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text 2016-11-07 18:23
The Controversy Surrounding The Continent by Keira Drake

I still have a couple of real *top shelf* titles atop my TBR pile I need to get to- been busy and all- and wasn't looking for more.  But then I stumbled across the shitstorm surrounding this high-touted offering, and... well, I'm weak. 


For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.

But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.




In case you haven't heard, by all accounts this one hits all the marks: non-whites depicted as savage brutes, blonde white savior to teach them their humanity, etc.  Not surprisingly in today's climate when non-white women voiced their concerns about things they were targeted and attacked.  And only them.


If you're curious, here's a twitter timeline for the hashtag #TheContinent where you can see some of what's been happening.


YA author Justina Ireland did a series of tweets capsulizing the book here.


It's gotten to the point where Drake herself felt she had to address things, but some of what she says didn't help matters any.


"I am saddened by the recent controversy on Twitter pertaining to THE CONTINENT. I abhor racism, sexism, gender-ism, or discrimination in any form, and am outspoken against it, so it was with great surprise and distress that I saw the comments being made about the book. I want everyone to know that I am listening, I am learning, and I am trying to address concerns about the novel as thoughtfully and responsibly as possible.


 The Topi, one of the native peoples who inhabits the Continent, were inspired by the Uruk-Hai in Lord of the Rings. LotR is one of my favorite books, and the savage, brutal nature of the Uruk-Hai breaks my heart every time I read it, which is at least once per year. The Topi are a savage people—they are in no way inspired by or meant to represent Native Americans. Like many, I am a person of mixed nationality and race (Sicilian, Native American, French, Irish, Danish), and take great interest and pride in my ancestry.


In regard to the Aven’ei, this fictional group of people was inspired by a large number of cultures, including Asian and European peoples. The language of the Aven’ei is phonetically similar to Japanese; that is purely because as a linguist who studies four languages, I find it absolutely beautiful, musical, perfect in sound. The Aven’ei are not Japanese. Nor are they Korean, or Chinese, nor are they based on an assumption that Asian cultures are interchangeable. They are a fantasy race: brave, intense, flawed, invented. The diverse peoples of the Spire itself are widely varied. This book is a fantasy novel, not intended to represent the cultures of our world, but to express the diversity of appearance in life which is natural and beautiful.


Any likeness of the fantasy cultures in the book to actual cultures was unintentional, and was not brought to my attention by a large number of early sensitivity readers. THE CONTINENT was written with a single theme in mind: the fact that privilege allows people to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. It is not about a white savior, or one race vs. another, or any one group of people being superior to any other. Every nation, and every character in the book is flawed.


 I am truly sorry for any descriptive choices that distracted from my intended message and that hurt or offended any readers, and I want everyone to know that I am working with my publisher to address this issue; the way that this will be addressed is currently being discussed and I will provide more information when I have it.


One last note: I have heard through Twitter that some critics of the book have received threatening messages, and I am **appalled** by the very idea of such a thing. I welcome criticism and would ask that my readers and supporters treat others ONLY with respect, love, and compassion. Be good to each other, please. Love one another. If I could ask one thing of you, that’s all it would be."


Yeah... basing your non-white cultures on Tolkien's orcs isn't gonna impress folks with your good intentions.  Just sayin'.


Anyways, my copy arrived today and I'll probably flog it to give a sense of what's really going on.




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review 2015-11-13 23:03
Orc Romance lol
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) - Amalia Dillin

I downloaded this in a fugue state once I learned it was an orc romance. Orc romance! That is so unbelievably charming; I can't even. Obviously, all the good paranormal romantic leads have been taken, and I applaud the author for going off label. I ended up reading a little more than half when this thing got screwed up this one time, and I had to clockwatch. The quality was higher than I expected, honestly, though the stilted high fantasy prose style isn't my jam.


The setup was much more brutal than I'm used to seeing in your fantasy romance: the heroine is being beaten and basically sexual assaulted on the regular by her father, the king, and his toadies. She finds said orc in a magic mirror, they escape together, etc. I was also charmed to see Dillon knows her Tolkien: these orcs are understood to be elves altered by some sort of magic. They're the good guys here, of course, not the foul get of Morgoth. I earnestly thought it was funny what unbelievable dicks the elves are here, all superior and sneering, which isn't far from Tolkien either! Though he thinks that's just fine. 


Anyway, this was fine, though I'm not going to finish it. At about halfway point, the secret powers of the heroine are all Speshul Snowflake Activate!! And even though it's crazy obvious that mom was half elf and girl will become a sudden proficient in her powers, saving the day for all! Tra la la! 


Orc Romance. 


You're welcome. 

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review 2015-10-01 00:00
Orcs: The Omnibus Edition (GollanczF.)
Orcs: The Omnibus Edition (GollanczF.) - Stan Nicholls Borrowed from library, but ran out of time to read due to life.
Looked interesting though, might borrow it again :)
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review 2014-11-25 12:19
Review: Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) - Amalia Dillin

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Honor Among Orcs is a sweeping romantic fantasy featuring two characters as alike on the inside as they are different on the outside.

Arianna is a princess with no freedom and no hope for the future. She suffers her father's cruelty, which runs not only to beatings but giving her company to nobles for their entertainment. She is battered and bruised in body, but her spirit remains. Inspiring really-- she is one of those characters who the reader can't help but rally behind. Bolthorn may be called a monster by humans, being an orc and all. But there is nothing monstrous about his personality. Though he knows that Arianna is his only chance for freedom, he still cares about her welfare and happiness from the beginning of their encounters.

The prose is beautifully written with an old world charm that sucks the reader into the story. Vivid descriptions become a bit repetitive at times, especially if you're the type of reader looking for fast-paced action. The story progresses slowly as Arianna and Bolthorn plot and plan their escape. I'm a bit impatient, and there were times when I wanted to give Arianna a swift kick to get things moving faster.

This is truly a sweeping epic fantasy with lots of adventure and a rather sweet romance. Though it moved a tad slower than I liked, I still really enjoyed the plot. Arianna and Bolthorn are great characters. If you like fantasy romance, be sure to add Honor Among Orcs to your TBR list.

Source: onceuponayabook.blogspot.com/2014/11/book-review-honor-among-orcs-by-amalia.html
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review 2014-07-24 22:44
The Weight of Blood (Half-Orcs #1)
The Weight of Blood (The Half-Orcs, #1) - David Dalglish

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com by express permission of this reviewer.


Title: The Weight of Blood

Series: Half-Orcs

Author: David Dalglish

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 228




2 Half-orc [half-orc, half-elf] brothers team up with an avatar of death. One becomes a physical titan, hewing down all who stand before him. The other becomes a master of necromantic powers and plots to remove the avatar and take his place.

And in the end they go their separate ways, mainly because of an elf woman. 


My Thoughts:

When I read A Dance of Cloaks by Dalglish I was not impressed with his non-use of any type of hero, but I did want to give him another chance with another series.

In the afterword Dalglish says this series is about redemption.

That might be the case, as the more physical of the brothers ends up regretting all the death he has caused, right at the end of the book. However, the first 95% of the book simply follows them as they slaughter, kill and commit other unsavory acts to further their own ends.


It left a very bad taste in my mental mouth and after Cloaks I am not willing to give Dalglish a 3rd chance. I am not, never have been and hopefully never will be, a fan of dark, gritty fantasy. I like my heroes to inspire me to be better, not drag me down in the blood, filth and muck.

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