The Awakening by Yvonne Heidt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My rating (3 stars) reflects, to a degree, a personal frustration I've developed with lesfic in recent months. I would have rated the book at four stars if it didn't happen to push those 'pet peeve' buttons. So please, take my rating with a grain of salt, it probably deserves higher - and if I could click 3.5, I certainly would. The novel is well-written, delivers what it promises from the beginning, and does an excellent job of exploring the paranormal world without bogging us down in unfamiliar language or concepts.
So, to the author, please forgive my rant below. It's not about your book as such, it's more about the trend I can't seem to escape in my reading. Trends that were present in this book.
*SPOILERS AHEAD* - So what is 'the thing' in lesfic that is starting to bother me?
I've read lots of books in the last six months with two common plot points, both of which are in this book.
1. Foster carers are ineffectual and do more harm than good.
I know this can be the case. OF COURSE! Like any group of human beings, some carers are not good people. But, for once, I'd like to read a book where a foster carer is a half decent person. As a disclaimer here, I've been a foster carer for nearly 10 years. I'm just sick of seeing them vilified, being used as faceless characters that add to the overall traumatic background of a character. Most foster carers I've met (*MOST*) are doing the best they can whilst trying to raise someone else's children, children who turn up on our door steps with a lot of trauma and a variety of high needs. Most carers want to help children heal as much as might be possible given the circumstances.
There's so much rape in lesfic. Or at least, I've somehow managed to pick up one book after another where a woman is raped. It's subtle in this book, there's no graphic sexual assault, but it's clear through several references that Jordan was sexually assaulted by men, and that it's largely her mother's fault for not protecting her or putting her in a position where it was easy for unsavoury characters to access Jordan as a child.
I know these things happen. Someone very close to me is the survivor of ongoing childhood sexual assault. But I can tell you, they get sick of reading adult characters who seem to be close to broken because of those experiences and so do those close to them. That version of the story is told often enough. Can we see a character who went through those experiences, it's a shadow in their experiences, but it doesn't characterise their entire life or colour their entire personality and even make it impossible for them to life a 'functional' life? Or, perhaps a character may experience something that was challenging, difficult and extremely hard to life with, that ISN'T a rape? It feels like it's become an almost "go-to" style of plot point with how often I've seen it lately. And that trend doesn't fall to this book alone, of course not! I just didn't enjoy seeing it yet again.