January 12th, 2015
Sins of The Father by Thelonious Legend
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, but like a bunch of books, if I like what I saw by page 50, I'll buy it.
There were some things I both liked and disliked about the book, but I did overall enjoy the read.
Sins of The Father, followed the exploits of three siblings ages 12-14, and what life is like for them when they realize they've received super human abilities.
There was Eve, the eldest, who had super speed. Gwen, who was the middle child and gained super strength, and Anastasia, aka Ana, who developed super intelligence.
Even though the oldest main character Eve is 14, I do feel as though the book is more middle grade. Middle grade tends to have different dialogue/narrative for the way the characters speak, so even though it could be borderline YA, I feel it's more appropriately Middle Grade.
As far as pacing goes, I'd say it worked. I think the only really issue I had with the plot, was that for me, it seemed to have a strong beginning and ending, but it's second act wasn't as strong as it's Act I and III.
It introduced well and ended sweet, but I struggled more with the Act II. Sometimes I wasn't sure what was going on. Because of this, I paid more attention to the way the characters responded to what they were doing, more than what they were doing.
As far as world-building, I feel like everything has a picture that can be painted. Whether that's a kid from NYC, or a fairy from *I don't know where the hell fairies live* all stories have a picture to paint, that the reader might not know or have experience with.
The book paints a picture of three affluent black girls nicely. I honestly don't know what it's like to be a person of color and affluent(maybe check me when Im 50 ;p)but with their affluence came privilege.
It's important to highlight that for me, because not everyone is aware of the financial struggles of the 99%, when they're the 1%. Eve, Gwen and Ana are definitely the 1%, and it was specifically highlighted with Eve's crush, considering he was a scholarship student.
When discussing the girls, you should know a little more about them. Eve is the eldest, but going through the most in terms of self acceptance. She's shaped differently, and significantly darker than her siblings and mother, and naturally competitive.
Gwen is the middle child, which in some ways would explain her prankster nature(possibly looking for attention as a middle child?) whilst Ana is the youngest, perhaps the least motivated in school, despite her intelligence.
But they're pretty close, which is cool. I liked that they got along but still remind me of real siblings.
For the most part, I believe they all have natural hair. I found it refreshing to see characters who didn't have to resemble the default standard of beauty for a black girl, to be considered attractive.
Im probably going to sound biased, but Gwen was my favorite. There was a situation in the lunchroom, where many of her friends talked a certain way, based on her name being Gwen. I laughed out loud literally, because people totally do that with me, since I was a kid, until this day.
But they're all cute. I think Eve is a little standoffish, but teenagers usually are. Ana kind of reminded me of Temperance Brennan, which is a total compliment, because I friggin love Bones(especially Temperance). Ana spoke very collected, emotion-less and drab, which was weird for a 12 year old, but it worked for her character.
The only thing I didn't connect with amongst them was their height. All of them are under 15 years old, but the shortest is 5'7" and the tallest is 5'11".
To be that young, they looked like women in my heads. Im just afraid someone might over-sexualize them, because amongst women of color, that's really common, and because they're enormous in terms of their height, sometimes I didn't picture them young.
A study showed children of color tend to get viewed as older(link here)and that tends to justify the crimes against them. Women and girls experience this differently, and not in a good way.
I think if they'd been a year or two older, I would've totally bought it.
But every other character is also tall. All their friends, the adults in their lives, everyone. Im between 5'2" and 5'3". Its been a long time since I was a kid XD But being very tall was usually and exception, not a rule. Everyone seemed like college students. Not a deal breaker, just something that jumped at me.
I thought that the back story on how they received their abilities could've been fleshed out more, but maybe it'll be explained better in future books?
There was a bunch of conflict, but the most life threatening was their "loss." I don't mean someone died. I mean their False Victory. Every book should have something that makes the character/s feel as though nothing will change, only to have everything change.
They lost things really important to them, and sometimes, that loss is a part of the journey of being different.
The writing style isn't a weak point, but sometimes the dialogue seemed a little appropriating. People of color have the ability to appropriate too, so sometimes, I sometimes I felt the story tried too hard to make the characters sound 12-14 years old. Granted, I don't have kids, and haven't been 14 for 10(add 5) years, so I don't know how preteens talk outside of family members. But sometimes their white friends talked like them as well, and I wasn't always comfortable with that. Mainly because I wasn't sure if they were making fun of people who weren't like them(rich).
There was also a lot of dialogue. Since the POV is 3rd person, I would've liked more internal thought. 3rd person works best for multiple protagonists, so I can't complain, but there are times where there's a lot of talking with no distinction.
When Im looking at a full page of dialogue with no beats and breaks, I assume the characters are arguing, even when they're not, or it's hard to tell which voice is speaking when they have similar voices.
Again, not a deal breaker, but noticeable.
The editing and formatting work. Just some conversations are very word-y.
I do think racially, there is a ton of diversity, even if they're not main characters. If you count the Parker Sisters' family, there are a lot of African American characters. The sisters have a friend named Kang, who's American of Korean descent, and I liked that he was one of the cool kids and an athlete.
Most of their friends are white, but perhaps that's intentional because of the fact they're all wealthy?
I wanted to talk about socioeconomic diversity, because Im rarely able to. Not every book addresses it, and unless your eyes are open, you might not even notice.
Due to the Parker Sisters' elite background, they didn't quite understand their privilege. Their grandmother's wealth granted them a ton of privileges, black children normally don't have.
Eve displayed her privilege first hand, with her love interest. He wasn't from the same socioeconomic background as her, and while I was uncomfortable, Im glad that it did address it. She reminded me a bit of the character Sephy in Malorie Blackman's "Noughts and Crosses"(Which is a brilliant read. I highly recommend).
Privilege comes in many different forms, be it gender, sexual orientation, race, class, size. Being of the same race doesn't mean you automatically experience the same things.
Racial and Socioeconomic diversity were the only things I noticed about the book though, in terms of diversity.
I think the cover is cute. I wonder how it would've looked if I got to see the girls in the flesh, versus their silhouettes, but it does capture what each sister is good at. The title is ok. It does describe the plot, and how they got their abilities, so I wouldn't take off for that. It's just ok.
I think Im totally biased when it comes to the character names section. Even though Im a Guin with a different spelling, it is pronounced the same as Gwen. Another black Guin. The world aint ready.
Anastasia is a really pretty name. They referred to her as Ana, but I love her full name. Eve is cute. Not as pretty as the other two, but it is cute. There were a bunch of names I saw that were pretty or eye catching, but you know how I get with names. The more unique the better.
They're the main character though. So I think it was a win.
The book described the characters enough for me. I think I got a clear enough picture of them in my head.
Take in mind, my dreamcast is partly problematic. The Parker Sister's are girls. But I saw them as women at times because of their heights and body types.
I saw China Savers as Eve(gosh, this chick is in her 30s? she looks 12!)
Amanda Stenberg was my Ana
And Quvenzhane Wallis was my Gwen(She looked extra mischievous here, totally capturing Gwen XD)
I'd actually say this is between a 3.5-3.75 for me. But I dont have a 3/4 kid
Title: Sins of The Father
Author: Thelonious Legend
Publisher: The Legend Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade/ Young Adult/ Fantasy
This was going to be a special year for the Parker sisters.
Eve was going to dominate in the classroom and on the basketball court. Gwen was going to make the starting five and go down in history as the greatest prankster ever. Ana was going to do as little as possible.
But without warning, all three sisters gain extraordinary abilities that defy science… powers that come with a cost. Now all they want to do is make it through the school year without drawing any undue attention, while racing to find a cure before the side effects of their new abilities kill them. Eve’s temperament, Gwen’s fondness for pranks, and Ana’s predilection for money, however, are challenges they must overcome to achieve their goals. Because if they can’t, they’re dead…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
IT Professional by day, but by night I use my pen and pad as a canvas to explore questions of race, identity, privilege and class in a science fiction setting. Eclectic reader with a fondness for the classics and first generation Hip Hop snob. Don't start none won't be none! Philadelphia Eagles football fanatic and I also enjoy MMA from the safety of my couch. On the weekends you can find me wine drinking, rock climbing, fishing, or being an unpaid chauffeur to my daughters' activities. Also I'm a snark purveyor and been making with the funny since it was called the 'Dozens'. Get at me!
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