Okay, I must confess that it took me a ridiculous amount of time & frustration to figure out how to rate Killer of Enemies. And even now, I’m not...moreOkay, I must confess that it took me a ridiculous amount of time & frustration to figure out how to rate Killer of Enemies. And even now, I’m not quite sure if the 3-star rating is a true representation of my reading experience. I suppose the best course of action at this point is to break it all down in my review, and then let y’all reach your own conclusions. Sound like a plan? Alrighty, let’s begin.
First off, I definitely don’t think this is a bad book. There were several things about it that I enjoyed & appreciated. It’s strongest aspect by far being the main protagonist, Lozen. Let’s be honest here, YA fiction is filled with some incredibly lame-ass heroines. Not only do many of them tend to be lovesick, boy-crazy, whiny damsels in distress, but they also have the annoying tendency to be…well… stupid. Lozen most certainly breaks that mold. She’s brave, tough, knows how to kick ass, and is impressively smart & resourceful. She’s also observant, levelheaded, and completely devoted to her family. Furthermore, I found her to be very likable with a strong, distinct narrative voice.
And that actually allows me to switch gears and discuss the book’s two other most notable & commendable aspects. Number one is its inclusion & obvious admiration for Native American culture. Throughout the story, Lozen fully embraces & honors her Apache heritage. In fact, much of her resourcefulness stems from her utilization of knowledge, skills, and customs passed down to her by her ancestors. I can’t even begin to express how much I totally loved that.
The second (technically the third) noteworthy aspect of the book that I enjoyed is its emphasis on family. Too often in YA fiction, the main protagonist’s family is either completely killed off or villianized in order to angstify the melodrama and to enable the young MC to do things most teenagers would never be able to do. Worst yet, there are numerous instances when the YA heroine pretty much abandons her family (as well as her friends, interests, and aspirations) the instant some hot stranger pops into her life to profess his predestined, undying love for her. [Yes, YA fiction, I am judging you. I am judging you HARD.] Anyways, Lozen thank goodness does not join that conga line of shame. Instead, she stays true to her mission to protect her mother & siblings and to make a better life for them. Additionally, she takes great pride in her relatives (both those still living and those she’s lost), who she acknowledges as her rock & driving force. And that never changes even when a love interest is introduced into the story.
Unfortunately, now comes the bad news, and I’m really sad to say that the book’s biggest flaw is its world-building. Without question, it had some creative, original ideas but was overall underdeveloped and very muddled to the point of being confusing & distracting. Along the same line, it seemed as though the author could not make up his mind on what genre to focus on. The world, story, and characters were all a mishmash of sci-fi, magical fantasy, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, neotribalism, etc. As interesting as these bits were on their own, they failed to complement each other and come together in a cohesive way.
Moreover, all of the supporting characters (both good & evil) were rather one-dimensional, and I never felt as though I got to know, understand, or care about anyone except for Lozen. Consequently, I was never fully invested in the story. This combined with the murkiness of the world-building left me feeling disconnected and not very motivated to want to find out what happens next. Truth be told, I put this book down dozens of times and about halfway through I lost much of my excitement to finish it.
So, there ya go. Those are my thoughts on the Killer of Enemies. Take from them what you will. (less)