Petition — Delilah Waan

Petition — Delilah Waan

I’m coming out of a long reading slump, and the books I’ve picked up lately are absolutely killing it. I felt like kicking ass after The Combat Codes, and Petition left me feeling like fire and flame. It’s an angry book, but not gratuitously so, and as a daughter of immigrant parents, it was so relatable it stung. It’s even called Petition, in case it needs to hammer home the idea of building a better life for your loved ones.

What intrigued me the most was the magic system. It plays with the concept of words and emotions being our own worst enemies. Throw in spears and crossbows, and you’ve got an action-packed story of resilience, determination, and overcoming personal demons in a world that is actively othering (and rejecting) you.

And yeah, spears and crossbows.

The characters are wonderful to follow. Ralehu is rightfully angry throughout the book, and because of her experiences growing up, she treats everyone with suspicion. But, and I found this really refreshing, she knows (more or less, haha) when to not antagonize thy opponent, or at least realizes she done messed up when she does. A lot of readers immediately expect fire and flame and anger and down with the system, but that’s hideously unrealistic in many circumstances, especially for many POC. Expecting Ralehu to clock the equivalent of a noblewoman in the face, in front of a bunch of guards when her family is on the brink of eviction is—while a fantasy—not the kind that belongs in this book.

For me, the book didn’t feel 400+ pages long. It flew by thanks to the author’s pacing, writing style, and character work. There is a lot going on, a lot of deep and complex ideas manifesting itself in this broken society, but the writing is sprinkled with tokens (hee, hee) of humor that make it easier to read without downplaying its severity.

The only thing I didn’t really get excited for, which is 100% personal preference, is the romance. It felt a little out of place considering the stakes, which I can’t really explain without spoiling. It’s nothing too dramatic or distracting, though, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all.

I had a wonderful time with Petition.

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