Monday, April 15, 2013

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

genre: young adult science fiction/dystopia

June has grown up in a giant glass city.  In this future world where older men are rare and a queen and her "aunties" rule, June and her best friend Gil revel in parties, making art and generally soaking up whatever pop culture has to offer them.

But then the new Summer King is elected, and Enki has ideas of his own that will take June into a world of deception and body modification, daring and art and a terrifying kind of love that makes you do things and understand things that maybe you're not quite ready for.

I read this for the cover. That glowing tree on her skin is fantastic, I think.  June is intriguing.  Her arc and coming-of-age is a little frustrating but resolves well and is believable.  Enki is crazy and a very unique and creatively drawn character. I didn't love how sexual the book was.  I didn't love that there was so much Portugese-ish phrasing and pretend-world building that I often felt like I wasn't completely sure of what was going on.  In fact, I really was probably a third of the way into the book before I felt like I had my feet under me in her world and that felt too long.  I did think the ideas in it were QUITE fascinating - the city itself, the ways that people could modify their humanness, the subplot of art for expression and political dissidence, and even the plot, once I understood it, I really liked.  She is a very strong writer and some of the phrasing was absolutely beautiful but enough of it bugged me that I still give it three stars.

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