sinamile's review against another edition

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5.0

ARC Review: Received for free via Netgalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

CW: racial slurs & racism (but this book is focused on things like that, so)

I don't know how to eloquently put into words how much I adore this book. How do I go about explaining to someone how this book has changed my views even more than before and for the better.

There were things within writing and characterization of the Black body that I thought I'd taken note of, that I thought I was 'woke' to, and yet, having read this book, I realise that there are still so many things I am unaware of, traps that I, an inspiring writer, fall into.

This books has given me so much food for thought, has made me think longer and harder about characterization of Black people and how we're made to view them, how years of looking at the Black body through the eyes of White creators has warped the way we look at ourselves, the way we create ourselves.

EYE... I am honestly lost for words but lawrd is this a read that is important for all races, because its not just the White gaze that can distort our views of Black people, but other races can also fall into the trap of turning Black characters into caricatures.

Wow. What a book!

PS. The author is also a Harry/Hermione shipper

btrz7's review

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informative reflective medium-paced

3.5

frumiouslyalice's review against another edition

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4.0

I really like both the conceit of the book and the commentary that the book provides. It's a discussion that's needed by fandoms and fantasy fiction in general, and it's greatly satisfying to know that a book like this was published at all. Thomas provides a lot of personal and thoughtful insight to the place of black women in fantasy stories and fiction, and brings her shameless (a word I only use in the sense that being part of internet fandoms seems to often come with embarrassment in general society) connection to internet fan culture and allows those people to be better represented and heard. I've watched Merlin and read Harry Potter, so the discussion of Hunger Games and Vampires Diaries was new to me, and also extremely sad to watch her describe all the misery of wanting best for a PoC character that is underappreciated by fandom and then having that curtailed at every turn. A misery that I'm not unused to. Her connecting the future of these fictions to her niece and the painful cognizance a lot of creators of color have when new art is created and the influence it can potentially have was really well done, not to mention the underlying frustrations when a new work can be groundbreaking, but sidesteps its true potential.

The downside is that I wish this book was a lot longer and a bit more broad. It's fair to say that it reads like many academic books do, i.e. like a final essay in book format, which is fine, but I wish there could be a section and a large elaboration on internet fan culture, and more examples than the major four, particularly because a lot of them are mentioned (such as Abbie Mills of Sleepy Hollow) but aren't given their own sections. In a way, I somewhat wish it wasn't so specific to those characters? Or to use those characters as archetypes of how other black female characters have been channeled into those 4 paths over and over again. I was expecting a little more commentary in the Hermione chapter about racebending - but maybe I just want to shake my fist at Rowling again. I was also expecting a little more about how "darkness" is used in fantasy fiction, starting from Tolkein and used fairly consistently everywhere in fantasy, but maybe another book?

Overall, a book I appreciated reading a lot, but also wish I was reading more of. Maybe in the future! I hope to read so much more!

byronicreader's review against another edition

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4.0

Dark Fantastic is a very unique read for me. It is not easy to read a book that is as insightful as this one. But after a multiple reading attempts, I finally finished this book and my God, what an experience it is! The language is rich and I really feel like an academic after finishing this. I will update this review after doing a third reading.

dragonfliesdrawflame's review

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informative reflective fast-paced

4.0

perditorian's review

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challenging informative reflective medium-paced

3.5

debookgeek's review against another edition

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informative reflective medium-paced

4.0

This was a very interesting book. I particularly liked the chapter about The Hunger Games, as I hadn't noticed all those details. The chapter on Harry Potter was a bit disappointing, because I thought it would be similar to the previous three chapters, but it wasn't (Thomas didn't analyse the portrayal of Angelina Johnson, which she did do with Rue, Gwen, and Bonnie).

Overall, I recommend this book. It sheds a light on the portrayal of female Black characters in British and American Young Adult-stories, so if you're interested in that specific topic or just want to learn more about race in popular YA media, I would definitely check it out. That said, it is probably the best if you are already familiar with the plot of these four adaptations: The Hunger Games, Merlin. The Vampire Diaries, and Harry Potter. If you still want to see one of these films or TV-series, I recommend watching them beforehand, because this book is full of spoilers. If you don't mind being spoiled, this of course doesn't matter.

n_asyikin_'s review

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challenging informative reflective slow-paced

5.0

An informative book that introduced frameworks for critical analyses of media contents. Even for an Asian reader like myself, I felt that Thomas provided a voice for my experience, especially relating to the pervasiveness & preference of the White Western's views in media. The consequences can be seen even in the South East Asian society where I came from. There are the integration of Western's frameworks & prejudices into our norms, disseminated through the spread & popularity of Western media, i.e., cultural & mental colonization. As such, we failed to account for the source of such views & norms, hence, perpetuating injustices originated from the powerful White Global Northerners (i.e., our former & current colonizers). Unfortunately, the lack of foresight led to failure in identifying how it effects & shapes the racialized, gendered, & abled inequality within our own community.

Thomas provided a great foundation for readers like me who've sensed but was unable to put into words, what has been missing from our experience with primarily Western media consumption. Importantly, she argued for the need to be aware of the undertones that exist in such media, the sociohistorical significance of its structure & its contribution in shaping real-life.

The Dark Fantastic has been an eye-opener.

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traveling_in_books's review

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challenging informative reflective medium-paced

4.0

aperson's review against another edition

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informative reflective medium-paced

4.5