My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book took me a long time to finish and honestly, I was pretty torn on whether or not to rate it as highly as I did, but honestly, I really did enjoy this book.
On a planet called Gabriel, there exists two sets of people; those who live in Pleides, governed by the Abuelos, whose religious regime has determined that any who are born with noticeable differences (like MC Leica with her 12 fingers) are considered Corruptions, punished by God for whatever sins their ancestors had committed.
The other set live under a glass dome, the elite Curadores and their concubines, called kisaengs.
When Leica is banished to the desert for committing a “crime” that goes agains the laws of the Abuelos, she eventually joins a crew of other exiles and manages to survive in the otherwise very empty desert. But after Leica’s crew comes across a wrecked shuttle with what appears to be a beacon from Earth (who had long since abandoned Gabriel), they also end up coming in contact with the virus known as Red Death and end up dying one by one, Leica being the sole survivor. It’s after this that Leica meets the Curadore Edison, and he offers to bring her in to the dome, but the catch is that she’d have to go in as his kisaeng.
Leica does go, but this only happens after a group of rebel revolutionaries see this as a chance to find out more about the way the Curadores operate the dome, and to learn more in regards to Gabriel’s caste system.
Though Leica’s time in the dome starts off in a flurry of beauty and delicious foods, she soon realizes that things aren’t quite what they seem, and finds herself immersed in a mystery that can reveal the truth about Red Death and the reason Gabriel was cut off from Earth.
I loved the infusion of Latin and Korean culture in this book! It was so refreshing to read a book that wasn’t centered on the typical “All-American” looking characters that tend to dominate YA fare. These characters ranged in their descriptions and I enjoyed that. (Though I am by no means saying that I’m going to stop reading such books, because I still enjoy them.)
I also loved the easy the author stressed the need for the kisaengs to learn self-defense. Though the kisaengs’ main purpose in the dome is to entertain/keep the Curadores happy, they still would want the chance to defend themselves in any types of problematic situations and I appreciated that. I love reading about characters who want to be stronger, and actually work on achieving it. Reading about the kisaengs was definitely some of the more interesting parts of Lotus and Thorn.
I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention this, but I really liked the fact that Leica was a “flawed” person with her 12 fingers. It’s definitely more unique when it comes to the different “quirks” that make an MC so
compared to all the others who inhabit their planet.
So, in conclusion, I really liked this book, but had to dock a star in my rating because my mind did wander at time and sometimes I’d have a hard time getting back to reading this when I’d pause for a bit. But otherwise, as I’d said in the beginning, I really enjoyed reading Lotus and Thorn and would be glad to recommend this.