Green: Revenge is Constant

I recently read Jay Lake’s Green, a novel about a girl, enslaved and liberated, tortured and blessed. Engrossed in the world she explores, it was most interesting to read about a young girl going through trial after trial and finding a harder, stronger place under each layer of self pulled back by whatever new cruelty she’s endured. A fascinating exploration of souls and courage, determination and character, Green is a worthy read.

Green by Jay Lake


It starts out simply: a farm girl is bought and enslaved into a kingdom for a centuries-old prince. Chalk it up to Memoirs of a Geisha in a fantasy world, she breaks out and becomes the savior of the entire kingdom. And that’s only halfway through the book. I found myself – as would anyone – wondering just what was going to happen next.


Through the many adventures we follow her on throughout the rest of the book, there is a strong tone of sexuality, of violence and lust, throughout the book. I often chuckled at the pages, wondering if all the women in this world were lesbians, and just how that would come about. Maybe it was the Avatar craze coupled with a ‘cat-like woman’ in this book, but I found myself noticing and rooting for cross-breed romances, at least in fiction, and wondered at that. Was it a purpose of Lake’s to spark the mind with humans and animal-beings romancing or was it simply writer’s curiosity?

Asking questions or wondering about those things aloud seems presumptuous to me, but I do wonder. I wonder what it might be like if we humans had other races around us. Would we adopt them as equal beings, to be wined and dined, or would it be the age-old race conflict? I guess I’d like to think that with the proliferation of science-fiction into the mainstream and stories and ideas like Avatar’s romantic storyline becoming widely accepted – at least as fiction – that just maybe it’d bleed over into reality someday. If we were ever confronted with that reality. Who knows? Maybe there’s some cat-species or monkey-breed out there on the brink of discovering safe spaceflight technologies. What would you do?

In large part, this book is about just that: the coexistence of different species, gods and spirits, humans and other humanoids. Not to mention the various magical and mystical beings. While not delving much into the social issues, they are certainly present, and more than a few times surface as Green makes her way through the hardships of freed slave life.

Green herself is an easily-lovable character. She’s full of spunk and fight, angst and attitude. She’s calculating and hard, but can be soft and gentle, sensual. But we’re always brought back to the heart of the tale: revenge. Revenge and violence permeate the book as if they were the meat and the rest side dishes. She struggles simply to survive in a world rife with fear and control, power struggles and flawed, perfectly believable creatures.

Full of insights into hard life, adolescence, the mind-games of rulers and academics and lovers alike, Green is an entertaining read for fantasy fans looking for something different.

Total: 4/5 stars

One Response to “Green: Revenge is Constant”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: