Reviews: A Brothers Price

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A Brother's Price - My Opinion
I liked the book a lot. Unlike some other works in which women are in charge of much of the decision-making, this one is neutral on the topic of whether women should rule the world, depicting the fantasy world as neither better nor worse than a patriarchy with similar culture on earth. It avoids any unfortunate implications about women being "naturally peaceful" or men being "naturally violent", or vice versa.

It also doesn't put the worldbuilding before the plot. In fact, at the end, many questions with regard to the world remain open, as the protagonists - of course - never question the facts of their life.

There may be some subtle criticism of environmental pollution in there, as stillbirths and miscarriages as well as reduced male fertility are known effects of pollution, but the protagonists talk about it only once, and seem to be unaware that things could be any other way.

Jerin is a very likable protagonist, who takes an active role in achieving his goals, putting most of the token female characters in male-centered fantasy to shame.

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A Good Biddable Boy
What I really liked is that Jerin is not a 'rebellious beauty'. He accepts the realities of his society; as a man it is his duty to marry and be a good husband and father. His sisters have the right and duty to choose who he marries and financial considerations are massively important. He only hopes that his sisters will choose women he can love and worries about whether he'll be able to get the price they need. He doesn't even dream of choosing for himself or staying single. This almost certainly reflects the general attitude of girls in our world back in the days when fathers chose their husbands and dowry and jointure were big issues - a fact many historical novels reject. There is also no nonsense about women being 'naturally' more peaceful, co-operative and un-aggressive than men - far from it. Queensland is a violent place, despite the Queens' best efforts to change that. On the other hand women aren't evil either. Despite the social rules making men 'property' sisters love their brothers (including the villain) and none of the named characters even consider selling their brother into a family where he'll be unhappy. That such cases occur is reported by Ren from her legal experience but that doesn't mean they are in the majority. Like almost all traditional systems - including those in the West - the family is more important than the individual - woman or man. Eldest Whistler will not give her little brother up to anybody who would mistreat him but she won't let his heart decide the question of his marriage either. If the marriage he wants doesn't work out she will sell him for the next best offer for the sake of the whole family.
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