I really enjoyed this book. Spencer had a much more breezy voice than I expected from someone so critically acclaimed. It was easier jump into and reaI really enjoyed this book. Spencer had a much more breezy voice than I expected from someone so critically acclaimed. It was easier jump into and read A Brother's Price than I thought it would be.
The story was fun. I liked the action scenes. The world-building was spot on. Perhaps the setting wasn’t hugely original (kind of alternate Old West) but I was absolutely riveted by the shifted social structure.
Would this have been a good book if the genders were reversed? No. It would have been one step removed from an early regency romance, only with less romance. But that’s not the point.
I've been know to waffle on about how much I dislike books that are nothing but allegory and a pointed prose, so I don’t quite understand why I forgave Brother’s Price so much. I guess I simply enjoyed reading it. I was fascinated by how Spencer approached her culture concepts. I loved her cheeky jabs on our own social structures and morays.
Did I think the love interests were well developed? Not at all. But this could be a factor of the main character’s youth. Or perhaps the casual way he falls in love is itself a comment on having to marry so many. Is Spencer shifting the very concept of romance given a sister-wife situation?
One of my favorite lines was this:
“The very nature of intercourse—an act to produce a pregnancy—and the risks to the woman’s health as such, I think will always make the choice of yes or no the woman’s.”
Spoken by an older woman to a younger man in a condescending, yet loving manner. It’s so perfectly pin pointed to eviscerate social darwinism, and eugenics, and claims of biological determinism that have been used throughout history to argue that biological differences mandate the social superiority of males.
These parts of the book made me happy in a “heh-heh, I see what you’re doing there, we are in on a mutual joke at the expense of the dominant paradigm” kind of way.
I think some would argue that Spencer is a little heavy handed with this kind of commentary. That she hits you over the head with it. But as the world is showing us (daily) how oblivious people continue to be, I forgive her this. We clearly need to be hit over the head. Conclusions?
Was this a good book? Yes it was.
Did I enjoy reading it? Yes I did.
Will I reach for it in times of need for comfort? Probably not.
Should you read it? Yes.
More importantly, this is the kind of book that should be taught in schools. Because it manages to make its point with ease and still be fun to read. Because it would spark very interesting discussions. Because it is not work to read, but it is still rewarding. Because it is holding up a mirror and showing us all our own ugliness, but isn’t cruel about it, just makes the point that we might want to keep struggling to improve. That we might want to consider our own nature as people in a collected group, our definitions of what it means to be wife or husband, sister or brother in our own society, and how that balances against our understanding of human decency....more