2 out of 4 stars
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Mixed Blessings by J.M Muse follows three separate storylines about discrimination and race. The first one surrounds minister Kublai Khan, a religious leader whose mission is stopping white supremacy. To do so, he joins forces with the World Energy Church of Seoul. He arranges thousands of marriages between black men and Korean women and funds birth centers for them to expand the mixed-race population.
At the same time, the book introduces Kimberly Solberg, the child of a Mexican man and a Jewish woman. Her journey begins with a trip to Juarez, where she gets to meet her father’s other family. The third storyline focused on Star Matthews, a girl that’s half Japanese and half black. She enters a pageant dedicated to celebrating Japanese culture and she struggles to prove her worth as a mixed-race woman.
This book, as most do, had things I enjoyed and some I didn’t like so much. About the good things, I must say I liked how it was written. The author had a way with words that made every scene so engaging and interesting. However, it is also important to mention that I found several mistakes as I was reading. Though they didn't interrupt the flow of the book that much, they should still be corrected. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the narrative.
Another good thing this novel has is the topics it focuses on. All around the world, millions of people face discrimination due to their race. And sometimes, we tend to forget it. I love that J.M Muse used his book to voice those problems, even if it is through a piece of fiction.
Now, about the bad parts, I have mainly dos complaints. First of all, when a book has parallel storylines, as a reader, you would think the characters will cross paths at some point. In this novel, that didn’t happen. The author introduced so many characters, so many different stories that didn’t seem to matter in the end. There were a lot of chapters that didn’t play a role throughout the whole book or that were never mentioned again. I kept waiting for the stories to make sense, for the little characters that were introduced at random times to have a bigger part in the narrative. But it never happened. Some of the plotlines intertwined for a brief moment, but it wasn’t as exciting as one would have hoped.
Secondly, I don’t think the characters were developed as much as they could have been. There were so many names and background stories to remember, so there wasn't any time to understand the character’s motivations and ideas. Kublai Khan was the only one that felt less two-dimensional; the others fell flat.
This book is not recommendable for a younger audience since there is frequent use of curse words and sexual content. I should also warn that there are some triggers, like suicide, abuse, and racial slurs. With that said, people who are comfortable reading about racism and enjoy contemporary fiction will like this novel.
To sum up, I believe Mixed Blessings is a novel with so much potential. The topics are interesting, and the narrative is great. However, due to the problems I mentioned earlier, I can’t give this book a better score. To me, it deserves two out of four stars.
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