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Young adult and fantasy author Amelie Wen Zhao announced Wednesday her decision to delay the publication of her highly-anticipated first novel “Blood Heir” after an online barrage of social-justice voices accused her work of being racist.
“Blood Heir” is a fantasy adaptation of the story surrounding the legendary Russian Princess Anastasia, who was framed for killing her father and allegedly went into hiding. Critics accused Zhao’s book of racist undertones.
Critics - LL - McKinney - Fantasy - Author
Among the sharpest critics was L.L. McKinney, a fellow fantasy author and woman of color, who reportedly called the book “anti-black,” saying that oppression could never be colorblind. She also stated the book showed a world where “oppression is blind to skin color, and good and evil exist in shades of gray.”
Others chastised Zhao, a Chinese immigrant, for writing about, as some interpreted it, the oppression and slavery faced by African-Americans.
China - Zhoa - Statement - Publication - Upbringing
“I emigrated from China when I was 18,” Zhoa wrote in her statement to postpone publication. “Drawing on my own multicultural upbringing and the complex history of my heritage that has incidences of bias and oppression, I wrote [“Blood Heir”] from my immediate cultural perspective.”
Zhao continued, “The issues around Affinite indenturement in the story represent a specific critique of the epidemic of indentured labor and human trafficking prevalent in many industries across Asia, including in my home country.”
Zhao - GoodReads - Page - Reviews
Zhao’s GoodReads page featured negative reviews, presumably from those...
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