Behind Bars - Meredith Katz
Book – Behind Bars (Pandemonium #2)
Author – Meredith Katz
Star rating - ★★★★☆
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes
Genre – LGBT, Paranormal, Fairytale
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Rejoice! Unlike book 1 in this series, which I also got an early copy of through Netgalley, this one has chapter headings! Wooo!
Now, it's going to sound weird but I gave book 1 just 3 stars for having an indefinable problem that left me feeling like the world hadn't been fully explored. Now, I know what it is. This book should have come first. The whole way through this one, I was looking for a connection to Book 1, since it's part 2 in the series and I couldn't find anything. There was a very brief mention of Potfeld a few times, but nothing that indicated an awareness of it or the characters from book 1. In fact, the ending to this mentions going to Potfeld, which would have been a really great interlude to book 1 actually following this. So this book solved that mystery for me, at least.
However, it's also the reason I took off half a star. Because, this didn't read like book 2 in a series, but a book that was just the start of a series. It really would have saved me the trouble of waiting for the penny to drop or waiting for some kind of explanation of why it didn't connect if this one came first. So, though both books are in the same “universe”, there is no correlation between them when read in order, mounting to why I took off that half start.
The other half star was taken off for the fact that this is advertised as genderqueer, but actually has the genderqueer character – Tari – represented as a woman for 95% of the story, with female pronouns for 50%, then “they” for the rest of the story, and the only “male” aspect is that Tari happens to have a d*ck. There's never anything masculine or gender-neutral or genderqueer about Tari. I was also a little disappointed that our genderqueer character, Tari, is referred to as “them” or “them” so much. I'm confused as to why the author didn't use any of the acceptable genderqueer pronouns instead, which would have made it feel more authentically genderqueer rather than a little dismissive. The way “them” and “their” was used often made it sound like there were two people inside of Tari both being referred to at the same time, not a genderqueer individual. So, for this lack of consistency in writing a faithfully genderqueer character, who came across as more like a hermaphrodite, I had to take a half star off.
Overall, the story was good. Out of place within the series and lacking that genderqueer authenticity, but it had a good foundation, nice characters that were relatable and interesting to follow, as well as offering a sort of 'prequel' aspect to the first book by introducing us to the other side of the argument. In book 1 we had a human infatuated with demons; book 2 offers the counter-part with a character who hates demons.
Good but not astounding. A nice light read to take up a few hours of the day.