August 30, 2018

The Difficulty of Seeing Space without a Telescope | The Raging Ones

The Raging Ones
By Krista Richie and Becca Ritchie
The Raging Ones #1
Published on August 14, 2018
Young Adult, Science Fiction

This book was provided to me from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.
In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds. 
Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday. 
Until the day she does. 
Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him. 
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny. 
With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.


Space is cool. Now that humans have discovered telescopes and astronomy, it is a lot easier and more rewarding to admire the stars. Before this technology, space was mysterious, but also confusing. Imagine being alive centuries ago when there weren't scientific explanation for eclipses or meteor showers. The sky darkened during the day and rained light at night without any warning or explanation.

In some ways, The Raging Ones brings me back to those days when we knew nothing about our own solar system. The Raging Ones is a night sky full of shining stars, but there isn't a telescope to help the reader understand what is going on. 

I could see the appeal of the world and its uniqueness, but I still have no idea why or how it came to be. There was beauty in the galactic setting, but no details. There was no explanation for the crucial "link" that is even highlighted in the synopsis. I still have no idea what to make of it. Not to mention that everyone knew exactly when they were going to die, but we don't know why/how/who/where.

Outside of the confusion with the "bond", the characters were good. The novel is told in three perspectives and they each brought different worldviews and opinions into the narrative. I liked the contrast that Mykal brought to the voice, creating complexities in the world with his kindness and dedication. Out of all the characters, I understood his motivations the best. I knew what made him tick, and that helped me understand the others when their POVs fell a little short.

Just like the world-building, the plot was a little bit all over the place. For the first half of the novel, I didn't really care about the characters' motivations. I understood them as people but I didn't understand their goal, mostly due to the lack of information surrounding the Saga 5 mission and the world in general. Every other word out of Court's mouth was about the mission, but I didn't get why it was so important, so I wasn't really invested.

However, that changed in the last third of the novel. Once they finally got to the competition, I was into the story, especially the ending. The final plot twist seemed to come out of nowhere and I am still kind of confused, but at least something happened.

My last hesitation with the novel was the portrayal of romance. This is not the best representation of m/m romance. The book walks the thin between between representation and fetishization. The link made the romance complicated since Franny was more than aware of every romantic/sensual interaction between the love interests. She felt whatever they felt which led to the reader "feeling" what they felt when they kiss/flirt. So, Franny was like a surrogate for the reader to "experience" the m/m romance. The physical aspects of the bond were particularly emphasized, even in regard to sensuality. Not to mention that the book was written by two women, which can be taken as a whole different issue. Instead of providing a telescope, a distanced yet comprehensive view of the romance, the novel supplied a microscope that gave a distorted view focused more on the heating up the reader than representing m/m romance.

If the m/m romance was the selling point for the novel, I wouldn't recommend reading it.

The world of The Raging Ones was intriguing, but the problematic m/m representation and the lack of world-building negated any promise for the new world.

Do you have any recommendations for sci-fi/fantasy with good m/m romances? How important is world-building to you in a sci-fi/space opera? Have you read The Raging Ones? If so, do you agree with me?

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