The girl was much smaller than most of her age, an almost boyish frame that had yet to blossom fully with the flowers of her gender.
This occurs thirteen percent (me and my e-books) of the way into the book. I’m calling it a … difficult sentence. I dread to think where precisely the flowers of her gender are located, and I will admit that literally flowery language that describes women is a pet peeve of mine. I read the sentence aloud and was practically told to stop reading the book. But I hate abandoning books, so I carried on, and I’m glad that I did.
Story (no spoilers)
Dead and Buryd takes place on the planet of Os-Veruh. The native Veniche have been living under the oppressive rule of the Adveni for a decade—according to the blurb, anyway, but the Adveni were so integrated that it felt to me like it had to be longer, but whatever. Veniche medic Georgianna is out to rescue a childhood friend who’s been sold into slavery. And this has just occurred to me, but since I’m currently reading Eragon, a book in which I believe slavery is poorly handled, I’m even more interested to be covering this book.
I will say that the pacing really isn’t what I expected, to the point that I’m confused as to why the blurb focuses on the part of the story that it does (the story I described briefly above), but if you’re the sort of person who appreciates a slow burn then I think you’ll like the pacing here.
Not to mention that I was lucky enough to meet Chele Cooke, and not only is she friendly and intelligent, she also protested when, while trying to get this book published, she was asked to make Georgianna’s friend her boyfriend because it’s more “commercial.” That kind of makes her my hero.
Just briefly. I loved the protagonist, Georgianna, and it’s always nice to have a female protagonist in science fiction. There was a wonderful diversity to the personalities in those of the rebellion and apart from it. And, we got to see Veniche from many areas, fleshing out the world. It might have been nice to see more personality from the Adveni, but I hope to see that in later books. The major Adveni character we did have, Edtroka, was fleshed out and three dimensional, and that was really nice. BUT, his actions weren’t excused. Even better.
I’ve seen some who were confused by the world building, but I didn’t have a problem with it. The Adveni, with superior technology, rule over the land and oppress the Veniche. This might seem like a simple one race v. another as happens in so many books—Reds and Golds in Red Rising, Reds and Silvers in Red Queen, and even the darn vampires and werewolves in Twilight. This isn’t the same genre, but regardless the trope is so prevalent that seeing Dead and Buryd breaking it is welcome. The Veniche are split into many tribes who don’t necessarily trust each other, preventing a strong rebellion against the Adveni. I really liked this. It created more interesting dynamics between a number of characters.
I also want to say that I liked how we see the oppression by the Adveni. It’s not a simple, “they’re well of and we’re poor” situation. We’re shown how the Veniche are mistreated in a number of ways and all throughout the book. In fact, I think it’s very elegantly built on, like revealing the horrors behind the horrors. What we see whenever Georgianna enters Lyndbury, the Adveni compound for which the book is named, also does a great job of demonstrating the Adveni nature.
Quick sidenote: I love the Adveni language. Frankly it just looked cool, and for the most part, the words of the language we see are consistent. Their use as concrete nouns did leads to some confusion, however.
My biggest problem with this book? I point you to the quote above. There were so many occasions where the actual style of writing bugged me, though in a very nitpicky way. But in a subjective review, writing style is perhaps among the more subjective things to address. If your taste in style is different – and you can move back questioning exactly where the flowers of one’s gender are situated – then I’m sure you won’t have the same complaint. You may notice a few editing errors, but nothing major. We’re all only human, right?
Some other stuff I didn’t like…
- Love interest (or whatever the casual dating equivalent is) had a bit of a creeper moment.
- Despite a female protagonist and numerous female characters, the male to female ratio of the actual rescue mission in the blurb was a little disappointing
- Bedtime story exposition beginnings aren’t the most interesting thing ever.
- There’s this weather thing that’s meant to be a big deal, but I managed to forget about it…
- No, seriously. Are the flowers of her gender her boobs? Because I have those too and I’m not even a girl.
Some other stuff I did like:
- That sweet LGBT representation.
- No shaming for a woman being a little more casual with the dating—just a worried parent.
- Right, so Edtroka isn’t a nice guy, but he’s still my favourite character. (I don’t even know why.)
- You know what I actually really appreciate? Not using men ganging up on a woman in prison as cheap drama or a cheap way to show strength, like in Acid. (There’s nothing cheap about a woman being attacked.)
- Just. Wrench. I appreciate him.
Basically, guys, what I’m trying to say is that if you like dystopian fiction, gentler science fiction, and/or slower paced reads then I recommend that you at least check out this book. I’ll definitely be reading the next in the series.