The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book took me places I've never been before and by the time I reached the end I was slightly surprised and very happy to realize I had fallen in love with it.
The city of Palmares Três is set in hundreds of years of traditions, one of them being sacrificing their King to elect the next Queen of the city. That was until two best friends fell in love with the new Summer King, a very beautiful young man with a secret agenda of his own. Together they change things in ways I bet they didn't expect.
I love the fact that this book exists so readers like myself who have zero experience reading about bisexual characters can do so without feeling preached to or forced to accept something they are not used to. I am now more open minded than I was before I picked it up. The chemistry between Enki, Gil and June was spot on.
The blend of different cultures that make Palmares Três was a little odd to me but definitely not unsettling. And the same thing goes for their religion.
I found the world building and plot ARC a bit confusing at times but considering what the whole book was trying to achieve, it wasn't a huge deal to me. There is a lot to discuss about this utopia yet a bit dystopian society. There is a lot to discuss about these complex characters with various range of strong emotions and sometimes contradictory behaviors. There is so much to this book that I can go on for hours.
I am aware a lot of reviewers have issues with things portrayed in the book or how certain things were depicted. I made the choice to focus on what worked for me as a reader, a writer, and a woman of color.
I believe we need more books like this. Books that push limits of what the society thinks is acceptable or not without being alienating to readers.