Bridget Flanagan's Reviews > Clementine

Clementine by Cherie Priest
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's review
Nov 13, 2012

did not like it
Read in November, 2012

I kinda wish this had been a little more complex and removed from reality. This story had none of the creepy other-worldliness of Boneshaker, and the whole plot was a basic two-path convergence chase scene where everyone just came together conveniently.
Speaking to convenience, I find that the novel conveniently dances around some serious racial stuff from the time to provide a conveniently cleaned up history where Boyd, a confederate slave owner, conveniently teams up with some black freed slaves as a protagonist.
How is it problematic to write in a racist slave owner as a protagonist? Because Belle's racism is not seen as provocative and wrong and the racist slave-owner is making all these progressive compromises and doesn't use any racial epithets-- which makes Symian look unreasonable by comparison when he doesn't want to work with her. In fact, her character never grows and disavows the confederate cause of slavery, and still gets to be a hero in the end.
Also Symian is a really messed-up name choice for a character, considering that simian means apelike and that was the predominant pseudo-scientific justification for slavery at the time.
Anyway, trite goosechase with some seriously "convenient" glossing.
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