started to read more eagerly about the other characters–The Dancing Mistress, Septio, Federo, even Chowdry–because I liked them so much better. Also, apparently 99% of the citizens of Lake’s world are horny lesbians. Green couldn’t look at a female character without wondering if she would have been her lover in another time. Even when she’s locked in a dungeon, she’s got her hands wrist deep in another woman. Green is rescued from a river, half-dead, and all she can think about is if the woman would respond to her sexual advances. Distracting, but not a deal breaker.
3/4 of the way through the book, there’s a HUGE, GUT-WRENCHING, UNIVERSE-DESTROYING revelation.
More like, an infuriating, frustrating, want-to-smack-the-author-with-the-book, half-assed plot twist. “Let’s take one of the most sympathetic, likable characters in the entire book, the only who has been truly nice to Green, who has been the closest to being a real friend, and make him the ultimate bad guy,” said the author. Or his editor. Or the dude/chick who read it while Lake was writing it. It didn’t feel like a natural progression of the book. It felt tacked on, like it was done just to stir the pot a little bit. There’s no foreshadowing, no hint that this might occur, nothing to make this part of the book even mesh with the rest of it. There’s this ridiculous scene where the character reveals himself as the FINAL BOSS and is about to take this mysterious, mystical, magical property from Green (what, it’s never actually described) and she distracts him by having girl-on-dogwoman sex. Bow-chicka-wow-wow….no. It calls to mind way too many Family Guy in-jokes about Brian and his human sexual partners. This particular character’s demise would have been so much more meaningful and emotionally powerful if he’d died helping Green defeat the aspiring god, rather then a “SURPISE–he IS the aspiring god!”
I have the second book (again, LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover art). I’m scared to read it now, because the Amazon reviews are as scathing as the reviews I SHOULD have read before I dished out $16 for this one…