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This one is rather hard to rate for one good reason It is good, and I did not like it I would reasonably give this 3.5 stars, but let me explain The good.Really quite wonderful main characters, all full of interesting mixtures Astra seems to have autism, is rathergay than not, butclosely binary She s also strong and pretty brilliant and she also has a tendency to say exactly what she means and do exactly as she wants, regardless of whether it s safe for her to do so This is a mi This one is rather hard to rate for one good reason It is good, and I did not like it I would reasonably give this 3.5 stars, but let me explain The good.Really quite wonderful main characters, all full of interesting mixtures Astra seems to have autism, is rathergay than not, butclosely binary She s also strong and pretty brilliant and she also has a tendency to say exactly what she means and do exactly as she wants, regardless of whether it s safe for her to do so This is a mixed blessing Theo is a somewhat distant character but he is also fairly nicely rounded, as is a few other of the MC s As a study on slavery and cultural abuse taken up ten notches, it is a quite sickening study, and this brings us to the title Ghosts are Whites The slavery is almost ship wide It s almost unbearable to read When you can count up to 90 massive trauma events to your person by the time you reach 40, both of a strictly abusive nature and a sexual one, and this is considered the normal and natural order of things, then you know something is slightly off.For what this tale does, in making a very varied read and one that illustrates the horrors in so many ways, it is very good.Now, the bad.It s almost unbearable to read If the author is intending to depress the living hell out of me and make me want to end it all because I happen to have white skin, then I shall call her a winner There is VERY little, other than Theo, to make me think that whites are anything other than complete and utter a holes All the villains, and I mean the ghosts, are cardboard cutouts of complete and utter evil A slight taste of a rounded villain or at least a lying rounded villain might have given this whole thing a bitmeat As it was, I just learned to hate and hate and hate and hate and hate and hate Maybe I need to beclear it s tiring to hate so much Emotionally Intellectually Everything.And then there s an SF reason to dislike this novel If I am to accept the premise that a generational starship can be made, maintained, and piloted for an unknown number of years on a slave race, then this is doable It s a completely dystopian turn your mind off SF trope, applied to a generational starship Good for reinforcing that whole world as prison mentality, NOT good for rational thought.Why I kept asking myself that one question, over and over and over WHY Ignore the how Social structures can be maintained indefinitely with a little ruthlessness and power, even with the possibility of revolution My big question is WHY would anyone put a bunch of slaves on a high tech, easily destroyable, long term spaceship You need a VERY educated workforce, and one that isthan willing to go the extra effort not to punch holes in hulls or start random fires that can wipe out the entire crew Instead, we have fires and rifles here On a spaceship Okay Turn off the mind Got it Assume it s super high tech, as is implied by the computer at the end or the hints at faster FASTER travel through space I beg the question again WHY all the hate, hate, hate I m talking about the ghosts If they hate so much, why didn t they just gather themselves up with a bunch of robots and go uck off to some other planet, if it s so easy to have a bunch of a holes GET a generational spaceship in the first place Why bring along a slave workforce to abuse at all Especially when you KNOW it s bound to turn bad Religion could have been an answer, but the closest we get to that is the ghosts calling themselves gods So, not developed Even the Pharaohs had a rich and varied social system to account for the pyramids.No This is just social inequity, massive abuse built into the culture, a bit of cool character building, and lots of really difficult emotional reading It s not hard to follow or enjoy, otherwise So Good and bad It really depends on what you re looking for A rich SF this is not A heartbreaking tale of a world prison This is Back in 2016 which seems so long ago , Barrack Obama was in the last year of his Presidency and I was still sane Anyways, that was the year my cup runneth over with slave narratives I read three that year Kindred, Homegoing and The Underground Railroad All three were excellent, but they are slave narratives Painful, infuriating and heartbreaking to read Provocative of angry emotions I came to loathe slave narratives for their incongruence to humanity, their unfairness, their lack of comp Back in 2016 which seems so long ago , Barrack Obama was in the last year of his Presidency and I was still sane Anyways, that was the year my cup runneth over with slave narratives I read three that year Kindred, Homegoing and The Underground Railroad All three were excellent, but they are slave narratives Painful, infuriating and heartbreaking to read Provocative of angry emotions I came to loathe slave narratives for their incongruence to humanity, their unfairness, their lack of compassion, their torment of human beings, the irredeemable deeds, the callous disregard for human rights, the unfettered privileging of a group of people who deserve no absolution Nope, don t like the subject and can read only in small doses In the intervening years between then and now, I managed to read only one until An Unkindness of Ghosts Because that is what this book is a slave narrative In Spaaaccceee It s a good book that kept my interest, but the main premise left me hollow Slavery on a spaceship doesn t make sense A caste system on a space ship Perhaps, but slavery I didn t buy it If you don t buy into the premise, the book becomes oppression porn And I just don t love reading about slavery and the indignities the arise due to slavery I m not sure what the point of the novel was Was it to highlight man s infinite ability to be inhumane to other people I think Solomon is talented and interesting They had some very interesting ideas about the future They had strong things to say about the long term impacts on a society as a whole and how trauma and slavery impacts corrupts a culture and people There are all kinds of oppression in this book racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, resource inequality, nepotism etc As I said, interesting, but in the end it just wasn t for me Almost 3.5 StarsListened to the audiobook Cherise Booth did a great job, I was riveted the entire time But I was put off by the oppressed characters having what I interpreted as a Carribbean accent I don t know, it felt unfair and almost an offensive stereotype Funny how the oppressors did not adopt a detectible accent in the audio interpretation Solomon lives in the UK What would have happened if the oppressors had a British accent Would that be considered too literal possibly racist Asking for a friend Shiver shiver, tremble tremble I am not nervous about writing this review at allI do not have any of my typicalbook was too good to write a review for itjumbles Nope Feeling at my most confident hereescapes Can we just agree to make this book as famous as possible and leave it at thatNo I ll have to elaborate Oh Alright So We ve got a spaceship that has escaped a dying Earth centuries ago Naturally, it s failing Of course, due to various constrictions, combineShiver shiver, tremble tremble I am not nervous about writing this review at allI do not have any of my typicalbook was too good to write a review for itjumbles Nope Feeling at my most confident hereescapes Can we just agree to make this book as famous as possible and leave it at thatNo I ll have to elaborate Oh Alright So We ve got a spaceship that has escaped a dying Earth centuries ago Naturally, it s failing Of course, due to various constrictions, combined with pure human nature,the ship is authoritarian, slavery driven and as violent an environment as can beWe find ourselves following the story through the eyes of several of the characters, but most of them are based on the lower decks, as thelowest form of life You can see where this is about to get challengingWe explore life through their eyes and search for all sorts of meaning, explore all sorts of existences So let s just look at the reasons of why I would recommend this book, and let me tell you in advance, there was not a thing I was unhappy with itThis book is PURE AMAZEMENT and I think absolutely everyone should read itYes, it was that good and important.Reason 1The Book Is Diverse Without Appearing To Try To, Plus, It s OwnVoices I don t know if I m making it clear, but I think you know what I mean Diversity is important, and it s sought out right now but sometimes authors only tryto make the quotaand so insert diverse characters into their books as placeholders They re just sort of there, but they feel so forced This is not the case at all in this book I think it s partly because it s OwnVoices, plus it s just so well done emotionallyThe diversity is just there It doesn t try to convert you, it doesn t try to fight a cause, it doesn t try to explain itself It s just there And it s so naturally diverse you can t help understanding it, relating to it, championing itIt s not diverse in the placeholder sense,it throws away any labelsEven the labels diverse groups use for themselves It s diverse on, well, pretty much molecular level, as I d say metaphoricallyYou don t have to belong to a group to exist and be validated it s alright if you belong to a group of you That s enough Reason 2The Ship Is An Amazing Analogy Of Captivity I found this most fascinatingYes, a spaceship is a spaceship, it s part of a scifi story But, at the same time, I felt like it symbolized so much Being indentured means there simply being no means of escape, wherever you go, whatever you do And what better symbol of that is there than a dying spaceshipI feel like this draws an amazing comparison to the life of an enslaved, trapped personYour life is limited to not even being able to control the choices regarding your own body, much less choices of how your life progressesThis is truly a song to all enslaved peoples, not just slavery in the history of AmericaMy heart wept at the tale, and I believe, so will yours.Reason 3I Have Never Read A More Relatable Tale Of Slavery I have read stories on slaveryEven written by the slaves themselves, stories of their escape Fictional stories tooAnd although I could feel empathy towards them, they are stories from another lifea life elsewhere, a life in a totally different time That automatically makes it harder for us to relateBut a life almost like our own In a technical environment, and yet enslaved That is so muchapproachableAnd it s also so well written in terms of depicting emotions that I feel it taught me muchabout captivity than any of the tales I ve read before.Reason 4 Emotion Even Among The Rubble I could have said love But I don t want to make this cheap This is no love story This is not about a love story Yet a love story is ever present And I m not talking about between man and woman, or lovers, or whatever you have itI am talking about human love, soul love love of the bigger kindNo pain and suffering can be survived without it, and this book is so good about showing it Human affection, human bondsIt blooms like a flower in the wastelands It charms you with the way it does And it gives you hope in a whole world full of destruction Reason 5Non Neurotypical Characters It s hard to say, and I m obviously groping in the dark here, butI think the main character Aster might be on the spectrum, or at least some kind of non neurotypicalAs everything of the diverse kind in this book, it s not overtly mentioned but not because it s taboo, rather because it s cultural of the ship there are no such concepts in this societyI m not sure the concept of woman is even present in this society, as the lower deck slaves are without an exception all women The way Aster is, is not treated as a deficiency in the book, it s treated as a way to be It s explained so understandably that you will relate and empathise even if you re nothing like Aster yourselfAnd it s not limited to the main character either Giselle, Aster s best friend, suffers from mental illness bouts as well, and it s also presented in a great way, easy to pick up and understand None of the characters are even looked down on for the way they are, whatever they re like.Overall I could go on The plot, the setting, the writing, the way you re transported into this incredible world Keep in mind I listened to this book on a read back app And yet it still felt every bit as magical as if I was reading itusually, books read back to you by a mechanized voice are harder to get intoBut I believe you should discover this book for yourselves I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, even if you re not so much into scifi it scharacter driven anywayScifi is only the setting, the backdrop The real stuff you re reading about is the condition of being human in a society that is horribly skewed for particular kinds of beSomething for the people who have read this alreadyview spoiler I will admit I am a little puzzled about the ending, so feel free to discuss it with mein the comments if you ve read it hide spoiler I thank Rivers Solomon and Akashic Books for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review I already can t wait for Rivers Solomon s next book Read Post On My Blog My Bookstagram Bookish Twitter I really enjoyed this I love how the book incorporated intersectional black gender identities and paralleled the antebellum South to create a richer story It was a unique take on the scifi dystopian genre that opens wider paths for inclusive storytelling I m not just giving it diversity points I truly believe the author s inclusion of autism and queer identities was purposeful in painting a deeper story that reflects our society Aster feels real and I loved being in her headspace because I really enjoyed this I love how the book incorporated intersectional black gender identities and paralleled the antebellum South to create a richer story It was a unique take on the scifi dystopian genre that opens wider paths for inclusive storytelling I m not just giving it diversity points I truly believe the author s inclusion of autism and queer identities was purposeful in painting a deeper story that reflects our society Aster feels real and I loved being in her headspace because it s a perspective so uniquely told I also enjoyed her quiet and subtle relationship with Theo, who is equally as complex The gratuitous violence also helps paint the harsh realities of slavery and humankind.I did not rate this 5 stars because although I was enraptured by the beginning, my interest dipped in the middle parts The ending felt a little rushed and unsatisfying There are some issues with pacing, which is understandable since this is Solomons debut novel I would ve loved to see other perspectives expanded throughout the story to enhance the themes evenRegardless, I plan on following Solomons work because I m sure it ll continue to be captivating This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here As in most repressive societies the overlords are hardest on women and children of color and so it goes in An Unkindness of Ghosts Aster is strong and smart, but she can only do so much for her people who inhabit the lowest strata in this society inside of a spaceship that holds the remnants of the damaged earth She makes medicines and performs operations, some things self taught and others learned from the powerful Surgeon, a kind and decent man, and a mysterious one, whose motives for helpin As in most repressive societies the overlords are hardest on women and children of color and so it goes in An Unkindness of Ghosts Aster is strong and smart, but she can only do so much for her people who inhabit the lowest strata in this society inside of a spaceship that holds the remnants of the damaged earth She makes medicines and performs operations, some things self taught and others learned from the powerful Surgeon, a kind and decent man, and a mysterious one, whose motives for helping Aster are slowly revealed Surgeon, Aster, her Ainty, and Aster s friends, especially Giselle, are all beaten down physically and spiritually, but still retain hope that they will be set free from this Hell created by man Reread RWLChallenge A book with an intersex main character Now that this is out I m looking at everyone like y all gon read this or nah Pre publication review below the cut I wanted to give myself to some to fully process An Unkindness of Ghosts before writing my review There is a lot to unpack Let s start with how good I think this book is It has multiple layers that one can spend close to an eternity unpacking A number of themes jumped out at me while reading this novel They in Reread RWLChallenge A book with an intersex main character Now that this is out I m looking at everyone like y all gon read this or nah Pre publication review below the cut I wanted to give myself to some to fully process An Unkindness of Ghosts before writing my review There is a lot to unpack Let s start with how good I think this book is It has multiple layers that one can spend close to an eternity unpacking A number of themes jumped out at me while reading this novel They include, inter alia, friendship, self actualization, race, class, religion and extremely important for me, gender An Unkindness of Ghosts was one of the few books I know I wanted to re read even before finishing This is definitely the type of novel that keeps giving with each read and I can guarantee my copy will be well loved While reading, there were numerous times when I wished it were a movie It one that could easily be adapted and I need Hollywood to get off their high horses and just adapt this already This book is 100 per cent ambitious, and Solomon excels at it World building is by far the most stand out element of the book The world building shines through, so much so that one finds themselves being fully immersed in this novel quite quickly The world of Matilda is extremely well detailed and it is obvious that the author spent time crafting it The setting of the book definitely creates a level of cohesion, and it is difficult to image the story in any other setting The care and detail to world building is most noticeable in the description of the ship s wings and the decks However, while these aspects seemed well thought out without maps to guide the imagery there was a bit of a disconnect I will check with the final copy to see if this was included.The pacing was also one of the book s stand out elements There wasn t much of a lull in any of the sections The major plot developments occurred at the right times and tied in well with the rest of the story This was further enhanced by the structure of the novel While Aster is the main character each section of the book presents insight into her interactions with key supporting characters who also important parts of Aster s life This is a great tool for breaking up any monotony as the majority of the story is otherwise told from Aster s point of view The characters are all fully drawn, not one felt like a caricature or stereotype Each voice was unique and there was no confusion or overlap within these personalities The language used by the lower decks is absolutely beautiful and I could not get enough In fact, I may have taken away a tiny weeny star because of it The language variations among the decks is often references but hardly on show within the novel I would have loved to have seen the language Tolkien style extremely intense This is, however, a very personal preference and in absolutely no way detracts from the brilliance of the story In addition, this book is chock full of medical jargon, which is extremely appropriate since Aster is in our parlance, a doctor One nuance that jumped out at me was the misgendering of Flick by The Lieutenant Flick and those on their deck identify as non binaryon this further down , however, the Lieutenant constantly refers to Flick using she her pronouns The reader is not sure if this is meant to underscore the divergence between the upper and lower decks viz a callous disregard for the self of lower deckers, particularly differences related to culture and gender or if it is an error If it is the former, this attenetion to detail further highlights the layering and literary nuances that exist within this novel Gender and sexuality are constantly explored, and again extremely layered All this is done without feeling forced or like a diversity checkbox Sexuality is painted in a positive light without any slut shaming Despite these positive portrayals, I did find the reveal of one a key character to be acephobic and therefor problematic I am curious to see if this changes in the final copy In a similar vein, I do enjoy that a number of characters are neuroatypical, while I do find that their portrayal often time borders on ableist, I am able to elaborate further and would happily default to members of this community The acephobia and ableism are things that I will check against the final copy While these two concerns were jarring to read in what is otherwise a stellar book, I am hopeful that they have been revised Pending these changes, An Unkindness of Ghosts is a 4 star read In conclusion, An Unkindness of Ghosts was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and it did not disappoint This book is one for the ages and I do recommend, pending changes to the final copy Somewhat like a mashup between Battlestar Galactica, The Handmaid s Tale, and Roots The thematic premise of this story seems to be that even in the future about 300 years in a situation where humanity is traveling between stars, the current unjust class system will not only be reproduced but will be exacerbated We won t have some flatline merit based, deprivation free world Solomon has created the anti Star Trek.The storyline finds, like in Galactica, a colony ship traveling from Earth to s Somewhat like a mashup between Battlestar Galactica, The Handmaid s Tale, and Roots The thematic premise of this story seems to be that even in the future about 300 years in a situation where humanity is traveling between stars, the current unjust class system will not only be reproduced but will be exacerbated We won t have some flatline merit based, deprivation free world Solomon has created the anti Star Trek.The storyline finds, like in Galactica, a colony ship traveling from Earth to some distant unknown destination But in Solomon s version, the class system is systematized by decks Each deck carries some several thousand individuals The lower decks are people of color, and they are essentially prisoners working the crops that feed the upper decks, which are primarily Caucasian Gender isfluid and ambiguous in this world, but primarily women are at least represented in the story in these lower decks We don t meet any lower class male characters Like Handmaid s Tale, the ruling class enforces religious doctrine that must be followed, curfews and other checks Guards have free reign to abuse any lower class residents and rape women The ship has regressed to a system of slavery to benefit the upper class Most of the history of Earth has been forgotten and the ship has developed its own cultural systems.The storyline follows one female character, from the lower deck, who is apparently a medical genius of sorts and a few of her friends another lowerdeck female who is a bit insane and an upper class surgeon who recognizes her brilliance.So far, so good, the story has a valuable and meaningful premise Unfortunately, I found much of the mechanics of the storytelling to be a bit mechanical And somewhat frustrating and monotonous to read Solomon s linguistic skills, the actual writing itself, was solid enough Somewhere between the characterization decisions she made and the development of relationships and interactions between the characters, combined with some awkward storytelling choices, left me feeling a bit cold and bored with the story.For example, the main character is rather robotic in her personality She takes everything very literally One might think she was portrayed as having some profile such as Asperger Syndrome As such, her decisions were almost always very frustrating and obtuse Most of her interactions with other characters didn t develop into deeper connections And this was exacerbated by the storytelling technique where characters seemed to have fairly short and unsatisfying conversations They always seemed to be leaving each other with unfinished communications, either running away before the conversation could be completed due to anger or being cutoff by some event that occurs or one individual leaving due to some urgent demand In the end, this left me feeling disconnected from the characters And it also felt like herky jerky storytelling the key plot points that characters communicate to each other get unnecessarily distributed throughout the story making it feel much longer than it needed to be Some degree of frustration of the reader can be thematically appropriate and necessary But as a pattern over the whole book, it made it feel too long and dare I say it, boring I kept wanting to just get to the heart of the matter, and Solomon continually postponed it It didn t help matters that the main character s childhood friend has been driven rather insane, making the story s second most important character also hard to relate to or connect with The third main character is the upper class surgeon While he had an interesting backstory, he never quite jelled for me As written, he felt too mechanical.Oh, and I wish the publisher had googled An Unkindness of because this phrase is in the title of at least two other novels, making this less original than it seems *Download Book ⇧ An Unkindness of Ghosts ☞ Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak She s used to the names she only wishes there was truth to them If she were truly a monster, she d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her worldAster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land On its way, the ship s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark skinned sharecroppers like Aster Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot if she s willing to sow the seeds of civil war Maybe3.5 5 I m unsure right now.There s a lot I loved here but I personally was underwhelmed by the plot and by the novel s resolution Aster is an incredible character, as is Theo, and I loved reading about them even as I read so many horrifying passages about them struggling with being marginalized and brutalized by the people aboard their ship This has incredible scope and brilliant ideas, it s just that many of those ideas get lost along the way or fall short of the final execution Maybe3.5 5 I m unsure right now.There s a lot I loved here but I personally was underwhelmed by the plot and by the novel s resolution Aster is an incredible character, as is Theo, and I loved reading about them even as I read so many horrifying passages about them struggling with being marginalized and brutalized by the people aboard their ship This has incredible scope and brilliant ideas, it s just that many of those ideas get lost along the way or fall short of the final execution I ll need to think about it , but those are my feelings for now Devastating Beautiful A story of a generation ship travelling away from earth for centuries, with each deck containing a different strata of people and privileges The upper decks are home to the Sovereign and his brutal guards, and the various privileged The mindset here is sickeningly patriarchal, rigid, homophobic, racist, misogynistic The lower deck is inhabited by the slaves, who grow the food and keep things running, and who suffer constantly at the Sovereign s and his guards whims a Devastating Beautiful A story of a generation ship travelling away from earth for centuries, with each deck containing a different strata of people and privileges The upper decks are home to the Sovereign and his brutal guards, and the various privileged The mindset here is sickeningly patriarchal, rigid, homophobic, racist, misogynistic The lower deck is inhabited by the slaves, who grow the food and keep things running, and who suffer constantly at the Sovereign s and his guards whims assault, rape, verbal slurs, and imprisonment are common against the people here The lower decks are also peopled by a wonderfully diverse set of characters of different genders, mental states and sexual orientations This is where the main character Astra and her friends live Astra is brilliant, and her relationships with Giselle, Aint Melusine, and Theo, the ship s surgeon, are wonderful There is some humour in this story, but the situation is grim and frequently horrible and increasingly tense for the lower decks, as Astra struggles to decipher clues left by her long dead mother that might help change the lives of those Astra cares for That s the setup.The author s writing is glorious, and nuanced, from Astra s precise use of language to Giselle s impassioned and furious words, and Theo s ever so careful dance of words with Astra and with Lieutenant Rivers Solomon tells the story from Astra s perspective, but also gives us Giselle s, Theo s and Aint Melusine s perspectives, filling out some of the gaps and mysteries on board the Matilda This book is wonderful and all I can really say is read this book