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Aetherbound de E. K. Johnston

Aetherbound (edição: 2021)

de E. K. Johnston (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
403506,634 (3.6)2
Autores:E. K. Johnston (Autor)
Informação:Dutton Books for Young Readers (2021), 256 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Aetherbound de E. K. Johnston

  1. 00
    Finity's End de C. J. Cherryh (Aquila)
    Aquila: Aetherbound feels more like Cherryh's Alliance-Union books than anything else I've read, even while being very much its own universe and heading for different emotional payoffs.

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Exibindo 3 de 3
I should start out by saying that I did not finish this book. I called it quits around the 50% marker when I realized that the further on I read, the less I wanted to continue. I'd actually considered DNFing much earlier, but kept pressing on because I belong to a book club that's reading it. In the end, that wasn't enough to keep me going.

Beyond that, the first thing I want to mention is Content Warnings, though they didn't affect me discontinuing my read. I respect authors/publishers who include them, but where they're included, I expect them to be accurate--and I've never really had an issue with them until now. This book opens with the following content warning: "This book contains a scene of medical violence. Characters also obsess about food and count calories." So, fair enough... right? Not so much. The problem is, this content warning doesn't begin to touch on the material in the book which is actually questionable and potentially alarming for readers. Perhaps the author or publisher didn't want to give anything more away, but considering how early the other issues come up, I think that's a laughable excuse. And, in truth, I'd respect the author and publisher more if the content warning simply read: "This book contains potentially triggering material. Please consult a website such as Storygraph or warnings on so-and-so page if this concerns you." Because, at least to me, it's actually fairly insulting that the content warning for this book reads so specifically, but doesn't bother to mention, just as a for-instance, human trafficking, child abuse, forced insemination... ... and the list goes on. And these aren't just single-scene issues; these are outright themes within the book that directly affect the main characters and control their destinies. (For a full list of content warnings, by the way, you can check out Storygraph or read the reviews being put up on various sites that do a lot more to list them than the book itself.)

But as I said, that's not why I was inclined to stop reading. (Though, truly, I found some of the content to be handled so bluntly and without care that I was offended, and put the book down with a pit in my stomach--and very little offends me, I promise. But it takes nuance to handle some themes, and there's no nuance in this book.)

Much of the first half of the book is rife with info-dumps, where we get large passages devoted mostly to world-building. Perhaps they'll all turn out to be important, but they're included so clumsily and are so overbearing that much of the detail won't be remembered by the average reader who wants an actual story. In between the world-building, though, there's not a lot of story--and the truth is that what story we get has a lot of flaws. There are small contradictions in the world-building itself that translate into contradictions within the story (as a small point to give an example: How can the main character have no spare time, but also spend all of her spare time in a particular place? And how can she be said to have no education, when she's being educated by another character? Or have no worth when at the same time we hear about exactly what her worth is?). In other words, a lot of the smaller details just don't line up. In what I read of the book, there wasn't much plot, but I wasn't impressed by what I saw.

Either way, the first half of the book feels more like a mini-biography that's more focused on showing us abuse and world-building, and telling us how bad the main character has it, as opposed to actually telling us any sort of story with a clear trajectory. Once the story does take off, at about the halfway point, we get another large swath of world-building and then, as suddenly as possible, a slew of events that not only don't get developed with any depth, but don't really make sense if you stop for a few seconds to really consider either character or plot. Without going into spoiler-level detail, let's just say that the main character agrees to a deal that will accomplish EXACTLY what we were led to believe she was trying to get away from. And for a character whose whole early life was centered on abuse after abuse, she's awfully quick to trust, making her doubly unbelievable. It's hard for me to think that anyone with any understanding of abuse victims or psychology will actually believe in the characters here without having to suspend their disbelief over and over and over again, and considering that there isn't much plot, and the book depends on characters to draw a reader along... well, yeah, that's an issue.

I haven't read any of this author's other work, though I've heard good things about it and I also attended a talk from her that I really enjoyed. This book, though, has a lot of problems. The themes brought up here require far more nuance and depth in order to be discussed with any sense of respect or reality, whereas the presentation here is fairly messy. In a lot of ways, this read like an attempt to offer a YA Dystopian telling of the Handmaid's Tale, but with a messy sort of YA-Contemporary approach set in space. And, at least for this reader, it didn't work at all.

To be honest with you, I can't imagine either finishing the book or recommending it, though it was recommended to me. I'm honestly not sure if I'll give Johnston's work another shot or not--this book was a big miss for me. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Aug 9, 2021 |
teen fiction (sci-fi, found family)

would recommend. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 6, 2021 |
One of the more offbeat sci-fi stories I've read and I mean that in a good way. Pendt grows on you in several ways. She's resilient, able to hold back when most would flail out or give up and in a nearly impossible situation on the ship she's called home for her entire life, she finds a way to tap into her mage ability and escape. She repeats her escape a second time when her family comes to take her at the space station, but in a quite unusual manner. Quirky and a fast read, it has one of those great endings that leaves you satisfied, but teases for more of the story in a sequel. ( )
  sennebec | May 30, 2021 |
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