Category: Protagonist of Color
Subcategories: Published 2016, small publisher
Fire is never tame—least of all the flames of our own kindling.
Raised in isolation by the secretive Circle of Seven, Luna is one of the few powerful beings left in a world dominated by man. Versed in ancient fairy tales and the language of plants, Luna struggles to control her powers over fire. When her mentor dies in Luna’s arms, she is forced into a centuries-long struggle against the gravest enemy of all Fae-kind—the very enemy that left her orphaned. In order to save her people, Luna must rewrite their history by entering a door in the mountain and passing back through time. But when the lives of those she loves come under threat, her rage destroys a forest, and everything in it. Now called The Char Witch, she is cursed to live alone, her name and the name of her people forgotten.
Until she hears a knock upon her long-sealed door.
Interwoven with elements of Hansel and Gretel and The Seven Ravens, Char is the stand alone sequel to Opal, and second in the Fae of Fire and Stone trilogy.
I don’t typically review books I don’t like, so if reviewing wasn’t part of this reading challenge, I wouldn’t be voicing my thoughts on this book at all. I don’t like being cruel in my reviews, but there’s really no way I can put this nicely.
So, the positive thing about this book is the author does seem to have a knack for description. It’s rare that I didn’t have a clear picture of where the character was and what the place looked like.
That’s pretty much the only positive thing I can say. I spent a good chunk of the book flailing with no idea what was going on. This book is touted as being a stand alone, but I hope that isn’t actually true, because the alternative is the author being really bad at explaining her worldbuilding and introducing characters in a non-overwhelming way. I’m still not totally clear who all the characters are. The author also, for some reason, skipped large chunks of necessary scenes that likely would’ve aided in understanding what on earth was going on.
Vidar made me supremely uncomfortable from the instant he appeared on the page. Aside from the fact he, despite the fact she was not the only dark-skinned character he knew, decided asking if Luna had been burned to explain her complexion was an appropriate line of conversation, I found his “flirtatious” remarks closer to creepy than affection. Luna’s initial reluctance to follow his advances wasn’t properly explained as it was happening, and the transition into them having a romantic relationship was not properly developed. This is probably a symptom of the book’s overall issue with not really explaining things when it comes to characters’ internal thoughts. Whether Luna was actually interested in him wasn’t clear through the early stages of creepy flirting.
Vidar’s comment about Luna’s skin was really par for the course in the way her colour was treated throughout the first half of the book in particular. From narrative description saying her feet were indistinguishable from the dirt on them, to Vidar’s charming comment, this girl and her skin just could not catch a break. It’s impossible to completely divorce a book from the context of the reader’s world, so it’s important to take into consideration what might be problematic in the real world, not just the cultural norms of the story world alone.
If I hadn’t been reading this for a readathon, I likely would not have finished it.