Serena's Reviews > Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
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it was ok
bookshelves: lgbt, young-adult, fantasy, wlw

** spoiler alert ** Let's make the title of this review "But Why Did She Not Fall In Love With The Angel? I Mean, What's The Point Otherwise?"

Spoiler: it's because even though this book spends a lot of time talking about how Angels Are People Too, it spends very little time developing its one speaking (speaking? more on that later) angel character beyond being a plot point. Or a mascot. If I wanted to be really mean: a pet.

Teacake gets a petname (literally) and doesn't speak English (understandably) but for some reason the language barrier seems to stop the author from writing her like a thinking, feeling being (ha) with thoughts and an agency. She just hangs out doing nothing but listening to the radio, is carted around by Jaya and gang, and interjects with nonsensical one-liners every once in a while.

Do you know who manages to be a distinct character with a will while only being able to speak via fragments from the radio? Goddamn Bumblebee from Transformers. FROM TRANSFORMERS.

You know if I'd picked up a hetero YA novel about angels I'd be guaranteed an angel romance. That's the entire reason I picked this up in the first place: lesbian MC+female angel=the angel romance I've been waiting for since I was a 16yo queer in denial. Okay. I get that I can't expect the author to cater to my own specific interests, but goddamn it. Talk about disappointment.

Also doesn't help that I could barely get onboard with the romance that was in the book. One day I will find a f/f couple with actual chemistry (that isn't in a Sarah Waters novel) and on that day I will weep with joy.

That's not even the only thing that bugs me (though I am very mad).

The other thing's that the worldbuilding is just window dressing! It's a prop in the story of Jaya's family issues. And that's a shame, because what worldbuilding is there is actually really interesting, and I want to know more! And I want Jaya's finding of the angel to mean something for this world, but it doesn't. It doesn't change anything.

You can't open up the "angels are falling from the sky" box and refuse to tell me what's inside. The fact that Teacake can't communicate (and once again, a language barrier is no excuse! This woman has lived abroad, surely she knows a few things about making yourself understood when you don't speak the local language!) is very convenient for the author, because it means she doesn't actually have to explain shit to us. Why are the angels falling down? Why are their wings slashed? Where do they come from? What is happening in their world that they're being executed this way? (Because let's face it, slashing someone's wings off and throwing them down to Earth reeks of execution). WHAT EPIC ANGEL POLITICS ARE HIDING BEHIND ALL THIS AND WHY AM I STUCK READING ABOUT JAYA'S FAMILY DRAMA INSTEAD.

Who is Teacake? What's her real name? Is she political, is that why she was executed? Is she a victim of the system? What's awaiting her when she goes home? Does she want to go home? Does she have mixed feelings about it, granted that HER PEOPLE ARE SEEMINGLY BEING EXECUTED EN MASSE? WHY IS SHE NOT TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN HER WORLD TO THESE PEOPLE THAT FOUND HER?????

I want to shake the book until answers fall out. But nothing is going to fall out. I doubt there is an explanation.

What I mean is that there are two different stories here, the angels falling from the sky and Jaya's family drama, and they are not connected at all except for the fact that Jaya and her family seem to be making it all about them. Which is the point, I get it, they're trying to find ulterior meaning in something that effectively works like a natural disaster (in that it has nothing to do with them, at least--once again GIVE ME THE ANGEL POLITICS). But like. That belongs in a novel that is not hiding a more epic story behind it. A novel that seems to be determined to refuse to make its main characters relevant to the wider world.

As I said earlier: Jaya's little adventure has no significance to the world. It adds nothing to it. Nothing's changed, in the end, for her having met Teacake.

And maybe that's cool for some people, but it just left me unsatisfied. I wish this novel had been more ambitious.
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Reading Progress

April 24, 2018 – Started Reading
April 24, 2018 – Shelved
May 13, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbt
May 13, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 13, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
May 13, 2018 – Shelved as: wlw
May 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

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