Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die."

Okay, so this one was pretty good. I liked the idea of a futuristic Brazil, because we're always so self-centered and choose America. The giant glass pyramid of a city is a really cool concept, giving a pretty literal sense to the idea of levels of society. I liked June, didn't exactly connect with her for some reason, but was fine with reading her perspective. The characters as a whole were pretty interesting, though some of the futuristic elements and attitudes prevented me from wholly loving everything about them. I think my favorite part was the setting, the description of the civilization and all the vibrancy in it. That alone could easily carry the story, I think.That, and some interestingly out-of-the-box ideas tossed out here and there: the society is matriarchal, thus the disposability of the Summer Kings (which I unfortunately never quite get why they die) and the openness of different sexualities. I think the author had some very cool ideas and themes in mind when writing this book, even if that wasn't expanded in all areas to be completely coherent. Some areas seemed to be touched on and forgotten about, or not explored quite the right way. It's still quite a good book, though, and I'd give it maybe 3.8 stars. Go check it out at Kettleson.

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