Monday, February 25, 2013

Tankborn Reading Progress - February 25th

Book: Tankborn by Karen Sandler
Current Page: 11, 3% done
Last Line(s) Read: "But mixed with her worries were feelings she didn't want or understand. Infinite feelings she ought to have left behind at the river banks."

I've been trying rather unsuccessfully to gain some ground in this book today. I read around slow periods in our office, and while I had many of them, the minute I picked up this book it was as if all the world conspired against me. I would get interruption after interruption until I put the book aside. This happened repeatedly until I just gave up. I managed to finish chapter one at least. Progress! 

So, far I've been introduced to Kayla, one of the protagonists, a girl with super strength, but not being able to compensate for her weaker lower body, she is a little off balance and clumsy at times. She resides on Loka, an Earth-like planet that is the home to many strange creatures, including the genetically engineered non-humans (GENs) like Kayla. It's mentioned that the humans have left Earth behind, but as of right now, I don't know if that means all of them left or some of them left or even if the planet has been destroyed. Perhaps I will learn in time

We're also introduced to a caste system on this world--trueborn, lowborn, and GEN. Trueborn have the most status and wealth. Lowborn don't have status or wealth, but they're not shunned--or at least no in the way the GENs are. GENs are considered, and treated like, animals. After a bit of harassment by some high status humans, a trueborn named Devak comes to her rescue (who is obviously going to be the love interest, too). There was a brief conversation between Kayla and Devak that shows the disparity of their statuses, where he asks why should he fear any GEN, unaware that the GEN may not enjoy the life they're living and would risk hurting him. Also, he's absolutely confused that she wouldn't want him around. He's a trueborn! Why wouldn't she want him around? 

I did take a break right here to read some of the reviews about how well the racism is handled in this book since I was starting to see some of that master/peon relationship showing early. There are two types of racism going on here. 

First, there's the fact that humans consider themselves a race and the GENs consider themselves a different race. Whether this is because of the way they've been conditioned, or if they truly believe they’re not human, or some dismal combination of both, only time will tell. While both are humanoid races with most of the same physical attributes, the GENs' DNA have been spliced with various animals, if I'm understanding correctly, to give them skets (skill sets) to aid humans. They're created in a lab and reach gestation in a tank. Once born they're cared for by a GEN whose role is to be a nurturer. Once they hit fifteen, they've given their assignments. Basically, the humans are creating slaves. 

The second form of racism we're dealing with is skin color. I've garnered that a certain shade of brown is more desirable than other shades of brown, which mirrors reality all too well. This is where I worried. This type of racism is all too easy to drop the ball on. Good intentions can come off as the writer being an apologist for the oppressors, even if they are technically people of color (which brings about a whole new set of intra-racial problems), treating the topic in ways that show ignorance or a veiled view on the subject. And I just wanted to enjoy the book without feeling the writer was handling the topic grossly, especially when combined with the slave angle. 

Side note: I should mention that there are also pale skin characters who are considered only demi-born, but still high status. The true trueborn are a" rich medium brown.” Even being pale is leaps and bounds better than Kayla’s skintone. Moving on.

So, I read a few reviews from people who talked about the race issues in the book, and they gave me enough confidence to continue and even a sparked interest in how it will play out. I may still end up hating it, but I am at least willing to give it a try now. 

Anyway, I didn’t mean to get all in my feelings about that. I just wanted to post an update.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

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Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
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The Girl from the Well
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tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
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