3 out of 4 stars
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Mixed Blessings by J.M. Muse is a fictional story about race and racism, the themes that have been there since the very beginning of the history of United States. And, after 240 years, are still going strong. Mixed Blessings makes an attempt to open up the effects of racism in people representing different social classes. The story is built upon two main characters, the mixed-race girl Kimberly and the mighty church leader Kublai Khan. Kimberly could actually be any of us - she’s just a young woman looking for being loved as she is. Compared to her, the honorable minister Kublai Khan could as well come from outer space, as these two characters are exactly that far away from each other. Minister Khan is a mighty leader of a mighty church, and his main concern seems to be seeking more power by any means possible. While Kimberly is out searching for real love, Kublai Khan follows his megalomaniac plan, which includes no less than a thorough race revolution. The two paths cross, but where and how, that you have to read by yourself!
I really enjoyed the relatable and interesting characters created by the author, J.M. Muse. It was compelling to follow the story unfold and see how the paths of the characters from different social classes would cross. Just to mention one example, in the very beginning of the book we meet Hermando, Kimberly’s Mexican stepbrother. After him being introduced, the story jumps back to Southern California and Hermando is smoothly forgotten somewhere to the background. The way the plot is building up, it’s almost impossible to imagine how Hermando would fit into the story later. Nevertheless, numerous chapters later he pops up again, perfectly fitting into the story. There are many interesting side characters like Hermando in the story, which only adds to a very intriguing reading experience.
What I found rather disturbing, was the author’s way of mixing race issues with religion. In this story, the churches become the theatres of race revolution and every church leader is using the words of their Bibles to justify and boost their own, often opposite opinions about race issues. That being said, even though being creepy, the setup is close to genius. It is hard to imagine any other kind of a setup that would actually work better in the context.
Mixed Blessings is a good choice for every conscious reader who likes diving into people’s minds or enjoys reading good fiction built around societal themes. This book is most likely to hold the reader in its grip until the very last word of the very last page.
I give J.M. Muse’s Mixed Blessings 3 out of 4 stars. I ended up dropping one star because I can’t recommend this book to just any reader without reservation. However, this is a very well written piece with only a few typing errors. The reading experience is smooth and the author has mastered every detail of a very multidimensional story. The author’s ability to capture the full attention and stir the reader’s emotions are both features of an excellent story teller.
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