Contributors: Aneke, Marguerite Sauvage
Strap in guys, 'cos I got some stuff to say.
(Does anyone else flinch at the idea of non-lined chainmail underwear? *shudder*)
But as Sonja makes very clear - NO-ONE owns her!
Instead of a strong female leader, they have a douchebag bigoted dude. Kind of timely, don't you think?
But with Marguerite Bennett at the helm, we have a queer woman making sure Sonja is given her dues.
There are also people of colour (PoC) characters with agency, and complexity, and lives of their own.
For those who don't know, the White Saviour trope is where a white person comes along and rescues the PoC characters - the implication being that they couldn't possibly rescue themselves, and need a white person to come and do it for them (which ofc is utter sh**.)
This trope reinforces the ugly idea of white superiority, and places PoC in a position where they are never the hero, only the victim.
Here, the PoC characters are pretty much doing things for themselves, but the final save-the-day business is achieved by Sonja - the white heroine and symbol of inspiration.
It all plays out a lot more complexly than just white-girl-saves-PoCs, but... I'm not saying this necessarily goes over the line, but we can certainly see the line from here, y'know?
And even seeing the line is worrying guys. I don't want to be anywhere near that line.
Parts of the plotting in general are... confused? Maybe? It just feels a bit hectic and out-of-control in places in terms of plot.
Maybe this is a side-effect of trying to make the plot twisty and action-filled, when really, all that was needed was to follow the characters' lead.
There's a bunch of gore and violence pretty much everywhere, swearing, and some non-explicit sexual content.
Aside from that, though, this is the Sonja book her (true) fans have been waiting for - she kicks butt, looks sexy, but never betrays her character or her dignity.
Bennett's Sonja is strong. Bennett's Sonja is my Sonja, finally brought to the page.
This book is a major step-forward for the character. I just hope it can be built on and improved in the future.