The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Even though this book had a lot of very cool elements in it, having Indian (not Native American) culture in it, a very evocative type of plant-based magic that I really quite love, and some pretty great emotional scenes, I have to admit that most of the book reads rather middle-of-the-road when it comes to epic fantasies.
Sure, there are the star-crossed lovers with complicated political realities, an almost pre-requisite LGBTQ+ romance, rebellion, and empire-building, but all of this is only as good as the execution. The pacing isn't always there, but it is still rather good.
When it comes to certain characters, however, I feel like we're getting into the territory of certain modern carbon-copy male anti-hero machinations. I won't get into it here, but I see this kind of thing a lot in modern fantasy and it's awfully tiring. What can I say? I like the idea that all people are gloriously complicated, beautiful, and ugly. I don't like to see these kinds of new stereotypes being spread as gospel in every new fantasy I read. Maybe I'm just too sensitive, or maybe I read too much and therefore see a much larger trend. But the trend is real and it is disturbing and alienating. It's almost like men are being told they ought to be excluded from modern SF/F.
Other than my obviously personal problems when it comes to this class of novels, this particular novel WAS enjoyable as a whole. The other, smaller issues merely reduced my enjoyment. You know, like reading fantasy from the '70s with cardboard female cutouts -- I have a lot of issues with that, too. Take what I say with a grain of salt. Neither side is all that good.
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