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Revealing Eden (Save the Pearls Part One) Hardcover – January 10, 2012
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The San Francisco Book Review: (5 Stars) “Victoria Foyt creates an original and thought-provoking concept of the future Earth and those who inhabit it. Once I started reading, I wasn’t able to stop, drawn into the story by the mysteries surrounding the characters.”
The Midwest Book Review: “Revealing Eden" has plenty to consider on the issues of race and romance, very much recommended reading from acclaimed writer of novel and screenplay Victoria Foyt.”
The Huffington Post: “Foyt covers interracial issues, what beauty means culturally, and environmental destruction, all while entertaining the reader with one twist after the next.”
Examiner: “2012 is shaping up to be the year of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. In Victoria Foyt’s novel, Revealing Eden, the author does well telling a story that will haunt readers, rendering them to ponder over the concept hours after they finish the novel. The plot itself is riveting, captivating readers from the first page.”
Fresh Fiction: “Revealing Eden is a captivating dystopian novel!”
Readers Favorite: “The story grabbed me and didn’t let go!”
“Wickedly clever and hard to put down! Victoria Foyt takes readers to a dark future where the tables are turned on racial struggles, and trust and love are fragile things... you won't want to miss this ride." -Jerrilyn Farmer, bestselling author.
"Revealing Eden is a heart-tugging Beauty and the Beast tale of true love and betrayal, a pulse quickening exotic fantasy adventure that takes the reader through ancient and future lands, all told in a faced-paced, thought provoking, yet elegant style..." -Richard Kletter, screenwriter of Odd Girl Out and Queen Sized.
"Foyt conjures up other worlds like J.K. Rowling does... no matter how the world changes, the difference between the sexes is eternal and the heat from solar radiation is no match for the heat between a man and a woman." -Martha Goldhirsh, author.
Review by Live to Read
Showcasing Victoria Foyt
For me, writing became a natural extension of my passion for reading, a way to join the club of authors I so deeply admired. In many ways, they saved me, offering a way to be entertained by the swirling chaos of life. By adolescence, I’d been swept away by Gone With The Wind, Great Expectations, and The Count of Monte Christo, and I dreamed of writing novels.
Like Eden, I always hoped that someone would love me for my mind, the real me, and not judge me on appearance. It was such a thrill to write her story. Feisty and brave, she also lacks confidence, which often leads her to make poor decisions in relationship with men. Sadly, not unlike me.
I want to thank all of you who have uploaded your videos to the site, and who have contacted me at VictoriaFoyt.com or http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePearls. I love hearing from you!
-Blood Magic Book
What would happen if global warming continued to the point where resistance to deadly solar radiation determined class and beauty? This is the future we encounter in Victoria Foyt's captivating new novel, (Save The Pearls Part One) Revealing Eden (Sand Dollar Press, Inc.).
In this world, the darkest skinned people (the Coals) are prized and can survive much better than the fair-skinned (Pearls). Pearls are considered undesirable and go to great lengths to be more acceptable by covering their white skin with dark make-up.
Our heroine, Eden Newman, is 17 and running out of time. She is a Pearl and if no one picks up her mating option by her 18th birthday, she will be sent outside to die. Her father is a scientist working for a wealthy, charismatic Coal named Ronson Bramford. Bramford believes that Dr. Newman has developed the technology to save mankind by producing a super-being who can withstand the deadly environment and thrive.
Eden is working in the lab when we meet her. Her mother has died and she is not very close to her father as he is consumed with his work. She desperately hopes a Coal, named Jamal, who seems to be very interested in her, will pick up her mating option before it is too late.
What happens next is page-turning suspense when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's experiment and is forced to escape with Bramford and her father to the last patch of rainforest. There, the love story between Eden and Bramford turns unexpectedly as each is surprised by the other's true character, neither living up to built-in prejudices, even about their own kind.
Eden is smart, funny, feisty and fearless. Ronson Bramford is her Rhett Butler and we watch them fight and fall in love all while they deal with "The Heat," humanity's probable demise, and the experiment that may allow humans to adapt. While reading this I felt like I was watching an Avatar type film. It's very visual and futuristic with a tender love story at its core.
Foyt covers interracial issues, what beauty means culturally, and environmental destruction, all while entertaining the reader with one twist after the next. Although the book is young adult/fantasy/sci-fi/romance, I, as an adult who mostly reads non-fiction, loved it!
Book Review: Save the Pear;s (Part One) Revealing Eden
November 11, 2011
Revealing Eden was a very interesting read. It is different than anything else I have read. I love apocalyptic stories and this novel has a great visual feel of underground tunnels and people having their entire lives influenced by computers and holographic images.
The people in this book is divided into two groups. The group that was the minority in the old world is now the ruling majority. Coals vs Pearls. At first this aspect gave me pause. Because pearls and coals are just synonyms for whites and blacks. In this story black people (Coals) rule the world and white people (Pearls) are becoming extinct because no one wants to mate with the lowest class citizens. It is a very interesting idea but to me there is so much racial prejudice today that it seemed strange to base a futuristic novel on this same premise.
However, as the story progressed and a shift occurred from the community life to the more secluded jungle life. It became possible for the different races to push boundaries and develop connections. This was my favorite part of the novel. It became less about hate and more about accepting who you are and appreciating the unexpected beauty in others.
Revealing Eden is a very unique novel and I believe that anyone who reads it would be captivated and drawn into this new world that is similar yet strangely different from ours.
I am very excited that Save the Pearls is a series and there is more to come from author Victoria Foyt. The website that accompanies the books is amazing! It is so detailed with blog/vlog entries from the main character, FAQ, group forums and more. I have never seen a book website that was so all encompassing and expansive. You have to check it out! www.savethepearls.com
I can't wait for Save the Pearls Part Two ADAPTING EDEN to come out. It also sounds great.
-New Mummy Love
There were so many great and wonderful things about this book, it's hard to find a place to start! First of all, the entire story itself was brilliantly thought out and creative. It was really interesting reading about a super high-tech setting underground, where the people dwelled. Sure, it was very farfetched, but that's what made it fun. Also, even though the setting itself wasn't realistic, the people that made up the community living there sure were. Right away, I liked Eden's character. She was independent, open-minded, brave, and rebellious. I admired how she marched to the beat of her own drum, and refused to just deal with the rules given to her. She was also flawed, which made her character seem that much more real! She whined and complained some, ached to fit in and belong among the Coals, and like any girl does, yearned to be loved by a mate.
Another unique thing about this book was how the concept of racism was turned around. It was interesting seeing how people with white skin were in the lowest class and treated like scum, while those with very dark skin were superior and ruled over everyone. Something I would have liked to know that was never mentioned in the book was how the surface of the Earth grew so overheated that it began killing off people. The Heat, which was the deadly disease that white-skinned people got, was described as like an extreme sunburn that after a few days lead to sickness and then eventually death. I would have liked to know the background behind all that.
The only thing that felt a little awkward sometimes in the story was the relationship between Eden and Bramford. Sometimes it felt forced or unnatural, and the romance wasn't completely believable. There were a lot of unexpected things that happened in the book that I never saw coming. I liked how it was unpredictable and full of action. This was a great book to the start of a new unique series.
Cover Thoughts: I really love this cover art! It captures the whole essence of the book, and I absolutely love how the girl's face is half light and half dark.
November 21, 2011
While Eden is struggling to adapt without her life-band she also struggling against her growing attraction to Bramford. All shes ever wanted was for someone to see her, the real Eden and she thinks she finally found that in him-- And I about freaked! I was way thrown off and was like seriously girl, what are you thinking?! Half man/half jaguar, really?? But by the end you could just feel the spark between them, like it was flying right off the page! I just had to give in and hope that they would find a way to be together! Crazy, right? Yup, like I said Crazy-Good!! I can't wait to see where Eden and this whole series will go from here! Definitely an engrossing read with the perfect touch of action, romance and Emily Dickerson throughout!
Any pearls living among the coals must coat themselves with a type of paint. darkening their skin and hair so as they can blend in more easily. For Eden life is hard but not as hard as most. She works with coals because of her father; a scientist searching for a solution to the problem. All Eden wants is to be like the coals, dark and beautiful. She want a mate and she needs a mate because at 18 if she doesnt have a mate she will be cut off from the supplies needed to survive. The only way to live is to find someone and reproduce, helping society survive. But finding a mate isn't as easy as one would think. Being a Pearl diminishes her odds but Eden has her sights set on one Coal in particular, one who has been keeping his eye on her as well. Secretly talking to each other Eden hopes that he will soon ask her to be his mate but sometimes those you think you can trust are actually not who they seem to be.
When Eden unwittingly reveals secret information about her fathers experiments she jeopardizes everything they've been working towards, forced into an unescapable situation and thrown into a lost society out in the wilderness Eden must find herself and learn to adapt. With Eden's father as their only hope of survival in the hot rainforest, Eden must do everything she can to save him so that he can complete his experiments. As Eden struggle with what to do without technology, and the always present worldband now out of reach she finds comfort in the company of a beast-man. A man who she believes to be her enemy but can't seem to stay away from. With her attraction to Brandford, Eden must try to understand his motives for bringing them to the forest and accept that life will never be the same.
When the secret to Brandford's actions is revealed you be shocked. As Eden and Brandford fight for their lives you feel pulled into their world. The emotions run high in this fast paced book filled with questions, action, and even a little romance. Heart-pounding and devastatingly realistic Revealing Eden will leave you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen. Amazing writing, creative and enthralling story that captivates you. Eden's character was developed beautifully, she's strong, independent but still a girl at heart just wanting someone to love her for who she is. A great story showing that you can't judge a book by its cover, and that beauty comes from within.
Fantastic read I recommend everyone to check out this book, can't wait for book 2! So glad I got the chance to read this book by an amazing author. Loved her writing style and the detail she puts into the story is fantastic. I loved how she took something so real; problems that we're struggling with today, and made a possible world from it, and the concept of rascism in reverse is a fresh take on problems that we as a society have had for generations. I really don't know what else to say but it was amazing. Five Stars.
-A Frugal Life
Eden would be the envy of many young women, feisty, smart, beautiful and blonde. Unfortunately for her, she is born into a dsytopian future where pale skin means radiation poisoning and early death. Thus racial stereotyping is thrown on it’s head. Our heroine must mate before she turns 18 or risk being abandoned by society and forced to live a short, brutal life on the outside. She longs for a Coal (black) mate so that her children will not face the same stigma of being a Pearl (white).
Eden’s mother died of The Heat when she was younger, and her father is a distracted and intelligent scientist working to improve mankinds genetic code and save the human race. When the experiment goes awry due to interference, Eden and her father find themselves in the wilderness together with the experimental subject…now half man, half beast.
Eden longs to be revealed…to find a lover who will truly see her, not the color of her skin….but she must learn to see as well as to be seen.
The author creates a fascinating and logical world and Eden is a likeable heroine who endears herself to the reader even as we groan with her mistakes and misguided anger. Eden’s mother loved the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and it is peppered liberally throughout the tale adding a depth of dimension usually not seen in such works. Eden also admires and emulates her father, the scientist, and the sprinklings of scientific facts also add to the educational value of a fun read.
Review by: Diane Pollock
- Books, College and Other Random Things
Review: Amanda's Writings
Eden Newman is a minority. She’s oppressed, abused, half starved, living day to day on government sponsored happy drugs, just trying to stay out of the way and out of sight. Her only hope for survival is to find someone willing to mate with her before her 18th birthday.
It’s hard being Eden, in this futuristic dystopian fantasy. It’s hard being white. Yes, that’s right. In this new future, white is wrong, the minority, the segment of the population least likely to survive on an over radiated planet and therefore the segment doomed to be the underclass. The darker your skin, the more power you hold in the world, as a revered Coal. The paler your skin, the more likely you are to be a never mated Pearl, cut off from government resources and left to die on your 18th birthday.
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt stretches the limits of the Sci-Fi genre, all at once trying to be dystopian fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, sultry romance and a coming of age novel. Luckily Foyt has the writing skill to make it work.
Eden comes across truly a product of her environment, scared, distrusting and desperate for love. Yet, she grows up, finds love, connects with family and skirts danger and lives for adventure once she connects with who she really is. And she does all of this growing up in a world that wants her dead.
This book was really enjoyable and sets up a good storyline and environment for future novels in the series. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Adapting Eden.
I think I loved the futuristic devices and elements almost as much as the story. The author did a fantastic job bringing in the reader and explaining things so we could easily follow along. Being able to wear headgear that takes you mentally to any place and time would be so cool. And it’s a great escape for Eden and her daily torture from the Coals.
The romance was steamy! I have to admit, it was difficult at first to see the love interest as, well, a love interest, but the attraction between them soon got me past it. It’s an original take, and really presses the boundaries. A heartfelt romance with danger, tension, and a future world to fear, this is a great read for those looking for their next Dystopia.
Review: YA Bound
Bookandauthors.net Best Book of the Year Young Adult Fantasy:
Virtual Blog Tour: http://www.savethepearls.com/news-press/virtual-blog-tour
Eden lives in a dystopian world where the darker your skin, the more desirable you are because those with dark skin can more easily stand the excessively hot environment that the earth now nurtures. Eden is a Pearl, a white person, which pretty much categorizes her as the dregs of society. Eden can only hope that a desirable Coal, a black person, will pick up her mate-option. But the story really begins when Eden and her father are swept away by Ronson Bramford, one of the most desirable and wealthiest Coals, and taken to a secluded part of the rainforest. This is after Eden compromises her father's vital experiments and Bramford is turned into something between beast and man. But Bramford's new transformation might be the key to helping society gain a semblance of what it once was, with everyone on more equal footing and with a better adaption to the environment.
To tell you the truth, I was scared out of my mind while reading this book. I always put myself in the position of the protagonist and to live in the world Eden lives would be like a death sentence without a defined date. To be so disposable and surrounded by people who hate your kind is just terrifying. But despite my fear, I devoured this book in one night. I don't often read dystopian type novels, but I have to admit this was a great introduction to the premise.
Eden was an interesting character that I couldn't help but feel sorry for. She tries to do the right thing but seems to always make things worse. Even though she has learned to be subservient and fear her superiors, she still has this inner strength that I think comes from her father's determination, her mother's love for life, and her "aunt" Emily's beautiful words. Oh, I can't forget to mention that. I think Foyt's concept of making Emily Dickinson Eden's "aunt" was wonderful. Her integration of Dickinson's poetry was quite fascinating. It brought a sense of realness to an otherwise fantastical world.
Bramford was a mystery most of the book. We can see that he views Eden not as a Pearl but as a woman, even when her childish actions say otherwise. But his past haunts him and his future is very much uncertain. He envisions a better world, just like Eden's father, but it has cost him some of his humanity. Though Foyt doesn't provide a very detailed description of what Bramford looks like after his transformation, I can't help but think of him as hot. It's the way Eden sees him that helps me visualize his undeniable masculinity and inhuman strength.
Watching Eden and Bramford fall in love was quite endearing. They couldn't be more opposite but they find something special in each other. It's as if they see the real person inside, the one each had to hide from the rest of society.
I think Foyt did a great job of writing a story that speaks to the many issues we face each day. How our culture defines what beauty is and what such beauty gets you. The issues of racism and the ever-increasing destruction of our environment and earth. The plot was intriguing, the characters were eye-catching, the action was amazing, and the concept was unique. Oh, and the mystery. Most of my question's didn't get answered till the very end, but I liked that. To keep guessing till the last turn of the page made it so much more exciting.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what I didn't like about the book. One thing that was a little annoying was that from the summary and blurbs about the book I was expecting a different story. With the emphasis of the Coal/Pearl relationship and dystopian type world, Revealing Eden didn't focus too much on this aspect. The majority of the book was set in the rainforest away from the oppressive society I assumed was going to be the focus of the book.
The other thing that bothered me, though this is probably just me, the relationship between Eden and her father was depressing and how it was "resolved" was very unsatisfactory. And I know Eden can be a pain in the butt but you can't fault her for the decisions she makes when no one would tell her the whole story or truth.
We get some kissing and a little touching. This is a young adult book all the way, though we do get a little cussing.
Though young adult is not my primary source of reading material, I have to say this book surprised me. It caught my attention from the get-go and never let up. Though the story took a turn I wasn't expecting, I still enjoyed myself till the end. I can't wait for part two. And I wanted to thank Foyt for signing my copy. Revealing Eden was the first hard-copy ARC I ever received, and your message only made it that much more special. Highly recommended for all ages. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
--Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
Set in an unique idea of the future, Revealing Eden offers a unique and unexpected vision of a post-apocalyptic world where beauty, class and genetics are intertwined in ways that turn the expected on its head. Author Victoria Foyt creates a unique and frightening world that will stay with you.
Eden Newman is quickly approaching her 18th birthday, and in her oppressive totalitarian world, every one must mate by 18, or risk being thrown out into the burning, overheated world without any resources and certain death. But Eden's white skin and light hair brand her as a Pearl, the lower class who is not resistant to the beating sun -unlike the ruling class, the dark-skinned Coals. If Eden can mate with a Coal, she just might be safe, even if she doesn't love him. It's not that easy, when Eden gets involved with her father's experiments, and it thrown into an unexpected conflict that could shape the future of humanity.
Revealing Eden has a unique and unexpected concept that drew me in from the very beginning. The characters and their conflicts perfectly complimented the concepts, especially Eden, who felt like a real teenage girl dealing with honest issues that would plague any girl in her situation -but there's this spark to Eden that makes her a fighter, and that gets readers involved in her life and her conflicts -and makes me root for her.
Despite all the awesome in this book, I had a little trouble with the setting. It just wasn't strong enough. I wasn't able to visualize most of it, and it was tough to get completely engrossed in the world. This especially became an issue when the setting drastically changed later on in the book, after Eden got out of her society's protective underground world. It was nearly impossible for me to see what was going on.
However, I still enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced, and I couldn't put it down.
This book went a totally different way than I was thinking, but wow I liked it. The synopsis is rather vague compared to the actual book. I very much enjoyed the pacing, and there was so much going on and so many questions to be answered. The whole world is very different that what I was picturing from the synopsis, but it's like nothing I've read before.
Eden...I kind of had a love hate relationship with her. Which is the main reason that I am giving this book a four. I feel like she should have stood up for herself a bit more, I feel like she is very naive. But she did grow throughout the book but I just wish she could have grown a bit more. Her father on the other hand I was not to fond of, only for the fact that for the most part of the book he didn't seem to care, but his character worked for the story so he was good and bad. Bramford is just a beast full of bottled emotions. Wow, so much going on for him, and so I don't spoil, I'm just going to say that his secret did surprise me. I was a bit confused on his appearance but for the most part the descriptions throughout the book were fine.
It was interesting to see Caucasians be the inferior race. I did feel bad for the poor albino's though. But overall I give the book a four, I really enjoyed the book aside from my love-hate relationship with Eden and occasionally her father, I thought the pacing was nice and there were enough twists and turns to keep me engaged in the book. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series. I'd like to see where Eden and Bramford's relationship goes.
2012 is certainly shaping to be the year of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. After a while, like most genres overwrought with a particular subject, it would be quite easy for most of these novels to lose their distinctiveness. This cannot be said, however, for Victoria F...
I was actually surprised by how political this books was. It's very race centred with the "coals" being the ruling race and looking down on the lowest-of-the-low "pearls". "Pearls" have a special section on public transport and they work mainly as lowly servants to the "coals", it's all like a reverse of the real racism that used to happen and, unfortunately, is still going about. In this post apocalyptic world, the sun's radiation is too high for people to go outside in the daylight hours. The lighter your skin, the more danger you're in. This means that "pearls" are low in number while "coals" are rising up. You must mate by your 18th birthday or you're cut off from all resources and "pearls" also have to cover up their white skin so they don't offend the "coals", and also so they don't get killed.
Eden has a job in a research lab purely because of her dad's genius, a pearl would never have such a high job otherwise. She unwittingly brings about the downfall of her dad's experiment and she and her father must escape along with her father's newest test subject. Eden's views change drastically while stuck in the jungle with Bramford, her former boss and father's current test subject.
I think Eden is a relatable lead, although there are times when her immaturity and misplaced anger make you shout at her. She thinks Bramford hates her and aims her anger at him, not knowing the real reason for the way Bramford acts to her. I really enjoyed Bramford as a character, yes he was egotistical but he was also very centred and down to earth at the same time.
I don't think this book is for everyone but if you like dystopian/post-apocalyptic books that are different from the others? This is the one for you.
Eden lives in the catacombs below Earth’s crust. It isn’t safe to live on the surface where the Sun’s rays kill. Eden, being a pearl (caucasian), wouldn’t last long. In the “combs”, race wars still exist. The darker your skin, the higher your social status. Eden is at the bottom of the ladder, with “Cottons”, albinos, being the only race below pearls.
Eden’s saving grace is that her father is a bio-engineer who works for one of the largest companies, run by one of the most powerful men...Ronson Bramford. It’s at Bramford’s company that Eden meets and starts a tryst with Jamal, the head of security. It’s during these clandestine meetings that Eden reveals to Jamal what her father and Bramford are working on. And what they are working on is explosive!
What I liked about this book: It was fast paced and hard to put down. I would have read it in one sitting except I really needed to get some sleep. The romance was steamy, I kept looking for opportunities for Eden and paramour to get together. I loved the setting of the rainforest and the Mayan/Aztec mythology.
What I didn’t like about the book: Eden! She was whiney and incredibly self-absorbed. There were times I wanted to ditch the book because of her. The story was predictable! It was a Globally warmed retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a healthy sermon on saving the planet. Eden spent a lot of time identifying plants and animals by it’s latin genus and species...which really felt out of place considering how shallow and self-absorbed Eden was.
I appear to be in the minority with my feelings on this book. Which is fine. I do know I won’t be exploring the rest of the books in this planned trilogy.
Eden is only a few months away from her 18th birthday, which means certain death if she isn't mated. Unless you contribute to society, it expels you from its bounds. This is the harsh reality of her overheated evironment, which after a big meltdown only allows easy survival for those with skin that's heavily pigmented (a.k.a. dark). Everyone has moved underground, and the Coals are in charge; to be a white-skinned Pearl is to be worse than garbage on the social ladder. Eden and all of the other pearls wear dark coating on their skin to protect from the dangerous rays of light and to fit in better. Eden's Mother died of the heat and she was left to take care of her oblivious, scientist Father who calls her 'Daught' rather than by her name. When Eden compromises her Father's top-secret experiments by trusting the wrong person, they must go on the run. The only one who goes with them is Ronson Bramford, their boss and a man who has been irrevocably altered by the experiments of Eden's Father. Bramford has ended up becoming more jaguar than man in appearance, with only reason allowing him to stay human. They escape into the desert and make camp within an indigenous community (they speak Spanish which is pretty awesome) who revere Bramford as a God, their awaited savior. Can Eden find a way to trust a beast like him? Will Bramford prove to be even more than a friend in the end and will they be forced to return by enemies who will not desist? It was a unique story and I did like the way the plot progressed. However, that said, I had issues with Eden who acted like an idiotic, spoiled brat for almost the entire book. It was only once she'd come to terms with herself that I could stand her at all. Bramford was extremely interesting and I loved the shocking revelations that come to light about his character and his past. I did enjoy the end of the book and will read the next one most likely. My only complaint is Eden't angsty, torturously slow character development.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
First... the blackface. Blackface is a relic of old American minstrel shows. It is considered very offensive and racially charged today.
Second, and other reviewers have mentioned this, a true inversion of today's racial hierarchies would not involve calling people with white skin 'pearls' and people with very dark and/or Black skin 'coals.' Rather than an inversion, this is really an invocation of common, everday notions of beauty, where light skin is heavily prized and often seen as the most beautiful. Pearls are more beautiful than coals. It is clearly seen from the fact that one is considered a precious jewel and the other is not.
The entire concept of this novel is unoriginal and trite. It is poorly executed with little sensitivity or understanding of how racism operates in the real world.
"Oh!" Victoria Foyt awoke with a ladylike squeak, emerging from the depths of another nightmare to find herself entangled in what she now realised to be her bedsheets, and not the heavy form of an enemy pinning her to the ground.
It had happened again.
They were becoming more frequent of late, the nightmares. Victoria didn't know why, but she did know this: they were getting out of control. They woke her frequently in the middle of the night, wild-eyed and heart pumping, unable to go back to sleep; their spectre haunted her waking hours, making the world around her seem sinister and gloomy; she was always tired. And, perhaps worst of all, she no longer felt welcome in her local grocery store, the owner of which - a kindly old black man named Jamal - was surely worried about her.
"...I just think he must be frantic - I'm one of his best customers on Ethnic Tuesdays!" she finished, having employed the narrative device known as the flashforward to transport us directly to her therapist's office.
"I see." Her therapist, a voluptuous black woman named Jamal, jotted something down on her notepad, its contents hidden from Victoria's sight. "And can you tell me what these nightmares were about?"
Victoria looked hesitant.
"Out with it," Jamal demanded. "We can't address the issue if you won't even say what it is."
"R-" Victoria cleared her throat. "Racism."
"...Racism," Jamal echoed flatly.
"Yes," Victoria agreed, before quickly adding, "That is, racism is the scary thing in my nightmares. I'm not a racist. I'm a liberal, you see. I voted for Obama, as I have mentioned in my articles on the Huffington Post. Why, even my therapist is black! And, as I have mentioned in my articles on the Huffington Post, my son is completely colourblind. Metaphorically speaking, of course."
"Actually, colourblindness isn't a sound way of promoting - " Jamal began, but Victoria only carried on.
"Racism is just awful, isn't it? I know, because as I have mentioned in my articles on the Huffington Post, once when I was a child a boy threw a slur at me comparing me to a coloured girl. It was utterly traumatic; in fact, I've never really been able to talk about it until now. You're so understanding, Jamil."
"Jamal," Jamal said. "And you really shouldn't use the word col-"
"Ever since then, I've harboured a mix of white guilt and a strange sort of resentment, though whether at The Man or at coloured folk for being able to lay claim to a special kind of persecution that I never can, I'm sure I couldn't say. I think that's why I've been having nightmares."
"I - " Jamal tried.
"Do you know, though, I feel better already for having talked about it," Victoria said. "Isn't that something? Perhaps I should keep it up. I know! I can write a book about my experiences. Highly fictionalised, of course."
"B-" said Jamal.
"Yes, that's perfect! It can be just like that 'Love Is All You Need?' film that purports to be a razor-sharp condemnation of homophobia by way of imagining a world where homosexuality is the norm and straight people are the ones that are persecuted, thereby taking an LGBTQ issue and making it all about straight people instead. Except, you know, about racism instead of homophobia. After all, these concepts are largely interchangeable when it comes to talking about the struggle for equality. I know, because I'm a liberal."
"..." said Jamal.
"This is wonderful," Victoria said. "A white woman writing a powerful screed against the struggles faced by coloured people in today's society, and definitely not appropriating their experiences at all by creating a story about racism and making it all about a poor white girl! I daresay I will look tremendously liberal. And my coloured friends, Jamal and Jamal, will love it! I'll no longer need to feel guilty for being white when they're around - why, maybe one day, as I've mentioned in my articles on the Huffington Post, I will even be able to say the n-word! You really are the best, Jindal."
"Jamal," said Jamal.
Let's look at the list of things that got to me:
1. Reverse racism. Foyt tried an experiment and, in my opinion, failed. Something that is a basic cornerstone of good writing is show, don't tell. Don't include a word and then reference it as being a "racist" term, in those exact words! There's no need to turn history around to prove a point either. White-face bands? Reverse slavery/abuse? The whole idea just rubbed me the wrong way - especially since the idea for her earth was actually a good one, and so much could have been done with it that was fresh and new.
2. Beastiality. Have we gotten to the point that we're angel/demon/vampire/werewolf/witch/mermaid/fairy -'d out? Do we really need to turn to beastial creatures to get that hot, romance-y, steam fix? I cannot tell you how much times "tail" was mentioned that seemed to get Eden all hot and bothered, and oh my goodness, it gave me the heebie-jeebies.
3. Plot. I couldn't really find one. I mean, I could find a spoiled brat of a girl, but .. was the plot her intention to actually get away? or was it that she protests too much? or was it that.. you know, I don't know. If you read this book, and like it, please tell me what the plot was? 75% in, I was talking about this book to a friend, and she asked what the plot was and it blew me away that I couldn't articulate it.
I love dystopia books, I love science fiction, I love a good story with racial tension in it, it gets my mind working (Go read Tankborn by Karen Sandler). But, other than a spark of what could have been, I just didn't find much of anything to like in this story.
Naming a race of people "Coal" is not a compliment.
Telling us that "Pearl" is a slur does not make it so.
Claiming that the world's hierarchy is dependent on skin tone does not mean that you can separate people based on race while ignoring their actual skin color.
Calling your heroine's love interest a "beast" does not imply his supposed beauty and high status.
Questioning the existence of an African-American community of readers will make me side-eye you damn hard.
We get it - You believe that special white snowflakes always deserve to be the heroine because their lives are oh so hard. Why not just come out and admit to all the racist imagery and insulting propaganda you'll publishing? This book is disgusting.
There is never a reason to make racism about white people. Repeat that as many times as you have to before it finally sinks in.