Reviews

The Freedom Race, by Lucinda Roy

juniperbranches's review against another edition

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4.0

“Unanswered
yearning can split you wide open, force you to spend the rest of your life
searching for foolish ways to plug up the wound."

This book is set after the second American civil war, after the slave trade has resumed in answer to a dwindling labour supply. It’s a terrifying window into what has been, what could be, and what must be prevented. Told from the point of view of a teenaged girl, Jellybean (Ji-Ji) this novel traces her delicate path from her life as a mule-seed on the planting where she was born into captivity along her desperate race for freedom. Roy weaves elements of past horrors of the slave trade with horrors that are distinctly futuristic, such as most of the eastern seaboard falling into the ocean, mutant wildlife and nuclear radiation into the fabric of Ji-Ji’s quest for freedom.

allmyfriendsareinbooks's review against another edition

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I think Nikki Giovanni’s blurb from the book sums it up best.

“Every now and then a work come along that makes you wonder whether you are reading or dreaming. And you’re not sure it matters which.”

The Freedom Race is a speculative fiction novel that takes place in a future after the second US Civil War, the Sequel. Ji-ji Lottermule is one of many on a plantation in Virginia. She is hoping to win The Freedom Race so she and those closest to her can be free—if she can make it to the City if Dreams. However, there are supernatural factors at play that may derail those plans.

TW: There are very graphic descriptions of life on the plantation, including punishments, in this book.

keishasliterarylabyrinth's review against another edition

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3.0

Let me preface my opinion by stating that this book is not a leisure book. This is a literary text meant to be analyzed by literary studies students as a case study in speculative fiction. If you read this book for any other purpose, you will be frustrated. If you enjoy challenging books, not in the vocabulary, but in the world-building, the integration of multiple genres in one text, and an alternate future of the Black experience in America, then this is the book for you.

That being said, I enjoyed this book, specifically because of the complexity of world-building and its impacts on individual characters. Sila, the main character’s mom, and Lotter deserve at least two academic articles detailing the psychological effects of slavery on female slaves, the imbalanced master/ slave dynamics, and toxic masculinity/ patriarchal leadership.

The book does seem top-heavy, incredibly complicated, and then kind of thrown together towards the end. I found out that the book is part of a trilogy. I don’t think three books is necessary, maybe a strong duology. Also, the title. Needs to change. The actual freedom race is a minor part of the book and it isn’t her only option out of slavery by the halfway point of the book.

bibliovino's review against another edition

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4.0

The first third of this book had me clutching my stomach and reading through my fingers. The dystopia Roy creates is gut-wrenching and one of the most horrifying pieces of speculative fiction I have ever encountered. Imagining a separated United States where racism and nationalism have taken root to a institutional degree was a stroke of genius that I pray is in no way prescient.

Jiji is such a strong character, her family and found family such a force, you will root for them at every turn. I wasn’t completely sold on the magical elements and felt the story’s raw beauty was undermined a bit by the fantastical possibilities, but I’m still excited to see where it goes from here.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my free copy. These opinions are my own.

abookishwitch's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional inspiring mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

sophir's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

1.0

I have literally never read a book I disliked more. so slow and the buildup is to something that does not even happen in this book. if it becomes a series I swear to god I will write the publisher and complain until they pull the idea. world building is very complicated and nuanced and this author did not do an even semi adequate job. too much is going on in a very bad way

quirkycatsfatstacks's review against another edition

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4.0

The Freedom Race is the first novel in Lucinda Roy's The Dreambird Chronicles series, and it is a series like no other. It blends science fiction fantasy with dystopian elements, and it does so flawlessly. Better yet, it has a poignant message written into the narrative, which makes it all the more powerful in my book.

The country has been torn apart by another civil war. Following the aftermath, it split into two factions. On one side, there's the Homestead Territories. This is the side that believes in the right to slavery and is the side nobody would want to see win the war.

Ji-ji was born on this side, and all she has ever wanted was a way to escape the only world she's ever known. The only way to do that is to enter – and win – the annual Freedom Race.

Wow. If you're looking for a book that hits hard and doesn't pull punches, look no further. The Freedom Race is unafraid of who and what it is – and it shows. This is a novel that merges dystopia with slavery, showcasing the brutal world that would stem from it.

To say that it was a horrifying read would be an understatement. Yet, I found myself loving Ji-ji's character. It's impossible not to root for her. She's a light that shines so bright amidst all of the horrible actions around her.

I should mention that if ever there was a book that needed trigger warnings, it would be this one. When I say that there are brutal examples of slavery – I mean it. There are also scenes depicting rape, lots of violence, and so much more. This is not a light read by any means, but as long as you know that going into it I can see readers appreciating the message.

Thanks to Tor Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Read more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks>

blives2dance's review against another edition

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3.0

*Won a free ARC through Goodreads Giveaway

I had hoped to finish this book before it's publish date but it was so very hard to read.
It took me so long to get into it and to adjust to the terms and pattern it was written in. It was a lot of slang and weird words that throws you off.
I constantly had to go back, reread and try and understand.

The beginning of the book just jumps into all of this information but it doesn't truly get explained until the middle. It reads like you should know this information but it's a new world/new book so how could you. The maps aren't much help at the beginning either and you don't really get the history in a full picture way.
There is so much going on but it's also like you're not seeing anything. Like you hear what's going on behind you but can't turn around to actually see.

I liked Jiji but I think my actual favourite was Afara. She's the most kind and loyal friend imaginable. And despite the awful way she is treated she remains that way. I just want to keep her safe...

The concept is super interesting. Which is why I forced myself to continue. I wanted to know but it was incredibly painful to get there.

I boosted the rating because it got so interesting once they left the planting. Meeting the Friends and actually figuring out what was going on all along was a relief. It actually got really good and I read the end half a lot faster than the first.

I feel like book two will be way better than the first...

emmakchapman's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0


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ripsuibunny's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0


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