SPFBO 8: Cuts Post

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Hello hello hello! We are back with three more cuts for the post today. I took a couple more books from Kristen as she begins her move, and unfortunately, they were DNFs for me. She also has a title to cut as well so we are moving right along. Kristen has just 5 more in her pile and then we will announce her semifinalists and exchange books!

SABIN: Escape from Foster Care by S.S. Rundolin

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, and when I got into it a bit, it felt like either middle grade or YA. It follows a very common trope you see with the evil not-parents who have custody over the kid/main character. Whether it’s the wicked aunts in James and the Giant Peach, or the evil aunt and uncle in Harry Potter, or that weirdo from A Series of Unfortunate Events, this is a very common theme from that genre.

This takes that trope and applies it to foster parents, but things are taken a bit to the extreme. He’s being shot with bb guns, locked in the basement as soon as he gets home from school, the fridge is locked with a chain, etc. It’s things that would get caught in our system since foster parents have interviews with the kid and parents as part of their checks. This book even acknowledges those checks, if you say you’re being abused in a way where you’re covered in wounds they’ll take you out. This is supposedly the 14th abusive family he’s landed with, which takes things from unlikely but believable, to the not believable. It kind of pulled me out of the story.

This also leans into the fat people are evil trope which I’m not a huge fan of. I’m not 400 pounds, but anyone struggling with weight or the perception thereof may feel belittled by the passages in here. Despite following a more middle grade plotline it slammed down racial slurs which I’m not sure every parent would be okay with their kids reading. It’s the n-word with a hard r. The theme of everyone out to get the main character is also emphasized by rivalries within the foster kids, one of his foster siblings tried to stab him once???

Anyway, there’s a video game tournament for 10K and he thinks if he can win he can make a case for emancipation. My question is, someone who’s been so deprived of enrichment wouldn’t be able to win these kinds of tournaments to get the 10k? I’m not sure where the fantasy elements come in but I was suspecting this was going to fall into the litRPG category. I ultimately decided to put it down for several reasons, but the inner dialogue of the main character was also grating, “man, she’s so hot” was used multiple times and as a girl who used to be into gaming it’s that kind of stuff why I didn’t use a mic for so long. I kind of got the feeling I wasn’t going to jive with this book so I set it down.

Cut by Esme.

The Price of Honor by Richard Fierce

This is a prequel to a dragon rider series, so it promises a high fantasy adventure with Asian influence just looking at the cover. When I got into it I felt this was basically the Mulan story with some adjustments and dragons.

In this world only men can bond with dragons. Dragons can talk with whomever they want, but to truly bond and share memories and a connection that can only happen once, and only happens with men. So, one day the Emperor’s messenger comes to the village and is like, everyone household here has to put up a soldier, if you’re too old, send your son in your place. If you’re old and don’t have a son, oh well, you’re coming with us anyway.

So, Leilani is an only child, a daughter, and her father is old and can’t fight. She decides to go off in his stead and join the army, it feels super similar to the movie, a little too similar, there’s even a hair cutting scene and whatnot before she runs off. Once she gets to the camp she’s overwhelmed by the change in demeanor of the people around her. She’s grown up very sheltered and isn’t at all ready for war. Mulan is a much more capable and mature character than this one, Leilani didn’t even think to change out of her women’s clothes before setting off to go to the army? Despite thinking about cutting her hair? It just seemed inconsistent her preparedness for this mission.

Dragons here are classified by color and they all have different characteristics, blue dragons can shoot lightning while black dragons are more difficult to control, things like that. I liked the world, but the way it was presented was largely through info dumps in dialogue and I’m just never a fan of that. Ultimately I set this down about halfway through.

Cut by Esme.

Waking Ursa Minor by Helen Rygh-Pedersen

Waking Ursa Minor is the story of Serakela, who is an orphaned girl who lives in a convent who is not the simple orphan girl that she thinks she is. When an assassin tries to kill her, she runs off, learns if her heritage, and finds herself searching for the Stone of Riverda. Brother Okrafkus from a few islands over knows that he can’t let that happen, as it would summon great evil.

This one was well written and paced pretty well but I just could not stay immersed in the story. I found Serakela annoying and Okrafkus boring. This one definitely has an audience out there. I think people that like them some epic journey sort of fantasy would dig it!

Cut by Kristen