J.T. Greathouse’s debut is going to make waves. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book, so I’m sort of cheating here as it’s not available yet. Save yourself some trouble, and skip to your retailer of choice pre-order, then come back and read what I have to say.
Okay, you pre-ordered, right?
Where to start? This book contains (among multitudes) a deconstruction of colonialism that forces one to turn inward, to think on how one might navigate their role in a colonial system, to struggle with the (probability) that one might make the wrong choice.
We are in the point of view of a boy descended from a conquered people who comes of age striving to join the empire that colonized land and learn its magic. We interrogate what it means to straddle worlds and to have complex feelings about heritage and history. We are presented with a mirror to our minds and a lens to our own world that may leave us uncomfortable about what we find.
Greathouse brings the world he created to life with prose as smooth as silk and by painting minute details of culture (drinking games involving poetry battles! a tense penmanship test! more!) that shed light on just how vibrant and complete the work is.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. This is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and given the fact that this is Greathouse’s debut, the ceiling on his work is simply not visible. We’re in for a treat, and I can’t wait to see what his career brings.
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