By Kirsten Imani Kasai
I was very intrigued by this book from the blurb on the back, which prompted me to check it out from the library. And then it was nothing like what the back leads you to believe. For a novel whose main character is a gender-bender (literally), she spends awfully little time as her male counterpart. He doesn’t even show up until more than a third of the way into the book. I did think it was a neat twist that her two halves don’t share memories – talk about confusing. But the rest of the story left me with a dissatisfied ‘Hrm.’
For one, it kept switching from being science fiction to a macabre kind of fantasy novel. And I don’t as a rule have a problem with cross-genre or mixed genre, but in this case it just didn’t work. For another, occasionally the author would throw in a whole little subplot that didn’t serve ANY purpose whatsoever (particularly the Zarina/Elu bit – no point to it, which the author seemed to realize as it abruptly cut off). Also, I really wanted to like the main character, but sometimes her reactions just didn’t make any sense (and had nothing to do with her gender-changing abilities). To round it out, the end was very unsatisfying as well. Without giving it away, lets just say a LOT of loose ends weren’t tied up, and even the immediate fate of the surviving characters was left in question. Call me old fashioned, but I like a little bit more of a resolution in my endings. Overall, it was an interesting idea, just not executed as well as it could’ve been.
I give it 2.5/5 stars.