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  • interesting world and magic system

    The Cerulean has an interesting world-building style that makes it sort of fantasy, sort of mid-20th century, and sort of space sci-fi. While the story begins in the City Above the Sky, which can best be described as a parthenogenic lesbian alien city moving from planet to planet, we go down to one of the two continents of the planet it is hovering over - Kaolin. When curious, misfit Sera is chosen as the sacrifice for the Cerulean to break the tether (which is like a link to the planet below, exchanging resources like a vein), she does so with the greater good in mind. However, she survives the fall, and is instead captured by two of the other main characters, a set of twins - Agnes and Leo, who are the biracial children of one of Kaolin's theater owners, Xavier, who wants to use Sera for his traveling circus show. Meanwhile, Leela, Sera's best friend back on the City, is learning a bit more about her culture and the secrets behind the Cerulean's life. One thing I liked a lot about the book was how it was a bit unexpected, and also that it discards some tropes. Another fact is the sexual diversity - while Sera discovers she is heterosexual (through a handsome actor, not Leo), Agnes is a lesbian and Leela is, well, sapphic in a sapphic utopia. The story is also unpredictable, especially in the second half, making it for an exciting read. I must say, though, that getting there is slow - the start and much of the first half takes some time to actually get into a good pace, and takes some effort to wade through; there was too much about the description of the City Above the Sky, when all that information about it could have been seen later on through Leela's POV. Agnes' perspective, meanwhile, is 'independent girl stuck in a stuffy misogynistic society' and she seeks to go to her mother's homeland to pursue the sciences. Leo's development is to get out from the shadow of his father and stop seeking that jerk's approval, and also to stop being such a frat bro. There is practically no romance in the book (but Leo and Agnes have their crushes) which was a win for this book as there were other more important things. For a lot of the second half, the plot is about getting Sera out from Xavier's clutches, so the story also feels like a part, not a whole. It is obviously set up to be a duology, so the ending seems more like an intermission. There were some parts that I felt like it took too long for the characters to realize - like how the magic of the Pelagan creatures obviously came from the City, or the link between the sleeping sickness and population control. We still haven't seen the Pelagan part of the continent, which is going to be the next book, but as far as we see from this book, it seems to be a more liberal land. Which brings me to the thing that poked at me - the way the cultures of the two continents were constructed seems pretty racist. Kaolin, the island that has POC (brown-skinned people) is more antiquated in their customs, and are restrictive and misogynistic, with homophobia and a monotheistic belief system, while Pelaga (or whatever their name is) has a culture of white people, more open values (and gay islands) and their magic comes from silver people in the sky (angel much?) and are considered heretic by Kaolin standards. The religions may be swapped, but it is clearly a reflection of colonial differences, and I can't believe that a book that with attention to sexual diversity has such a glaring oversight when it came to the racial optics of this book. (I also can't believe that the imprint that gave us The Continent debacle didn't learn much from that event) Overall, an interesting world and magic system, with some compelling character narratives, but it is marred by the handling of cultures.

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  • Awsome

    Wow! what a suspensfull book! it made me feel mad, sad,and moast of all happy. I do hope there wilbe a second book.

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