The Black Witch
I remember when this book first came out it was surrounded by controversy and people were taking sides as to whether the book was truly bigoted, so I wanted to give it time to cool off before I read it barring any judgment.
I have to say that I don't condone discrimination of any sort, and I can understand where some people may have spotted certain things, but the whole point of the book was to fight these ideas. It in no way (to me) had a message of belittling others. I'm wondering if these people read a different book than I did? Or maybe just read half and got fed up with what they believed would continue the entire book? I'm not sure, but either way I thought that this book had a VERY important message against those types of agendas.
Back to the book!
Our main character is Elloren Gardener, the granddaughter of the famous 'Black Witch' or savior of the Gardnerian race from extinction by other races (back in the day). Elloren was raised by her uncle (her parents and grandmother died in the War) in the backwoods.
I liked how Elloren started out as an ignorant Gardnerian. She believed that her religion (which states that other races are evil and basically should be extinguished or kept as pets) was factual and completely skewed her view of the world. She didn't know 'any better' because that's what she was raised to believe and didn't have anyone else but Gardnerians around to hammer the point home. I do believe that Elloren was a bit too naïve (as Yvan lovingly pointed out). I mean, her grandmother was one of the most important people to their religion and just to their beings in general, she knows she comes from a very important family, and yet she doesn't question the way that she was raised in the middle of nowhere and basically without riches? But she still somehow knows that she's better than others based on her family history, just didn't make much sense to me.
I loved how Elloren progressively learns different histories and perspectives in order to get all of the facts and choose a stance based on her own views and research and that she doesn't take the authority's word after realizing it may be biased. The book was long, but I think it was necessary in order to have that much information packed in and also gives Elloren enough time to gradually change (instead of suddenly). I also liked the back and forth in the beginning, showing both sides of bullying and racial profiling (Ariel, Wynter, & Elloren, the Urisk workers and Elloren, and also Fallon & Elloren although this was mostly just bullying). How Elloren hurt others as well as got hurt just based on mis-judgments and payback for past transgressions. I also liked that the main villain was Gardnerian (showing that her people definitely are not perfect), even though Fallon was ridiculously annoying and childish. It also made me wonder where all of the responsible adults were???
Other than Fallon, I enjoyed most of the crew of characters toward the end (Tierney, Yvan, Rafe, Trystan, Ariel, Wynter, Marina, Diana and Jarrod among others), and how they accidentally create their own little revolution.
Basically, I loved the message behind the book (that people can change, that perspectives are skewed based on how you are taught and by whom, that discrimination is wrong). I don't see how that can be more obvious, or that the Author was clearly trying to show different perspective of racial disparities, but that's just me.