So I finally finished this book. The setting is great, and I like many of the characters. It's just. Micah, the protagonist, is intersex, genderfluid and bi
. Now, I actually like the way Micah is portrayed as bi. But the other two?
I didn't really notice the genderfluid part, because there was little information on how Micah sees Micah's own gender. From what's in the book, I only know that Micah didn't like the expectations put on girls, likes to dress more masculine and enjoys passing as a boy. But… okay. I guess I could live with not knowing the exact gender(s) of the protagonist.
Then, Micah is intersex. I'm not intersex and apparently Laura Lam isn't, either
. I tried to find a review by an intersex person, but I didn't find any, so idk, I thought many things might be weird and I'll just share two of my thoughts.
- I thought it was totally not okay how Micah's body was used as a plot point. Honsestly, there was foreshadowing about it more than once! Foreshadowing about a person's body just seems so wrong
. Micah being intersex was not simply relevant to the plot, at times it seemed like it was all
there was to the plot.
- The mythology and adoption storylines could be othering. Like, "Yes, there are those people, but… only with unknown origins and magic from long lost times and everyone else is ~normal~". I always think this is mediocre writing for nonbinary characters, and it might be similar for intersex. (And Micah is both.)
I'll leave these links by OOI Australia
on being an ally to intersex people, and Actually Intersex
about non-intersex people writing intersex characters.
And then there's the racism that was used to design the different parts of this world, and the elf-like super white magical people. And the cruel sex workers just appearing for one scene robbing people and threatening to kill them??!
One thing that I really liked though was the market stall that sells binders just like that, because somewhere in this world it's normal to wear for people with breasts :D
Then again, idk, maybe I'm just weak, but I think binding 24/7 would be way more painful than what the author lets Micah feel and omg I definitely couldn't do it, but Micah does acrobatics while binding with bandages and it's fine.