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Yes, Fahrenheit 451 is a cornerstone of dystopian literature, and an effective argument against censorship... but couldn’t it be a good book, too?

The story takes place in a not-too-distantly futuristic society where entire rooms are converted into television screens, people are even more passively ambivalent to issues than they are today, and, oh yeah, the job of the “firemen” is now to start the fires, rather than stop them. Books are illegal, you see—all books—so if you’re suspected of having any of them stashed away… well, you’re going to get a visit from the firemen.

Our protagonist, Montag, is one such fireman who develops an affinity for the books he burns, and the story basically follows his struggles to make a difference in this world where no one really cares anymore.

Well, this book was certainly a disappointment. I don't know, maybe my expectations were too high going into it? But there are some pretty serious flaws with this “cornerstone of dystopian literature”:

(WARNING: BELOW THIS LINE LIE SPOILERS AND ANGER-CAPS.)


 
 
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SPOILER WARNING
This post makes reference to events throughout N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. If you haven't read it yet (and plan to), I recommend skipping this!

(For my spoiler-free review of the book, click here.)

Jemisin is clearly trying very hard to write a story with a feminist angle to it--the world is imbalanced largely due to the death of the only goddess; Nahadoth, our love interest, was a gender-fluid deity; most of the major players are female; Yeine comes from a matriarchal tribe of warrior-women—but in none of these cases does she take the story quite far enough. In falling short, she actually draws attention to these flaws, causing great irritation in those of us who care about this sort of thing.