Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to love this book. I do love parts of it (IAN, mostly). I just feel like it doesn't love me back.
I'm conflicted. The story is 5 stars, no question. It's unique and twisty and exciting and clones and murder and spaaaaaace!
But the dialogue feels stilted and the book could stand another round of editing.
And then there's the way the story treats disability.
On the one hand, I love that Joanna felt "wrong" when she changed her cloned body to fix the genetic disorder that caused her to be born without legs, and chose to be disabled in all subsequent lifes. On the other hand, it felt awkward to me how she was described. "Joanna turned her wheelchair." No. Joanna did not turn her wheelchair any more than Wolfgang turned his legs. Joanna's wheelchair is part of her. Joanna turned.
In a way, I'm kind of glad they found her prosthetic legs as soon as they did so her disability effectively disappeared and didn't have to be commented on (except one time when she took her legs off and another character had to comment on how small she looked? What the hell was that about?).
But that wasn't the worst of it. For a book that tackles such big questions as what it means to be human and whether clones have souls, it skipped right over a character cloning her husband and curing his MS against his consent, only ever talked about disability as something that can be cured through hacking of DNA (once going horribly wrong and resulting in the death of a baby), and I won't spoil anything but CAN'T PEOPLE HAVE MORE THAN ONE PERSONALITY WITHOUT SOME OF THEM BEING SADISTIC MURDERERS!?
(It's also the teensiest bit hinky that there's only a few queer people and one of them was a bad guy and the other were bad guys pretending to be gay.)
Like I said, I wanted to love this book, but it's hard when it feels like people like me could be erased on every page.
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