I'm not tying this post to the book in question, although it very much is about how a book I just quit partway through affected me, so I don't know if it necessarily counts as a review as such. We all, of course, bring our own experiences and values to any book that we read and anyone who thinks we don't is deluding themselves - it's an easy thing to think if you're part of the demographic majority, for example, especially if you're one of the SWM whom popular culture has been tailored to pleasing pretty much since popular culture began. 

 

First off, a few comments about myself to put things into context. I'm a Brit, fully aware of what things people have done in the name of my country's interests (and there's a whole separate discussion about the UK itself which we won't get into here) both across the world and closer to home. I also grew up with an Irish surname at the time that the IRA was bombing the crap out of places whenever it could, and was pretty ambivalent about my own Irish Catholic background on my father's side for a long time. At high school, the reaction to my perceived Irishness at a time when the IRA were blowing up pubs in the UK was pretty much what you might predict. 

 

I suppose I also brought all of this on myself a little by starting a book which I knew was set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, but I'd read a blurb that talked about a parallel battle between the Fey and the Fallen (basically, fallen angels) and thought it sounded interesting. In this book, our protagonist is half-Fey and goes through some horrific experiences while incarcerated for basically zero reason and I'm not trying to pretend arbitrary detention didn't happen - it did, all sorts of incredibly bad things happened and nobody gets to be absolved of that even when they did it under the label of 'peace-keeping'. 

 

Where I struggle then is about said protagonist joining a terrorist group and killing people. At various points, he kills in self-defence or in a reaction to the death of the woman he loves (which is a whole different trope in action in itself) but it all felt massively difficult to swallow. The author of said book is American and while it's clear she's done her research, I wonder whether that distance from living through the experience (across an ocean rather than in the country next door) has an effect on her seeing just how unattractive it makes her main character. This, folks, is grimdark and then some and I wasn't prepared for how it would affect me because of its setting and the actions of the main character hitting massively close to home. 

 

Anyway, I feel much better now I've put my thoughts on 'paper', so that book is off to the great charity shop bag and I hope others will find it more to their liking in due course...