8.19.2011

The Lotus Blossom Chronicles Books 1 & 2

I only bought the first Lotus Blossom Chronicle because I wanted to read the second story in the anthology but many things happened (long story but Parker Publishers sent me the wrong copy) and I ended up having both ebooks. Predictably, I ended up enjoying the story I thought I'd enjoy, I can't really say the same for the other stories though only one of them made me react quite violently.

"Siren's Seduction" by Jax Cassidy had the formula of depressive black woman in an abusive relationship finds an Asian knight in a shining armour come and save her with his love. The book was alright except that I spent a lot of time hoping and wishing that Nick Chow was not Donovan's dead sister's ex. There was a twist in the end where Donovan left Nick for a while and we're supposed to believe that she did this to heal on her own but the truth of the matter is the catalyst for a lot of the positivity coming to her life was Nick.

"Concubine" by Simone Harlow was an awesome story. It is set in an alternate universe, 'New Africa' and we follow the adventures of royal concubine turned bounty hunter Nyssa Farris who is forced to break all sorts of rules while working for her arch nemesis (the current Queen of New Africa who kidnapped Nyssa's daughter as a baby). I guessed Prince Assad Kuba is supposed to be Arab, this is a work of speculative fiction so ethnicities are not explicitly stated.

"Dirty Little Secrets" by J.M. Jeffries features a cool heroine. Elle Walker is a goth who also happens to be a talented hacker, she is also the daughter of a politician. Her parents are having a re-commitment ceremony which Elle has to attend and to shock (or upset) her parents, she pays Merrick Lee to come along as her date. Merrick has an Asian father and works as a mechanic but Elle doesn't know that he is also an Ivy League graduate and a former Delta Force Commando. I really liked that the heroine was different in her own way but midway into the story she started confusing me. All in all, this story was an interesting read.

Speaking of characters confusing me, I don't know what to say about "Continental Divide" by Dyanne Davis. I will keep my opinions at bay for now, Tanya Reed is a social worker who visits her best friend in Pakistan (her best friend is married to a Pakistani man) in search for 'a particular type of man'. Now I am going to let my opinions run free (that did not take too long)...this story's blurb is very misleading. It says that Tanya is travelling to Pakistan in search for a man who is 'successful and driven as she is' but in the story she is looking for a rich man to marry. All this is for the greater good, you see, Tanya wants to help the kids she works with as a social worker. Imran, the man Tanya is supposed to be perfect for, is rich but chooses not to flaunt his family's wealth. Apparently Imran wants a woman that is 'sweet and quiet' however I did not see this reflected in the story. 

I think it is somewhat obvious that I did not like "Continental Divide". I guess as Tanya is a 'loud mouth, brash American woman' it would be difficult for me to identify with a character like hers when I am pretty much the opposite. I was seriously uncomfortable with Tanya's 'fears' in travelling to Pakistan, her not wanting to change herself or whatever. As a Third World citizen who enjoys travelling, I cannot stand the idea of people travelling to a foreign country and somehow expecting their hosts to change to suit their privileged needs. Both Tanya and Imran constantly frustrated me, and then Tanya worrying about being called a 'gold-digger'...I also wasn't entirely at ease with Imran's source of sexual prowess rooted in his spending time in red-light districts. I wondered if this would be okay if he was not Pakistani, I don't even know except that I was not too comfortable with this story but I guess others may enjoy it. (It is funny that I wrote more about the story I didn't like n_n)

5 comments:

  1. I can't deny that people like Tanya exist; however, the way she's presented here makes it clear that she's little more than a cardboard cut-out stereotype. While it's doubtful I would have ever invested in this series anyway, I'm happy to have your insights. Thank you for sharing with us.

    While it's generally accepted that "whites" can't write Black characters of African descent, I have a sinking feeling that many POCs can't write us either.

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  2. "While it's generally accepted that "whites" can't write Black characters of African descent, I have a sinking feeling that many POCs can't write us either."

    Sadly Hateya, that is often too true.

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  3. @Neo-Prodigy

    Sadly Hateya, that is often too true.

    Is this the influence of the Hollywhite media? Have things gotten so bad that we're prone to even stereotype ourselves? Are we so anxious to be accepted as "real Americans" that we're allowing ourselves to be assimilated to this extent? Do we not even recognize the diversity of Black people either locally or abroad?

    I can behave like a decent human being and abide by our nation's laws, but I refuse to do anything beyond that. Like my grandmothers always say, "It's all right to talk white as long as you don't THINK white."

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  4. I think a lot of it is buying into the lies that mainstream White America spews and brainwashes us with but a lot of it is still generations upon generations of self-loathing and a crabs in the barrel mentality in POC culture.

    I mean we STILL have POCs who wholeheartedly believe that reading books, being articulate, listening to rock & roll and/or having a college degree = aspiring to be white. So I guess it's little wonder that they fail to write complex characters of color when they still have that failed mindset/programming.

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  5. At least the covers aren't total eyesores.

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