Nini jN this book I think it s partly because it s OwnVoices plus it sust so well done emotionally The diversity is I Love My Dad (Disney Princess) just there It doesn t try to convert you it doesn t try to fight a cause it doesn t try to explain itself It sust there And it s so naturally diverse you can t help understanding it relating to it championing it It s not diverse in the placeholder sense it throws away any labels Even the labels diverse groups use for themselves It s diverse on well pretty much molecular level as I d say metaphorically You don t have to belong to a group to exist and be validated it s alright if you belong to a group of you That s enough Reason 2 The Ship Is An Amazing Analogy Of Captivity I found this most fascinating Yes a spaceship is a spaceship it s part of a scifi story But at the same time I felt like it symbolized so much Being indentured means there simply being no means of escape wherever you go whatever you do And what better symbol of that is there than a dying spaceship I feel like this draws an amazing comparison to the life of an enslaved trapped person Your life is limited to not even being able to control the choices regarding your own body much less choices of how your life progresses This is truly a song to all enslaved peoples not ust slavery in the history of America My heart wept at the tale and I believe so will yoursReason 3 I Have Never Read A More Relatable Tale Of Slavery I have read stories on slavery Even written by the slaves themselves stories of their escape Fictional stories too And although I could feel empathy towards them they are stories from another life a life elsewhere a life in a totally different time That automatically makes it harder for us to relate But a life almost like our own In a technical environment and yet enslaved That is so much approachable And it s also so well written in terms of depicting emotions that I feel it taught me much about captivity than any of the tales I ve read beforeReason 4 Emotion Even Among The Rubble I could have said love But I don t want to make this cheap This is no love story This is not about a love story Yet a love story is ever present And I m not talking about between man and woman or lovers or whatever you have it I am talking about human love soul love love of the bigger kind No pain and suffering can be survived without it and this book is so good about showing it Human affection human bonds It blooms like a flower in the wastelands It charms you with the way it does And it gives you hope in a whole world full of destruction Reason 5 Non Neurotypical Characters It s hard to say and I m obviously groping in the dark here but I think the main character Aster might be on the spectrum or at least some kind of non neurotypical As everything of the diverse kind in this book it s not overtly mentioned but not because it s taboo rather because it s cultural of the ship there are no such concepts in this society I m not sure the concept of woman is even present in this society as the lower deck slaves are without an exception all women The way Aster is is not treated as a deficiency in the book it s treated as a way to be It s explained so understandably that you will relate and empathise even if you re nothing like Aster yourself And it s not limited to the main character either Giselle Aster s best friend suffers from mental illness bouts as well and it s also presented in a great way easy to pick up and understand None of the characters are even looked down on for the way they are whatever they re likeOverall I could go on The plot the setting the writing the way you re transported into this incredible world Keep in mind I listened to this book on a read back app And yet it still felt every bit as magical as if I was reading it usually books read back to you by a mechanized voice are harder to get into But I believe you should discover this book for yourselves I would recommend it to anyone and everyone even if you re not so much into scifi it s character driven anyway Scifi is only the setting the backdrop The real stuff you re reading about is the condition of being human in a society that is horribly skewed for particular kinds of be Something for the people who have
Read This Already SpoilerI this view spoilerI admit I am a little puzzled about the ending so feel free to discuss it with me in the comments if you ve read it hide spoiler I am a boy and a girl and a witch all wrapped into one very strange flimsy indecisive body Do you think my body couldn t decide what it wanted to be 4 12 stars This was so good Living on the lower levels of a worldship from which there is no escape a group of characters live constantly struggling to survive as Aster attempts to figure out coded messages from her mother and perhaps a route off the shipI think to me this book is about collective trauma within a community While Aster is perhaps one of the most okay members of the community we see in every interaction between her and the people around her that she is strugglingI have never been much a fan of worldbuilding but I really think it is at the heart of this book the world is a fundamental part of these characters and forms the very thematic core of the novel There s a lot of thematic discussion of colorism via the structure of the ship I ve kind of alluded to this but Aster and her friends are on the lower levels of the ship where most of the inhabitants are black and brutality from the upper deck owners is the norm The upper deckers of the ship are white Within the book this functions almost as a sci fi version of American slavery with even less of an escape route Another really major dynamic within the story is ueer acceptance and the fact that while lower deckers live in a less cisheteronormative environment upper deckers are very confined by gender norms I don t know if this is the intent but it kind of echoes the fact that gender normaitivity was artificially forced on many cultures in Africa that did not have such strict roles previously or that interacted with these roles in very different ways Certain decks on this ship use all theythem pronouns and then are often misgendered by upper deck members It s this incredibly subtle part of the story and it is brutal to read As you might have gotten from that paragraph this is really not an emotionally easy book to read though a very readable one You really should be prepared for that going in There is a lot of racist transphobic violence major trigger warning for that and it is often not easy to readOh and also I really like all of the leads Aster is ueer autistic and black and written with so much dimension and honesty I love how she s written her thought process is very consciously rigid compared to the voices of characters like Theo and Giselle and she has a strict view of the world that is not shared by other characters within the ship Meanwhile Theo Is Uiet And is uiet and kind as he can be given his situation he s above Aster on the ship s heirerchy Aster and Theo both describe themselves as not being girl or boy and are both very much written as nonbinary the uote from the top of the page is Aster speaking and the author is agender themselves Side characters such as Giselle are similarly well written effortlessly gaining audience sympathy even as they anger us The problem is mostly that the plot is really all over the place which makes the story feel unbalanced and the ending unearned I personally think Katie describes it super well in this review the plot is 1 not driven by the characters and so lacking in agency and 2 lacking in full conclusion I love these characters but they didn t push the plot forward and that disappointed me Honestly the amount I loved it anyway should say a lot about the strength of the characters and the strength of the thematic core despite some plot structure elements feeling a bit first draft it s impossible not to fall in love audiobook recommended I utterly adore the voicing of this narrator and their shifts between voices for different points of view were really spectacular Yeah anyway the point is I really enjoyed this novel I think the plot could have used editing but there is ust so much worth reading here This is a book and an author definitely worth your attentionBlog Goodreads Twitter Youtub. Der to be less than humanWhen the autopsy of Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some uarter century before Aster retraces her mother's footsteps Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for ,
Curious to see if this changes in the final copy In a similar vein I do enjoy that a number of characters are neuroatypical while I do find that their portrayal often time borders on ableist I am able to elaborate further and would happily default to members of this community The acephobia and ableism are things that I will check against the final copy While these two concerns were arring to read in what is otherwise a stellar book I am hopeful that they have been revised Pending these changes An Unkindness of Ghosts is a 4 star read In conclusion An Unkindness of Ghosts was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and it did not disappoint This book is one for the ages and I do recommend pending changes to the final copy I really enjoyed this I love how the book incorporated intersectional blackgender identities and paralleled the antebellum South to create a richer story It was a uniue take on the scifi dystopian genre that opens wider paths for inclusive storytelling I m not ust giving it diversity points I truly believe the author s inclusion of autism and ueer identities was purposeful in painting a deeper story that reflects our society Aster feels This one is rather hard to rate for one good reason It is good and I did not like it I would reasonably give this 35 stars but let me explainThe goodReally uite wonderful main characters all full of interesting mixtures Astra seems to have autism is rather gay than not but closely binary She s also strong and pretty brilliant and she also has a tendency to say exactly what she means and do exactly as she wants regardless of whether it s safe for her to do so This is a mixed blessing Theo is a somewhat distant character but he is also fairly nicely rounded as is a few other of the MC s As a study on slavery and cultural abuse taken up ten notches it is a uite sickening study and this brings us to the title Ghosts are Whites The slavery is almost ship wide It s almost unbearable to read When you can count up to 90 massive trauma events to your person by the time you reach 40 both of a strictly abusive nature and a sexual one and this is considered the normal and natural order of things then you know something is slightly offFor what this tale does in making a very varied read and one that illustrates the horrors in so many ways it is very goodNow the badIt s almost unbearable to read If the author is intending to depress the living hell out of me and make me want to end it all because I happen to have white skin then I shall call her a winner There is VERY little other than Theo to make me think that whites are anything other than complete and utter aholes All the villains and I mean the ghosts are cardboard cutouts of complete and utter evil A slight taste of a rounded villain or at least a lying rounded villain might have given this whole thing a bit meat As it was I ust learned to hate and hate and hate and hate and hate and hate Maybe I need to be clear it s tiring to hate so much Emotionally Intellectually EverythingAnd then there s an SF reason to dislike this novel If I am to accept the premise that a generational starship can be made maintained and piloted for an unknown number of years on a slave race then this is doable It s a completely dystopian turn your mind off SF trope applied to a generational starship Good for reinforcing that whole world as prison mentality NOT good for rational thoughtWhyI kept asking myself that one uestion over and over and over WHY Ignore the how Social structures can be maintained indefinitely with a little ruthlessness and power even with the possibility of revolution My big uestion is WHY would anyone put a bunch of slaves on a high tech easily destroyable long term spaceship You need a VERY educated workforce and one that is than willing to go the extra effort not to punch holes in hulls or start random fires that can wipe out the entire crew Instead we have fires and rifles here On a spaceship Okay Turn off the mind Got it Assume it s super high tech as is implied by the computer at the end or the hints at faster FASTER travel through space I beg the uestion again WHY all the hate hate hate I m talking about the ghosts If they hate so much why didn t they ust gather themselves up with a bunch of robots and go uck off to some other planet if it s so easy to have a bunch of aholes GET a generational spaceship in the first place Why bring along a slave workforce to abuse at all Especially when you KNOW it s bound to turn badReligion could have been an answer but the closest we get to that is the ghosts calling themselves gods So not developed Even the Pharaohs had a rich and "Varied Social System To Account "social system to account the pyramidsNo This is ust social ineuity massive abuse built into the culture a bit of cool
character building and lots of really difficult emotional reading It s not building and lots of really difficult emotional reading It s not to follow or enjoy otherwise So Good and bad It really depends on what you re looking for A rich SF this is not A heartbreaking tale of a world prison This is This book was interesting I m not uite sure how to categorize it Set on a gen ship with the social constructs of the Antebellum South this book is less about spacefaring heroes or mystery and about the psychological impact of subjugation trauma and class over those generations and what it means to be a person It was a bitjumpy as a read though The personal parts were easily 4 or even 5 stars The structural parts were 2 or 3 CONTENT WARNING no actual spoilers ust a list of topics view spoiler slavery racism sexual assaultrape pschychological trauma loss of child loss of parent body horror extreme homophobia abuse in all its forms hide spoiler As in most repressive societies the overlords are hardest on women and children of color and so it goes in An Unkindness of Ghosts Aster is strong and smart but she can only do so much for HER PEOPLE WHO INHABIT THE LOWEST people who inhabit the lowest in this society inside of a spaceship that holds the remnants of the damaged earth She makes medicines and performs operations some things self taught and others learned from the powerful Surgeon a kind and decent man and a mysterious one whose motives for helping Aster are slowly revealed Surgeon Aster her Ainty and Aster s friends especially Giselle are all beaten down physically and spiritually but still retain hope that they will be set free from this Hell created by man Back in 2016 which seems so long ago Barrack Obama was in the last year of his Presidency and I was still sane Anyways that was the year my cup runneth over with slave narratives I read three that year Kindred Homegoing and The Underground Railroad All three were excellent but they are slave narratives Painful infuriating and heartbreaking to read Provocative of angry emot Shiver shiver tremble tremble I am not nervous about writing this review at all I do not have any of my typical book was too good to write a review for it umbles Nope Feeling at my most confident here escapes Can we ust agree to make this book as famous as possible and leave it at that No I ll have to elaborate Oh AlrightSo We ve got a spaceship that has escaped a dying Earth centuries ago Naturally it s failing Of course due to various constrictions combined with pure human nature the ship is authoritarian slavery driven and as violent an environment as can be We find ourselves following the story through the eyes of several of the characters but most of them are based on the lower decks as the lowest form of life You can see where this is about to get challenging We explore life through their eyes and search for all sorts of meaning explore all sorts of existences So let s ust look at the reasons of why I would recommend this book and let me tell you in advance there was not a thing I was unhappy with it This book is PURE AMAZEMENT and I think absolutely everyone should read it Yes it was that good and importantReason 1 The Book Is Diverse Without Appearing To Try To Plus It s OwnVoices I don t know if I m making it clear but I think you know what I mean Diversity is important and it s sought out right now but sometimes authors only try to make the uota and so insert diverse characters into their books as placeholders They re ust sort of there but they feel so forced This is not the case at all The cookfireAster lives in the low deck slums of the HSS Matilda a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South For generations the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land On its way the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark skinned sharecroppers like Aster who they consi. ,
Maybe 355 I m unsure right nowThere s a lot I loved here but I personally was underwhelmed by the plot and by the novel s resolution Aster is an incredible character as is Theo and I loved reading about them even as I read so many horrifying passages about them struggling with being marginalized and brutalized by the people aboard their ship This has incredible scope and brilliant ideas it s ust that many of those ideas get lost along the way or fall short of the final execution I ll need to think about it but those are my feelings for now Somewhat like a mashup between Battlestar Galactica The Handmaid s Tale and Roots The thematic premise of this story seems to be that even in the future about 300 years in a situation where humanity is traveling between stars the current unjust class system will not only be reproduced but will be exacerbated We won t have some flatline merit based deprivation free world Solomon has created the anti Star TrekThe storyline finds like in Galactica a colony ship traveling from Earth to some distant unknown destination But in Solomon s version the class system is systematized by decks Each deck carries some several thousand individuals The lower decks are people of color and they are essentially prisoners working the crops that feed the upper decks which are primarily Caucasian Gender is fluid and ambiguous in this world but primarily women are at least represented in the story in these lower decks We don t meet any lower class male characters Like Handmaid s Tale the ruling class enforces religious doctrine that must be followed curfews and other checks Guards have free reign to abuse any lower class residents and rape women The ship has regressed to a system of slavery to benefit the upper class Most of the history of Earth has been forgotten and the ship has developed its own cultural systemsThe storyline follows one female character from the lower deck who is apparently a medical genius of sorts and a few of her friends another lowerdeck female who is a bit insane and an upper class surgeon who recognizes her brillianceSo far so good the story has a valuable and meaningful premise Unfortunately I found much of the mechanics of the storytelling to be a bitmechanical And somewhat frustrating and monotonous to read Solomon s linguistic skills the actual writing itself was solid enough Somewhere between the characterization decisions she made and the development of relationships and interactions between the characters combined with some awkward storytelling choices left me feeling a bit cold and bored with the storyFor example the main character is rather robotic in her personality She takes everything very literally One might think she was portrayed as having some profile such as Asperger Syndrome As such her decisions were almost always very frustrating and obtuse Most of her interactions with other characters didn t develop into deeper connections And this was exacerbated by the storytelling techniue where characters seemed to have fairly short and unsatisfying conversations They always seemed to be leaving each other with unfinished communications either running away before the conversation could be completed due to anger or being cutoff by some event that occurs or one individual leaving due to some urgent demand In the end this left me feeling disconnected from the characters And it also felt like herky erky storytellingthe key plot points that characters communicate to each other get unnecessarily distributed throughout the story making it feel much longer than it needed to be Some degree of frustration of the reader can be thematically appropriate and necessary But as a pattern over the whole book it made it feel too long and dare I say it boring I kept wanting to ust get to the heart of the matter and Solomon continually postponed it It didn t help matters that the main character s childhood friend has been driven rather insane making the story s second most important character also hard to relate to or connect with The third main character is the upper class surgeon While he had an interesting backstory he never uite elled for me As written he felt too mechanicalOh and I wish the publisher had googled An Unkindness of because this phrase is in the title of at least two other novels making this less original than it seems Reread RWLChallenge A book with an intersex main character Now that this is out I m looking at everyone likey all gon read this or nahPre publication review below the cutI wanted to give myself to some to fully process An Unkindness of Ghosts before writing my review There is a lot to unpack Let s start with how good I think this book is It has multiple layers that one can spend close to an eternity unpacking A number of themes umped out at me while reading this novel They include inter alia friendship self actualization race class religion and extremely important for me gender An Unkindness of Ghosts was one of the few books I know I wanted to re read even before finishing This is definitely the type of novel that keeps giving with each read and I can guarantee my copy will be well loved While reading there were numerous times when I wished it were a movie It one that could easily be adapted and I need Hollywood to get off their high horses and ust adapt this already This book is 100 per cent ambitious and Solomon excels at it World building is by far the most stand out element of the book The world building shines through so much so that one finds themselves being fully immersed in this novel uite uickly The world of Matilda is extremely well detailed and it is obvious that the author spent time crafting it The setting the book definitely creates a level of cohesion and it is difficult to image the story in any other The care and detail to world building is most noticeable in the description of the ship s wings and the decks However while these aspects seemed well thought out without maps to guide the imagery there was a bit of a disconnect I will check with the final copy to see if this was includedThe pacing was also one
the book s stand elements There wasn t much of a lull in any of the sections The major plot developments occurred at the right times and tiedOf The Book S Stand
in well with the rest of the storywell with the rest of the story was further enhanced by the structure of the novel While Aster is the main character each section of the book presents insight into her interactions with key supporting characters who also important parts of Aster s life This is a great tool for breaking up any monotony as the majority of the story is otherwise told from Aster s point of view The characters are all fully drawn not one felt like a caricature or stereotype Each voice was uniue and there was no confusion or overlap within these personalities The language used by the lower decks is absolutely beautiful and I could not get enough In fact I may have taken away a tiny weeny star because of it The language variations among the decks is often references but hardly on show within the novel I would have loved to have seen the language Tolkien style extremely intense This is however a very personal preference and in absolutely no way detracts from the brilliance of the story In addition this book is chock full of medical argon which is extremely appropriate since Aster is in our parlance a doctor One nuance that umped out at me was the misgendering of Flick by The Lieutenant Flick and those on their deck identify as non binary on this further down however the Lieutenant constantly refers to Flick using sheher pronouns The reader is not sure if this is meant to underscore the divergence between the upper and lower decks viz a callous disregard for the self of lower deckers particularly differences related to culture and gender or if it is an error If it is the former this attenetion to detail further highlights the layering and literary nuances that exist within this novel Gender and sexuality are constantly explored and again extremely layered All this is done without feeling forced or like a diversity checkbox Sexuality is painted in a positive light without any slut shaming Despite these positive portrayals I did find the reveal of one a key character to be acephobic and therefor problematic I am. Odd mannered obsessive withdrawn Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak She's used to the names; she only wishes there was truth to them If she were truly a monster as they accuse she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world save for stories told around.