Great representation but lack of direction | BookishFirst

Great representation but lack of direction

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There are some things that I really loved: namely Talin (badass fighter, can't speak so she has to use sign language, super empathetic, refugee / deals with racial/xenophobic oppression). Also the fact that her friends and fellow soldiers have wholeheartedly embraced her differing ability and strive to include her and understand her whenever she signs in lieu of speaking.

However, a lot of the plot felt... Incidental? Like, Talin doesn't really have reasons for doing things. She just does them and then suddenly it turns out that there's this big important picture beneath (that I must note she was not aware of before doing the thing) that kind of retroactively justifies everything she does. Also... Everything in the entire book revolves around her, which kind of kills the idea that she could be any victim, any refugee. Instead, this makes literally everything she does suffused with extra meaning - thereby further distancing her from the marginalized groups she represents. (Can't get into specifics there because spoilers)

I do think the second book will lend itself to really great development of Talin and Red, but like... I'm so tired of the super special bond. I'm just glad they didn't turn into a romantic relationship.