Tag Archives: #Consequences

Angell, Lorena (co-authored by Joshua Angell): The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny (The Unaltered IV)

The Diamond Bearer's Destiny

As with the previous covers for The Unaltered serial (need to read them in order) I really like this cover. As the very good thief I am, I stole a compilation of the three others from Angell’s site:

The unaltered series

Once upon a time a human became Crimson. She was the first human with a jewel inserted into her heart. Then came Mathea and later on others. With the abilities brought on by being Diamond Bearers these people were able to help humanity survive and to look for unaltered people. Unaltereds are the only ones who can become a Diamond Bearer and the only way to be an unaltered is to have no special powers at all. In the world of Calli Courtnae, Chris Harding and the rest just about every person has some degree of super-natural ability.

Then along comes Freedom (Henry) and General Harding (Chris’ father). Sometimes the combination of two people can bring about amazing results. In Freedom and General Harding’s case these results were amazingly destructive for people who have more than a smidgen of power. Trouble looms.

The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny starts off with an information dump that lets Calli know why Chris acted as he did in The Diamond of Freedom. For the length of the novel the info-dump is too long. I like the manner in which it was done – by having Calli read Chris’ memories.

Calli meets Crimson for the first time when she meets up with Chris and ends up reading his memories. Crimson tries to make Calli understand just how important she views the freedom to choose. Crimson’s explanation of her world-view is not too long in and of itself. On top of the information dump it is. Once Angell spread the philosophical moments with action we once again started moving into the action/thrillerish nature of the other three Unaltered novels.

The Unaltered serial is definitely for young adults. Both violence and romance is kept extremely innocent. I think even the strictest parents would allow their children to read this kind of content.

Although Brand doesn’t get to be as fun this time around, he does get to show off a bit. For those who are interested in romance, there is even some of that. Chris and Calli are a bit mushy for me, but then they have been all along. Very few romantic descriptions avoid my mushy label.

I found the consequence for Diamond Bearers who tried to go against nature interesting. Whether Calli stuffing the diamond into Jonas’ chest qualifies as one such action is a worry for Crimson (and Calli once she gets to know how serious something like that is).

In The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny Deus Ex and General Harding’s are both obsessed with having their own diamonds. Both are driven by fear of some other person being more powerful than themselves. Aahhh, the ever-present lure of power.

——————————-


My review of:

  1. Diamond in My Pocket
  2. Diamond in My Heart
  3. The Diamond of Freedom

Canavan, Trudy: The High Lord (The Black Magician III) (2010)

The High Lord - 7 covers
Top left: French cover
Top 2 left: French cover
Top 2 right: Cover art by Matt Stawicki
Top right: Turkish cover
Bottom left: Indonesian cover
Bottom center: Cover art by Les Petersen
Bottom right: Russian cover

My son and I recently finished reading The Black Magician trilogy together. What he discovered is that sometimes favourite characters die. He felt that was kind of cruel of Canavan. It is one thing when the bad guys die, but good guys (especially ones you really like)? Oh, well. It is unlikely this is the last time he experiences this. Despite that, he really enjoyed himself during our adventure. As did I.

The High Lord answers all our questions about why Akkarin uses black magic. It also shows us that the powers that be sometimes make long-term decisions that are seemingly wise at the time but turn out to be bad for future generations. Accidental deaths can cause a lot of trouble down the road.

I’m still impressed with Sonea. I think that growing up rich and powerful blinds you to the reality that most people live under. Peggy McIntosh discusses this phenomenon in her White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack. Sonea growing up in the slums has made her aware of the harsher sides of life and made her more open to the possibility that status quo must change. Even Rothen and Dannyl, who are open-minded for wizards, fail to understand exactly how privileged they are.

My dad grew up under extremely difficult conditions. His mom was a paranoid schizophrenic and his dad disappeared after he had enjoyed German hospitality in prison camp. Torture got the better of him and alcohol was used to self-medicate. That left my dad as the responsible person at home from a very young age. His mom did her best, but, you know, being a paranoid schizophrenic without access to medication does not help in creating stability for your children. My mom’s childhood sucked as well. Her dad was an alcoholic and her mom worked her tail off to provide for them. When my mom has told me what it was like to drag a drunk dad up three stairs to get him inside the apartment – after he had pretty much spent his earnings on booze – well, I wonder how she made it????

But that childhood made them into pretty awesome people who have always been concerned with the greater good. They turned what could have made them bitter into something that helps others each and every day (even when they are now ancient =) ). Like Sonea, not all of their decisions have been wise. But like Sonea, what they have done is try to be true to the motto of “not doing unto others what you would not like to have them do unto you”.

Sonea grew up without her parents but was fortunate enough to get to live with her aunt and uncle. This is probably what saved her (and the rest of the city). Her hunger, poverty, the Purge, being bullied by the other novices and being suspected of everything “bad” by the adult wizards did not stop her from being true to her own values. Sonea’s situation is in no way unique in the world (except for the magic that is). Poverty, war, captivity, orphanhood and homelessness are all part of the lives of a huge amount of children and adults. That people are actually able to rise above their experiences and make the world a better place is amazing. Yet people do it all the time – just like my parents have. Which is why I find Sonea utterly believable. Her decisions regarding Akkarin seem inevitable and sensible considering the kind of person she is.

Sonea and The High Lord_by_ceara_finn24-d27a8o2
Picture photoshopped by Lauren Kelly Small

Tayend is my other favorite person of this story. He is our lad from Elyne. While homosexuality was not accepted in Elyne, homosexuals were not persecuted. Unlike Dannyl’s experience in Kyralia. Being a fan of the underdog, I would have thought that Dannyl would be the one to appeal the most to me. But Tayend has an innocence about himself that seems true. When that innocence is challenged, as it is in The Novice, Tayend rises to the occasion. He is loyal to Dannyl, in love with Dannyl and willing to avoid meeting with Dannyl if that is what it takes to protect him from the wrath of the magician’s guild. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.

Cery is back and this time he finds himself with a mysterious customer who seems willing to help him find whatever Sachakans arrive at Imardin. She turns out to be different from what he had originally thought, and that causes friction. But Savara still manages to be of assistance to Cery when he needs her help most. Who to trust or who not to trust when you are a Thief, that is the question.

Reading The Black Magician trilogy with my son was my third time through the series and I still had fun and learned new things about myself and the world.

In The High Lord Trudy Canavan gifted me with really fun words to read. During part of the book she had used the words Sachaka, Akkarin and Takan a lot. My mouth was having so much fun saying those sounds. Sometimes it is really awesome to be an autist (aspergian).


Reviews:


  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1841499625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499628

My review of:

  1. The Magician’s Guild
  2. The Novice

 

Broda Jr., Dale: The Old Warrior (2010)

The Old Warrior
Cover art by Christine
I really like this cover

I’ve been wondering for ages what being a soldier for years upon years would do to a person. That is a soldier who is out fighting all the time. It would have to be the close-up kind of soldier who has to make life and death decisions for another person on a regular basis. What would that do to you, and how many of your choices would you find bearing you down?

War is a terrible thing. The Old Warrior has been trained for a life of killing since childhood by people who treated him roughly. His choices have numbed him to the horrors he is part of. In the end that life is catching up with him, but then …

“The Nightmare” appears in the form of a little girl who has lost her mom and dad and wolf to the killers around her. She stands there in the middle of the noise and gore with an empty look on her face. “The Nightmare”. The one who manages to break through to the old warrior and create a chink in his suit of denial.

The Old Warrior was a sad and action-filled story. It ended differently from how I had expected and that annoyed me. But I also find it refreshing (and annoying – did I mention that) when closure is not reached. But life is like that. We cannot always know how things end.


Johnson, Jean: Hellfire (Theirs Not to Reason Why) (2013)

hellfire - larger file
Cover art by Gene Mollica
Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex
Interior text design by Laura K. Corless

I started reading Hellfire and was immediately engrossed in the world of Ia and her Damned. Annoying really when a novel is this good. I believe I actually stayed up until 3 in the morning just because I did not want to go to bed until I knew how Hellfire ended. The ending was a sort of cliff-hanger – in the sense that the story did not end with Hellfire – yet not – in the sense that Hellfire had a conclusion.

…What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone? (Jean Johnson)

Me? I don’t know if I would care enough to do anything about it. But what if the experience had been as if I, myself, had experienced the extinction of life? Sad to say, I’m not a particularly noble person. I doubt I could go to the lengths that Ia does in trying to protect the future of her galaxy. I doubt I would stay sane (well, as sane as I will ever be).

Does she see her life as the sacrifice it is? Oh, yes. What she had wanted for herself was to be a singer. Instead she became a soldier on her journey to ready the different breeds of people for the future. A future she would never experience herself. Her motivation? That was what being a pre-cognitive did. Especially being one as strong as she was.

People being the way we are, means we tend to disbelieve anything we have not experienced ourselves. Which is why Ia has let various creatures across the galaxy received snippets of her visions with information on how to avoid the potential future she wishes for them to avoid. This is where Ia’s type of pre-cognition varies from the type of clairvoyance that could be more paradoxical. Ia’s type shows a potential future based on a potential number of choices. By building on her reputation, prophecy by bloody prophecy, Ia has now arrived at Hellfire.

Upon reaching Hellfire Ia has gotten far enough on her journey that she has managed to convince the human authorities of her claims of pre-cognition. All it took was being right a certain number of times and they were more or less on her side. But three hundred years is a long time for most people to keep their minds on. It is the political games here and now that seem to matter, not what some great-, great- … grandchild of ours will be going through. Keeping the military leaders’ minds on what lays ahead is a challenge Ia has to win again and again throughout Hellfire.

With her ship, she and her crew travels around the galaxy recruiting more believers and fighting a whole bunch of battles.

For those of you who like technical details, you will get those. I haven’t a clue as to how likely any of them are, but they are nevertheless interesting.

For those of you who are fans of action and thrills, there are plenty of those as well. The above battles are only part of it. Ia gets herself and her crew out of various tight situations. While we already know that she, herself, has to survive until she has amassed a certain following, we don’t know who else gets to live along with her.

For those of you who like humour, don’t worry. We get plenty of that along with the bleaker moments. Jean Johnson has managed to lighten the story with some witty dialogue.

Finally, for those of you who like romance, there is that as well.

Add to all of this the writing of Jean Johnson and we have a novel that carries its middlehood well. I am certainly looking forward to Damnation.


Review:


  • File Size: 951 KB
  • Print Length: 479 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425256502
  • Publisher: Ace (July 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009RYS0PW

My review of:

  1. A Soldier’s Duty
  2. An Officer’s Duty

 

Reine, S.M.: Defying Fate (The Descent VI) (2013)

Defying Fate
Cover art by S.M. Reine
Chapter one of Defying Fate reveals exactly who James Faulkner is and has been since 1993. Whereas Elise became a demon, James ended up an angel instead.

There is a need in me to try to understand something about the characters I meet in various fictional and non-fictional works. In Defying Fate it is easy to understand a person like Zane St. Vil. Zane is a kopis with the Union. He is of average intelligence and pleased with the power and firepower the Union brings him. He is a coward at heart and bullyish on the outside. Zane will always do what makes him seem bigger and badder than the rest and if he meets resistance he will use the greatest force possible.

Then we have a person like James. Ultimately, I know that James will do what serves James the best. But what route is he going to take? We are talking about a highly intelligent man with a devious mind and lots of power at hand. He is perfectly willing to harm the people he loves if he thinks it will serve them in the long run, in spite of him never having had the gift of prescience. A person like that is difficult to predict.

I won’t pretend to understand James. His personality has so many twists and turns that I cannot follow along. I imagine part of that personality has come about because he has had to hide his nature from Elise and every other person he has met since his change. Part of it has been with him all along, but as we tend to be the sum of our parts, being an angel would have influence on some of what James does.

Nathaniel is the perfect son for him. This is one powerful kid. James needs a person who exceeds his own abilities so he can stop seeing himself as the epitome of witchcraft. In addition Nathaniel is a 12-year-old in the way that only peeved-off and disappointed 12-year-olds can be. He’d practically worshipped his father ever since he discovered who his father was. Then Nathaniel met the person behind the myths and found that James was not as glorious as he had been made out to be.

Nathaniel is like Elise in many ways. He is fiercely loyal to those he attaches himself to and he will do just about anything for them. In this case that means saving Elise. James says he cannot come along and Nathaniel pretty much says that James has nothing to say in the matter. In the end James brings Nathaniel along because a coming together of choices leaves Hannah dead. Poor Nathaniel.

Gary Zettel is a dedicated and driven leader of the local unit of the Union. He and Allyson are probably the two worst people the Union could have made kopis and apsis. The two of them together are a nuclear bomb waiting to explode. Their potential for destruction is enormous and, like James, they don’t care who gets hurt along the way. Well, James cares, but he still does it. Gary and Allyson on the other hand follow the teaching of “ends justifying the means”. They are also unpredictable.

With a group of people like this Defying Fate can only be one thing – full of thrills. My goodness, Reine writes action well and her descriptions of Malebolge are a delight. Dark, violent and crazy is what Defying Fate is.


Review:


  • File Size: 415 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (April 4, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C7EPL42

My review of:

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

When the benefits of the many outweigh the good of the few….

… if all it takes is a sense of justification to overthrow those once clear lines of delineation between right and wrong actions, then how much longer will it be before we lose all concept of a collective sense of right and wrong all together?

Canavan, Trudi: The Magician’s Guild (Black Magician I) (2001)

Magician's Guild - 6 different covers
Various artists for the 6 different covers:
Les Petersen: bottom centre
Steve Stone: top centre
Matt Stawicki: top right

As far as I can tell, The Magician’s Guild has been published in 3 different English dialects and 15 other languages. That is impressive.

My son and I read the UK version of the The Magician’s Guild. As the reader I worked a bit harder with The Magician’s Guild than I have on my last few audio-jobs for my son. As the readee, my son seemed pleased with my job.

Sonea is somewhere around the age of 17 when we meet her. Her mom is dead and her dad has run off. Thankfully, she had her sister’s mother (Jonea) and Jonea’s husband who stepped in to take care of Sonea. They were part of the dwell society and at the point that Sonea’s mother died they lived in the slums. In the time since they managed to make their way into the Outer Circle of Imardin. There the three lived and worked out of a one room flat. Things were looking up for them. Then life did what life does and hit them in the face.

Before the threesome had moved behind the walls of the Outer City The city of Imardin - Trudi Canavan - Magician's GuildSonea was running with one of the gangs (Harrin’s gang) and had learned to pick pockets and steal. Several of the kids in Harrin’s gang are homeless kids who look upon the gang as their home. One of Sonea’s best friends, Cery, is such a kid. His father was killed by the Thieves for breaking trust with them.

Harrin, Cery and Sonea are one half of the equation of The Magician’s Guild. They bring in people to help them, but in essence the story is about them – and especially about Sonea.

The other half, of course, is about the Magician’s Guild. They have the food, the wealth, the king’s approval and magic. Like most privileged people the magicians are comfortable with status quo and reluctant to share their goods with “less worthy people”.

Compared with the rest of the world I am probably somewhere in the top 20% when it comes to privileges (in spite of being a woman). Being a woman lowers me somewhat but this is what I have going for me: I am of Norse blood living in Norway. I have a college degree and am married to a man who has a university degree. He is well-paid. I am not – due to health issues. We live in a country that assures that all of its citizens have free health-care, free education and are assisted if they should fall on hard times. Our home isn’t stylish or up-to-date but it is largish and warm during the winter. We always have plenty to eat. In other words, we have lucked out in the lottery of life.

What this means for me, is that I have to make some kind of effort to keep the other 80% in mind. Then I have to make even more of an effort to try to be of constructive assistance. It would be much more comfortable to pretend that the other 80% did not exist and that I had no responsiblity for the lives of other people on this planet of ours. But I know life is all about luck, nothing more. So I don’t have a choice.

The Magicians are at the point where they are going to be made aware of the dwells as something more than cockroaches to be stepped on once a  year during the Purge. Sonea is the tool to make it so. Discovering that there is one among the dwells whose powers are so strong that these powers have manifested all by themselves is going to change the opinion of some of the Magicians, frighten others and cement the prejudices of the rest.

Good luck, Sonea! You are going to need both it and loads of hard work to even begin to make an imprint in the sceptical attitudes of most of the magicians of the Guild.


Reviews:



Phantastik Award

Winner: Gilde der schwarzen Magier 1: Die Rebellin
Bester internationaler Roman 2007