Tag Archives: #Childabuse

Bishop, Anne; Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels I) (1998)


Anne Bishop‘s Black Jewels trilogy is one of my favorites and I have read it four or more times. One of the reasons I like it so well is that  it is NOT a romance. Well. I don’t think so. Daughter of the Blood is book one of that trilogy.

In the gray world above, I hear myself howling with laughter. Far below me, in the psychic abyss that is part of the Darkness, I hear another howling, one full of joy and pain, rage and celebration.

Not just another witch coming, my foolish Sisters, but Witch.

We move between the three realms of the Blood: Kaeler, Hell and Terreille. Kaeler and Hell are considered dark realms, places where old rules of protocol still rule. They share the main site of the Queen of the Dark Realms’ seat, The Black Mountain, also called Ebon Askavi. Hell is a Realm of forever-twilight, a realm for the demon-dead who are not yet ready to go to the Darkness and their Guardians. Kaeler is for the living.

Once, the Blood had ruled honorably and well. The Blood villages within a District would look after, and treat fairly, the landen villages that were bound to them. The District Queens would serve in the Province Queen’s court. The Province Queens, in their turn, would serve the Territory Queen, who was chosen by the majority of the darker-Jeweled Blood, both male and female, because she was the strongest and the best.

Back then, there was no need for slavery to control the strong males. They followed their hearts to the queen who was right for them. They handed over their lives willingly. They served freely.

Back then, the Blood’s complicated triangle of status hadn’t leaned so heavily on social rank. Jewel rank and caste had weighed just as heavily in the balance, if not more. That meant control of their society was a fluid dance, with the lead constantly changing depending on the dancers. But in the center of that dance, always, was a Queen.

Terreille, while supposedly not a dark kingdom, has no honor any longer due to the influence the High Priestess of Hayll has had on the Realm for centuries. Rules of Protocol no longer apply and Queens do exactly what they want no matter how depraved.

Just once, I’d like to serve a Queen I could respect, someone I could truly believe in. A strong queen who wouldn’t fear my strength. A Queen I could also call a friend……………..

She was a scrawny little thing, about seven years old. Calling her plain would have been kind……………

“I-I heard you. You wanted a friend.”

Lucivar Yaslana is the first of our main characters who meets Witch, the one whose coming was prophesied. He was given to Queen Zuultah to do with as she wished as long as he was kept alive and whole. She is typical of Terreille Queens, Queens who do not show care for their subjects or for the people in their courts. It is a dangerous realm to be male or female with dark birth jewels or even to be landen (those without jewels).

He was tired and old, and the loneliness he carried inside him all his life had become too heavy to bear. He no longer wanted to be a Guardian, one of the living dead. He no longer wanted the half-life a handful of the blood had chosen in order to extend their lifetimes into years beyond imagining. He wanted peace, wanted to quietly fade back into the Darkness………..

This girl was alive! ….. She couldn’t be more than seven years old………

Then she turned and looked at him. As he watched the summer-sky blue eyes change to sapphire, the surf swept him away.

Ancient eye. Maelstrom eyes. Haunted, knowing, seeing eyes….. Witch.

Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell, the High Priest of the Hourglass is another main character. He becomes Jeanelle Angelline’s father of the heart. His highest wish is fulfilled almost 50.000 years after its foretelling. Through that meeting, Witch finds a person who promises to teach her to the best of his ability and to never lie.

Daemon let out a cry as the jar slipped from his hands and shattered on the bathroom floor. He sank to his knees, hissing as a piece of glass sliced him, and stared at the powder, tears of pain and frustration welling in his eyes. Without the powder to help heal the wounds, he might still be able to heal them to some extent, still be able to stop the bleeding … but he would scar. And he didn’t need a mirror to know what he would look like.

*No!* He wasn’t aware of sending. He was only trying to relieve the frustration.

A minute later, as he knelt on the bathroom floor, shaking, trying not to vent the sobs building in him, a hand touched his shoulder.

Daemon twisted around, his teeth bared, his eyes wild…..

The touch, when it came again, was hesitant, cautious. He shivered as it gently probed his back. Shivered because along with exhaustion and dismay, that gentle touch was filled with a cold, cold anger……….

The reason for the 50 whiplashes was that Daemon augmented Saetan’s power to save Witch. Using power for anything is forbidden without his owner’s permission. As far as he remembers, his entire life has been in the ownership of Dorothea, the High-Priestess of Hayll. Daemon is know as the Whore of Hayll and The Sadist, due to how he reacts to continuously having his body rewarded to Queens or Ladies loyal to Dorothea.

……….. Two black leather books appeared, floating before her. She took one, leafed through to the last written page, called in a pen, and made a notation.

That contract was finished. It hadn’t taken the fool as long to die as she would have liked, but the pain had been exquisite. And the money had been very, very good.

She vanished the book and opened the other one, checked the entry she needed, wrote out her menu, and with a flick of her wrist sent it to the kitchen………

Surreal’s mother was murdered when she was 12 years old. After that she survived as a street-walker. Sometimes she killed her clients. Daemon saved her from her brutal life by taking her to good Red Moon house where they could teach her how to be a better paid whore in a safer environment. Daemon taught her how to hide bodies and kill discretely. She owes him a great deal.  Surreal is the fourth main character of Daughter of the Blood.

POV in Daughter of the Blood is everyone’s but Witch’s. What we learn about Jeanelle Angelline is what they share. Anne Bishop managed to make each of the four POV different from the others. Daughter of the Blood is a dark story that does not pander to those who need people to be simple. Instead, it shows us how differently people handle horrific experiences and how fragile our hold on reality is. Some of the story bears the mark of a first novel.

I’m fairly certain this is a serial you either really like or dislike. Some call it fluff and superficial and others call it magical and amazing. It is representative of the 1990’s and early 2000’s fantasy literature, before urban fantasy and glossy vampires became the rage.

Ford, Jeffrey: The Shadow Year, 2008

The Shadow Year begins and ends with Mr. Softee, the ice-cream man. At the beginning of the story our narrator, and main character, is “listening carefully for that mournful knell, each measured ding both a promise of ice cream and a pinprick of remorse.”

Our narrator describes a family learning to cope with a new financial reality. Their father lost his old job and was now working three jobs, while their mother worked one job, to pay the bills that still kept on coming in. Even though their father is not present in much of the book, Jeffrey Ford still manages to show a man who loves his family passionately and whose family loves him back. But because of his need to work so much, we also see children who view their father as a distant figure.

Their mother is clearly depressed and self-medicates with alcohol and The Complete Sherlock Holmes. She seems to be manic depressive, and we get to watch her come down from one of her manic episodes.

In those few seconds, I saw the recent burst of energy leaking out of her. As usual, it had lasted for little more than a week or so, and she’d used it all up. Like a punctured blow-up pool toy, she seemed to slowly deflate while shadows blossomed in her gaze.

Childhood is such a passionate time. If you have ever seen a three-year old express anger, joy, sadness or love, you know what a I mean. Everything is new and everything is normal. An adult might see a child’s circumstances as horrible, but that child knows of nothing else. As they grow and learn to compare, some of their passion is sloughed off.

There are three children in our main character’s family: Jim (seventh grade), narrator (sixth grade) and Mary (fourth grade/Room X). All three seem to be pretty smart with Mary as the probable winner. Her placement in a special class is due to the inability of her teachers to get an answer from her. All three are authority adverse. There is an hilarious episode regarding Jim’s personality/IQ test. All three get this self-confidence from their mother, who allows them quite a bit of leeway when it comes to school.

I found myself loving this family. Perhaps Mary in particular (although I probably identified most with the narrator). Mary is a child who follows her own paths. Her friends, Sally O’Malley and Sandy Graham, lived in a closet in her room and sometimes they go to school with Mary in the family basement where they are taught by their teacher, Mrs. Harkmar (all three make-believe). Mary also sports an alter-ego, Mickey. Her math abilities are pretty astounding and all learned while listening to Pop working out his horse races. Those abilities are used to identify the mystery behind the disappearance of Charlie Edison.

Poor little Charlie Edison. Lost in the battleground of Elementary (Primary) school. He is first on the list of who Bobby Harweed (bully and coward) beats up. Charlie is, sadly, also on the bully-list of some of the teachers. He does his best to stay invisible. Then one day he truly becomes invisible by disappearing for good. Our three siblings begin looking and use Botch Town as their aid.

Botch Town is Jim’s creation. It is a model of their neighborhood made from little bits and pieces Jim has picked up and glued together. Mary seems to have super-natural powers in predicting where people will be and what might happen. One of those predictions is regarding their neighborhood’s recent prowler.

Then we have the ghosts.

I loved Jeffrey Ford’s writing. Definitely recommended.


Dick van Dyke (hated by Pop, loved by the narrator): Shanty Town, I’ll Be Seeing You (comedy)

Herman’s Hermits, There’s a Kind of Hush (1967) (marks a transition)


Reviews:


Translations:


Awards:


The Shadow Year available at Amazon US

McCaffrey, Anne & Ball, Margaret: Acorna: The Unicorn Girl (Acorna I) (1997)

The Acorna books are part of Anne McCaffrey‘s Federated Sentient Planets Universe stories. Acorna I and II are written in conjunction with Margaret Ball.

As you see from the art above, very few artists have tried to depict Acorna as she is described in Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball’s stories about the Unicorn girl/woman. Acorna’s characteristics are: a silvery mane and silvery curls on her calves, cloven hooves, two jointed fingers, and finally silvery eyes with pupils that can narrow. In The Unicorn Girl, Acorna is flat-chested.

I find myself unable to place any sort of age-group on this story. At times the writing has a very young feeling, possibly even entering the Children’s category. Then it changes and both writing and content is a little older. Perhaps that is due to the collaboration between the two authors. The first rescue of Acorna is one example of the very young style. As if by magic the young alien and her three benefactors get out scotfree of what ought to have been a difficult situation. In the labor camps the writing style is older and harsher. These changes confused me and led me to pay less attention to the story.

The plot itself is pretty good. There are aliens, escapes, human/alien interaction, corruption and goodies and baddies. As good and evil characters go, most of the ones in the story weren’t solidly into one or the other category. There are a couple of exceptions, but these are mainly minor characters.

Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball address an incredibly serious issue in their story – that of child slavery. Child slavery is in the real world becoming increasingly visible. At the time Acorna I was published (1997) child slavery was becoming something journalists brought into the light more often. Closing our eyes to troubles around the world is now becoming something we have to choose to do.

I liked Acorna’s adoptive fathers. There was enough silliness in them to make for humor in the story of orphan Acorna. Along with humor, there is action and conniving. I recommend Acorna I. I have to warn you that it is somewhat different to Anne McCaffrey’s other writing.


Reviews:


Acorna: The Unicorn Girl available at Scribd


Translations

Eminem: Cleanin’ Out My Closet (The Eminem Show) (2002)

Music, lyrics and passion make this Eminem song incredibly powerful. I’d say enjoy, but that wouldn’t fit the mood of Eminem’s Cleanin’ out my Closet.

In a later song Headlights (The Marshall Mathers LP 2) Eminem apologizes (kind of). Clearly Eminem’s childhood was extremely difficult. However, Eminem has gone through healing processes and sees his childhood in the same but a different light.

Eminem has the kind of music and lyrics that appeal to me. A lot of the time listening to him hurts. Even when I disagree with him I still find myself listening (yes even this 50 year old lady).

Reine, S.M.: Paradise Damned (The Descent VII) (2013)

Paradise Damned
Cover art by S.M. Reine
Model photo on cover by Marcus J. Ranum
Paradise Damned is the last novel in The Descent serial. Like all the rest, Paradise Damned is dark. We get plenty of violence. Part of that violence involves abuse of Elise in the Garden of Araboth.

SEPTEMBER 1, 5509 BCE

In the beginning, there was the earth, formless and empty. Darkness hung over the surface of the deep.

And then there was light.

It spilled over the waters, vast and powerful, and its creation severed the unity that had come before. This light was a separate entity from the darkness. Something novel and cruelly different.

The spirits called it “day.” Its opposite was called “night.” Between them was evening and morning – the First Day.

This division marked the end of peace in the universe.

Everything has been pretty much fucked up since then.”

S.M. Reine’s humour seems to fit mine just fine.

Half the fun of writing reviews is the preparatory work I do. This time I felt like checking out the ancient dates in Paradise Damned and ended up with the info at the bottom of this post.

I want to give S.M. Reine a special thanks for coming up with the old women of Oymyakon, Russia. No wonder these ladies are so tough. Oymyakon is so cold that it has the lowest recorded temperature of any permanent village (- 71.2 C). Brrr, not my kind of winter. Here, indeed, “Winter is coming”. Nothing phases these matriarchs. Give them hybrids or Malcolm, and they won’t hesitate to shoot either if they have to.

Paradise Damned is divided into four different stories that tie together. The first is from the good old ancient days, the next is from the good old days, the third is from Limbo with James and the last story occurs in Araboth 2010.

Longevity or immortality is a concept that I have found a lot of people would like to take part in. How would you stay sane? It seems to me that all the people around you would have to be immortal as well. Otherwise, you would have to watch loved ones die over and over all through “eternal life”. I see how people react to such losses already, and have to wonder how you could deal with it on such a time-scale.

Adam seems to stink at it. His one major loss gave him a liking for mayhem. Yatam and Yatai didn’t deal well with it either. In the end they got the release they sought. What about Adam? Will someone relieve him of the burden of life?

Elise is now back to her job of being a false Eve. She isn’t taking to it. Fighting against it brings grooming/training her way in the form of severe mental and physical torture. I wonder if her lifetime of abuse and pain is aiding her or hindering her in keeping hold of who she is?

Sometimes when I read stories about real life people who have gone through stuff like this (not the impossible things but the rest), I wonder how they managed to hold on to themselves through it all. I know it messed up my grandfather who was tortured during WWII. The post traumatic stress was so strong he tried to self-medicate to deal with the mental pain. The face he showed me as a child was that of a gentle and loving man who brought joy to my life. He managed to stay away from alcohol in his meeting with his grand-children.

Granted, Elise is make-believe, but not really. There are people out there who go through grooming/torture in order for another person to achieve some kind of result. Each and every one of these people will end up changed forever. While a lot of them will be able to hold on to themselves, some will not. The question in Paradise Damned is whether Elise manages to stay true to herself and her ideals in spite of what she goes through.

On a lighter tone for me (maybe not for the rest of you), Elise’s arrival at Oymyakon was amazing. I liked what she did and how she did it.

Once again S.M. Reine has done an excellent job.


Review:


  • File Size: 458 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (June 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CWG91QE

My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union
  4. Damnation Marked
  5. Dire Blood
  6. Defying Fate

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p>5509 BCE: The Byzantine calendar dates creation to 1 September of this year.

4009 BCE: ” placing the creation of Adam no later than 4009 B.C.E.”

3504 BCE: Eve’s creations, angels that are about to hatch, are killed. (Paradise Damned)

3242 BCE: Adam’s need for human replacements for Eve comes about. (Paradise Damned)

Reine, S.M.: Dire Blood (The Descent V) (2012)

Dire Blood
Cover art S.M. Reine
I’ve had some strange and terrible things happen in my life. Most people have. I grew up in a home with parents who had managed to stray from the original paths their lives might have taken. Instead they changed what they had grown up with into a new type of family life. But the consequences of the lives they had grown up with were there. And let me tell you, their growing up years were extremely difficult. But they changed the script of their lives.

Maybe this is why I prefer Elise over James. Elise continually tries to change what life throws at her into something that will keep the balance between different types of people. James, on the other hand, is driven by his ambition. Both grew up with challenges, although Elise’s seem much more extreme than James’ challenges.

When James was a kid it became apparent that his talent for magic was extreme. At nine years old he taught three girls who were older than he. He thirsted for more knowledge of magic. Conquering magic became his goal in life, no matter what he might end up sacrificing to get there. Sadly, he was good at everything he tried his hand at. I say sadly because in James’ case all of his success turned out to give him a skewed sense of morality (at least it seems that way to me). That affects his relationship with Elise and just about every other person he meets. To him demons are dirty, filthy, evil creatures who deserve only death. Humans are the important breed to him, the ones he needs to protect.

James’ coven has been under the rulership of the angel Metaraon for years and years and years.

Metatron: (Metatetron, Merraton, Metaraon) A great angel honored as the angel of presence, chief of ministering angels, chancellor of heaven, and whom maintained the world.

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p>The coven has provided Metaraon with girls who are taken to a garden to be with Adam (or Him / God). While James was young Metaraon came to the coven to take away a young girl (Ariane). Metaraon’s ultimate goal was to create “The Godslayer” (yes, you are catching on now, huh? ;= ). Ariane was matched with Isaac Kavenagh in order to create a baby. Ariane became Isaac’s apsis so the two of them would be bound to each other. When Ariane was 16 and Isaac 20 years old Elise was born. And who is Elise supposed to be????

One of Ariane’s co-students was Hannah Pritchard. Hannah later became involved with James and she and James had a son – Nathaniel. If you remember, James found out about Nathaniel in Damnation Marked. James now discovers that Hannah has kept the knowledge of their son from James because of the kind of person James is. That’s got to hurt. James is the god of rationalisation and so manages to keep on finding justification for his actions and ways. Some of the choices he makes bring him and Hannah into great danger. Danger from which Elise is going to have to save them.

As you discovered at the end of Damnation Marked, Elise survived her death. She was changed into a demon of the kind that Yatam and Yatai were. For a kopis that had to suck. All of a sudden she has become what she has fought against her whole life (ever since she was able to hold a falchion). Part of that change has brought confusing urges and a look into other people that she isn’t understanding. So, she is confused, angry and worried.

When Nathaniel turns up, what does she do? Well, in true Elise style she drops everything and goes off to help James. Anthony has stuck with her through thick and thin, but this time he says no thanks and leaves Elise and Nathaniel to the job. And what a job this is turning out to be. Throughout Dire Blood I am reminded of why I like Elise so much (and now Nathaniel as well). Sure, she is a mess, her life has turned up-side-down and she has no idea what is happening to her. So what. Life has to go on and a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. If that means saving James with his magically talented son coming along, then that is what she will do.

Action. Is there action in Dire Blood. Oh, yes. Plenty of that. I had fun with both the action and the background information on our main characters. As usual I loved S.M. Reine’s writing. She does an excellent job with this kind of fantasy.


Review:


  • File Size: 482 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (December 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ASDEHLM

Source: Angelology


My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union
  4. Damnation Marked

McManamon, Michael: Glory 1 (2013)

Glory

Glory is book one of a five book series. I see that number two is now out on the market.

We enter the world of Glory at the beginning of the Apocalypse. Let me tell you, Jackson was a surprise. He is the first person we meet who seems to be affected by what is striking people.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

By now, the words meant nothing to Jackson. He could only hear sounds coming out of the old man’s mouth. He didn’t know what they meant. The concept of language had left him moments ago.

He didn’t respond.

“Are you all right?” the man asked again. Slower this time.

Jackson continued to look at the old man, but still didn’t say anything.

He looked down at the fingers touching him. He could make out the white hair on the knuckles. Grabbed him. Squeezed him. He didn’t know why this old man was touching him, but he did know that he didn’t like it. He felt anger well up inside of him.

He looked up again at the old man. The old man was smiling his skewed smile, trying to make light of the situation and find out what was wrong. To Jackson, his face caused his anger to turn to rage.

The old man. Smiling. Looking. Staring.

Jackson roared.

Then he took his knife, grasped it tightly and stabbed it into the old man’s throat. The old man’s eyes opened wide with surprise. He tried to grab at the knife as Jackson pulled it away. Blood spurted from the wound and covered the table.

It’s bizarre. People seem to turn in the space of a few minutes. All comprehension of the meaning of words or other people’s actions seems to evaporate. Anger is the prevailing emotion they are left with. Without thought of pain, hunger or consequence they just attack. In that sense they are like zombies. Otherwise they are totally different. Alien infection or some kind of engineered disease were my first thoughts.

The prologue is tense. The whole novel is intense. McMananon writes incredibly well drawing the reader into his world and keeping us there.

What we get after the prologue is easy to imagine. A total collapse of society as we know it occurs. Those who are left “normal” discover they have to stick with each other. But sticking with some of the survivors might not be such a good option. Some of them are almost worse than the diseased in that they have “all of their faculties intact”. Good people remain good and not so good people remain pretty awful.

There is some explicit violence in Glory. Sexual violence is part of that violence. Thankfully, we also encounter samaritans. All of these actions were believable. The shock, anger, helplessness, courage, violence, friendship. All of them were perfectly believable. This is probably what would happen in this world if something like McManamon’s version of Apocalypse happened.

Would I recommend Glory to young adults. NO. Glory is just too dark. On the other hand, kids these days see a lot of violence and sex that I never did back when the dinosaurs lived. Maybe it is good for them to encounter it. I know the feelings portrayed by the sexual abuse victims were pretty much the way real life abuse victims experience them.

We were left with a cliff-hanger or maybe we were already falling off it. Shame on McMananon for sending us to the edge. Glory 1 is an excellent first novel and I very much encourage you to read it.