Multicultural and diverse literature has been such an amazing thing for our family. We've had to search for it, but we have found so many wonderful writers and artists from diverse backgrounds, telling stories that star all kinds of characters. Our lives are richer because of these folks' hard work and talent.
So when Diverse Book Tours was looking for hosts to promote Thelonious Legend's book Sins of the Father, I signed up immediately. Legend is the organizer of #BlackComicsChat on Twitter. I've found SO many great comics recommendations through that Twitter chat and enjoyed listening in on the discussion of all things African-American, multi-cultural, nerdy, and comics.
If y'all read my posts about Office Ninja and Ava Snow Battles Death, you know I'm a sucker for geeky, indie creative media made with love. I knew Sins of the Father would be one of those projects, just from checking out the summary:
This was going to be a special year for the Parker sisters. Eve was going to dominate in the classroom and on the basketball court. Gwen was going to make the starting five and go down in history as the greatest prankster ever. Ana was going to do as little as possible.
But without warning, all three sisters gain extraordinary abilities that defy science… powers that come with a cost. Now all they want to do is make it through the school year without drawing any undue attention, while racing to find a cure before the side effects of their new abilities kill them. Eve’s temperament, Gwen’s fondness for pranks, and Ana’s predilection for money, however, are challenges they must overcome to achieve their goals. Because if they can’t, they’re dead…
How was it? Well, I sat down intending to just start it... and stayed up late to finish the whole thing. That doesn't usually happen to me, I'm very protective of my bedtime! But by the time I was halfway through the book, I needed to know how it ended.
Four reasons why it hooked me so well:
1. Multiple female lead characters, with diversity of personality, appearance, and motivations among them. Eve, Gwen, and Ana are all distinct people - as they should be. Such a nice change of pace from books and comics with just one female character in a cast of all guys, or a couple of token female characters who are hard to tell apart from each other because no thought was put into them.
2. The sisters' real-world concerns and superpowered challenges are blended well. The book doesn't start with a typical YA setting and then turn into a nonstop action blitz. The sisters have to get through their day to day lives while coping with their transformation, after all. The issues with friends, school, and parents don't overwhelm the sci-fi conspiracy angle. Instead, they often heighten the urgency of finding a solution to the girls' dilemma.
3. They are all teenagers, but they are all fully realized characters. None of the Parker sisters are perfect, but they're not stereotypes of rebellious, tempestuous, or sulky adolescents. I worked with teenagers in some of my previous jobs, and they're a lot of fun, I really enjoy seeing them represented well.
4. Ana! The youngest Parker sister, hacker, numbers whiz, entrepreneur, super-genius! I loved her. I especially loved her reaction, after she knocks out one of the mercenaries hired to kidnap her, to how much money he has in his wallet. The way her mind works is hilarious. She's so matter of fact in her analysis. She's definitely my favorite Parker sister, and I'll read the next book just for more of her antics.
Did the book have weaknesses? Sure, just like any book. I sometimes felt like the detailed descriptions of people, outfits, and locations slowed down the action. I think Legend was doing it for a reason though: not leaving space for the reader to fill in inaccurate assumptions. He's presenting three strong female, African-American protagonists who come from an affluent family, attend a prestigious school, and have a diverse group of friends. This strongly goes against what the media often gives us, so it's important to make sure the reader has no doubts about what's going on here.
My overall take? It's a solid, fun young adult novel with superpowers, and I'll definitely be reading the next book. And I'm now waiting for my son to get old enough to read it!
So how can YOU help? That's the important part!
You can add Sins of the Father to your GoodReads "to read" list, like Thelonious Legend's author community on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.
You can also buy the book! It's available in about every format you could want. You can order it from Amazon, but heads up that the Sins of the Father Kindle edition and the paperback of Sins of the Father are listed separately. Smashwords has an ebook for the non-Kindle among us, or Barnes & Noble has the Sins of the Father paperpack and a Nook version.
Thanks to Diverse Book Tours for organizing this tour, and to author Thelonious Legend for sending over the e-copy so I could review it for this post.