Digital Reads Reviews
Book Review - Ace Of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
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Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect.
Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.
Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public.
Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.
Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces.
And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…
What it was all about
Ace of Spades was a powerful book with a message that broke my heart at the truth of it. Racism. The author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, in her afterwords, spoke about the pain she had undergone during her university days, just because she was a person of color. This led to her penning this novel.
Two black students in a sea of white in Niveus Academy were targeted one after the other, their secrets and personal lives revealed, until both joined hands to bring down Aces.
How it made me feel
The blurb caused this book to feel like a thriller, but it was not so. The aura was of bullying, the noose of threats closing around the necks of the two students rose slowly until it felt they would be forced to leave. But Chiamaka and Devon chose to fight.
The book had the right theme where everything in me wanted vengeance for them when I got to know the truth. The suspense behind who was sending the threats was diluted. Actually, this book shouldn’t have been marketed as a thriller. It was the truth of this society. It showed the mirror to the society we lived in.
The right intention
The author was powerful in her intentions, but the words chosen didn’t cause the passion to rage in my heart. I wanted a prose that would shake the roots of the societal beliefs. But it lacked the edge the story demanded. The book took me 4 days to get through. The characterization and scenes written for them could have had powerful imagery.
The last section was exciting where I too stood behind the two main characters and their choices. The epilogue felt to be rewarding, something I was content to know about.
There was a quote in the book that held my heart captive
Boys like him don’t have to carry the weight of generations and generations of hate and discrimination. But I don’t know how to even begin explaining.
To end with, the book touched my heart. It was thought provoking, an eye-opener. But it lacked as a thriller. The plot twists were nothing much to speak of. Some of the thoughts of the main characters were too repetitive.
Don’t get me wrong, the book stood strong in what it intended to say. The format and marketing could have been better.
It started here
How does one begin to deal with cumulative hate? This is a weight on my soul. On a personal note, I came to know or think of myself as Person of Color, a POC, when an author pointed it out. Till that time, I was just a human who practiced medicine. A doctor. That was my identity.
But with the label came the realization of the side glances and hints where not being an American or Britisher or Australian or Scandinavian caused publishers and blog tour organizers to not include me in their tours. It was then I realized how much racism existed in this literary world.
A UK publisher even sent me a mail saying they had checked out my blog and discovered that I did not write in English and so would not be eligible for their books. I suppose my 2k reviews are probably written in alien language, and those quotes chosen by various publishers are just a mirage. Racism exists.
The literary world became smaller
Books are supposed to open our minds, make us tolerant and accepting to the differences amongst us, give us worlds of history and past that show how humanity suffered. But unfortunately, white and white continent supremacy persists even today. Racism exits.
An Australian author called me twat. For the life of me, I didn’t know what it meant. I had to ask someone what it meant, then confront the author. This is what he said. All Indians are brainless, greedy twats and should not be given books to read. Racism exists.
How hate affected
Long, long ago when I started the blog in 2017, a bestseller author did not like my negative review – got to admit I was quite fiery in it – and her followers and friends bullied me for a year posting dirty comments first on my review then on my culture and roots until I had to shut down the comment section. It became too much work to keep taking down comments. Racism exists.
Color of the skin is just the amount of melanin in the layers of the skin tissue – yet this melanin is most present in the brain and outlook of the many people who look down on persons of color. Racism exists.
Friendship got colored-coded
When the so-called virtual friends began to look down on me when they got to know that I had more melanin than them in my skin, I knew it was ingrained in humanity. Racism exists.
Friendship existed on paper and in the feel-good words. Racism exists and wins every single day.
Hope flies high
I have met quite a few who loved me for being a good soul, didn’t care about where I came from. The soul clusters. You know who you are – my soul sisters, my soul mates, my friends both on blog and Instagram. I thank each one of you both on this blog and in my heart everyday.
Have you gone through incidents like these?
Publication Date: June 2021
I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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such a in depth and great review! Ace of spades was a great book! I am so sorry that you had a bad experience with the publishers and authors. One piece of adive that I follow everyday: Dont let the voices that are loud affect you. I know it is definitely hard when people are being racist and being mean. Good that you shared your experience and let me remind you that you are the light because of your words, personality and your hardwork. Nobody can bring that light down because of your colour. Love and Happiness to you!
Oh Rabhya, what a beautiful uplifting comment. This just showed me the purity of your soul. I was affected by a lot of this racism but post pandemic, having lost so many, these petty things don’t seem to matter. If someone treated me badly, it was on them, not on me. But after reading this book, I was lost in my thoughts the whole afternoon and realized we have all been affected by the mindset of some people. I was included in that too. You are right. we are all the light in this universe. in fact, I thought earth rotated only because of a few good people like you and me. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It means a lot to me.
Aww dear. You are definitely right. Negativity will always be there with positivity and it’s part and parcel of life. This book was very deep in those emotions. Happy Reading and you are always welcome! Thanks for sharing your experience too! It has definitely taught me to let of things and not get affect by those loud voices. ♥️☺️
So happy you rose above all the negativity. Learning so many new things in life from different people. Some days blessings come from a different direction altogether
Very true! I think negativity is one thing that becomes our enemy most of the time. But sometimes our inner self or the people around us can turn it into positivity ☺️
A compelling and thoughtful review, Shalini.It proves how books can not only be relatable, but also biographical as they touch our souls and lived experiences. It’s a sad commentary on us all that we’re judged by our appearance instead of our character, and even when supposed allies lash out, the first thing they attack is the color of our skin and our culture. I’m sorry you’ve experienced such hatred, my friend, and I admire your strength and tenacity to rise above the ugliness. Always know you are not alone, and the words people speak say more about them than you.
Thank you so much Felicia. I too was surprised when the book made me think back about my life. My outlook had always been I am a soul that’s it. Color didn’t come into it. It was a shock to know how much my color affected others.
That’s it exactly, Shalini. “…my color affected them.” Their problem, not ours.
I agree. It is wonderful that some of us can find true friends like you in this literary world. It feels like an oasis.
I had not heard of this book, but it definitely sounds like one that is important for everyone to read. I did not realize you had gone through all those things and thanks for sharing them, Shalini. I guess I am a bit naive at times and try to find the best in everyone, but I need to recognize everyone is not a good person and we need to call out the racists and bullies. 🤗📚🧡
I liked that you can see only good in others, It’s a beautiful quality. After the pandemic, I have stopped reacting to those who think I am not good enough. It is also now that I don’t approach anyone for books anymore. I keep buying/borrowing from my friends.
Go into this book with no expectations, you will enjoy it more. I thought it would be a thriller, so it didn’t work for me. As a plot theme with a powerful message, it worked.
That is a great attitude Shalini. Don’t let those comments and experiences continue to hurt you or drag you down. I think you are a wonderful person. Sometimes I think I am a bit too naive and trusting, but I would rather go through life that way than be nasty and complaining all the time.
Social eugenics was something new for me and scary too. That someone would think I was not good enough for this world.
Eugenics has been around for a long time, you would think we would learn from our past, but sometimes, I think we need a smack in the back of the head.
I keep seeing this book and it’s great you enjoyed it. I didn’t know you had bad experience from publishers as well. We don’t get much being international bloggers but it’s even more horrible to experience racism in book world where we feel we belong. Amazing review and thoughts.
As someone once told me I attract weirdos, I would have to agree. I had forgotten most incidents as I don’t like thinking about them. But the book made me look back and realize that most rejected me on NG inspire of having 2000 reviews and 90% based on my country and skin color. One even told me I should learn English before requesting for books. Nowadays I stick to KU as it feels Amazon does not discriminate based on my skin color. We are one of their biggest market too.
I am very sorry that you have had such negative experiences. I want to assure you that there are many people who are not racists, who accept people on the basis of what they say and do, not the color of their skin or the origin country of their birth. We are all God’s creation and we should reach out in love to each other. I am glad you have found a work around for getting books to read, but it is certainly something that should not have been necessary.