The Man in Black – The Woman in White shows us what the earth could be like in almost 200 years if we keep on letting it go to pieces and allow money to rule the world.
Stross presents us with a world without hope, a dark story of loss, poverty, inequality and disinformation. The town of Present, Nebraska thinks the world works in one way, and it seems they have been intentionally kept in that belief. Maintaining this status quo is the will of the people who hold power to change the lives of the citizens of Present for the better.
One of the tools the powers that be uses to keep the people of Present in Present is lack of education and information. Another tool seems to be to allow companies to move in and “encourage” farmers to sell their land and water-rights.
Stross encourages me to question my own beliefs of right and wrong. Exactly who is the culprit and why do I consider that person to be a culprit?
Poor young Kyle, living in circumstances that quite a few young people live in today. Desertification, water shortage and hunger are all parts of the lives of young and old in certain places of the world. There, too, tools such as the ones used against Present, Nebraska are utilised. The Man in Black – The Woman in White speaks of a world that already exists for many and will probably exist for many more in the years to come.
Stross doesn’t give us a solution or an answer to the problem. I appreciate that. Having an open ending allows me as a reader to look around and see if an answer exists at all.
The Catholic church is a fascinating church. Within its realm we find people praying to both official and not quite so official saints to get these saints to function as mediators between themselves and God. Santa Muerte (the Skeleton Saint) is one such unofficial saint (a folk saint) – one that people pray to in spite of the priest’s condemnation of her.
For some strange reason the followers of The Godmother are persecuted in both Mexico and parts of the US. Human nature being what it is this has only led to an increase in the Saint Death‘s popularity – in some places eclipsed only by Virgin Mary worshipping. Santa Muerte is The Personification of Death itself and is considered very powerful. People pray to her on issues of health, money, love and so on.
In Shapeshiftedthe Lady of the Shadows seems to have disappeared. When Edie seeks help for her mother, the condition for getting help from the Shadows (from the sub-basement of County Hospital) is that she find Santa Muerte for them and inform them of the Skinny Lady‘s location.
Edie has no clue as to who/what the Holy Girl is. So she does what most of us do – goes on the internet. While looking for the Pretty Girl Edie finds a job in a poorer and criminally challenged part of town. The reason she applied for the job is because of a picture on the net of a huge mural of the Black Lady on the wall of the clinic. Unfortunately for Edie her lack of Spanish is a huge minus but due to how she deals with a crisis she gets hired.
Without knowing it, Edie is firmly back in the midst of the supernatural world and is once again going to have to fight for the lives of her friends and herself. Even though Edie felt she was getting a grip on what the supernatural world entailed, she finds her beliefs and values challenged. Not only must she find Santa Muerte, but Edie must also discover how much she believes in freedom of choice.
When Jane Lindskold got Julie Bell to do the covers for the Firekeeper saga she made the best choice possible. Julie Bell’s wolves and people are incredible (see link above). If you have the chance, you should check out her artwork.
Once again my son and I read about Firekeeper together and once again we were richer for it. I believe this is the only advantage to having a child with a serious case of dyslexia. In spite of his age we get to sit side by side enjoying a story that takes us a to place out of time and away from our world. Both of us have Firekeeper and Blind Seer as our favorite characters. Part of that is due to the kind of fatalism on their part that comes from having to fight for survival since childhood. I believe it also comes from the love that Firekeeper and Blind Seer have for each other.
Another thing that makes the pair my favorite is that they follow their hearts no matter where that might take them. If they feel something is the right thing to do, then they will do it. As they become acquainted with the Meddler they find themselves struggling to discern between what is the influence of the Meddler and what they truly feel is right.
I guess I kind of understand the Meddler’s motives. He is a self-righteous git who takes no responsibility for the consequences of his actions but is convinced that his intentions were all that mattered. The Meddler himself considers Firekeeper a natural born meddler, but the main difference between him and Firekeeper is Firekeeper’s willingness to bear the responsibility for the consequences of whatever actions she might have taken (without putting on a self-righteous mien).
Poor Derian. He is back in Liglim as an ambassador’s assistant and still heart-sore from his short but intense relationship with Rahniseeta in Wolf Captured. My heart warms at the strength of his character. He has had Firekeeper’s back many times during the past five years and will need to rise to the occasion once again. Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer are naturals for the quest that is inspired by the Meddler. Along come Truth, the jaguar, and Harjeedian.
Harjeedian is the guy that kidnapped Derian, Firekeeper and Blind Seer in Wolf Captured. He is the human diplomat for the Liglim on the journey. Truth is a divining jaguar who has gone in an out of insanity. In spite of having a shaky hold on reality Truth needs to come along. So does Plik, Bitter, Lovable and Eshinarvash (the wise horse). A strange troupe for sure, but one that represents most of the groups that the gang know of.
In the above portrait by FortunesFavor Bitter and Lovable are heartwarmingly portrayed. Lovable is as her name states Lovable and in love with shiny things. At first she might come across as your regular ditzy “blonde”, and she is that too. But she is most of all bright and loving. We get to see just how close she and Bitter are in Wolf Hunting when the couple meets up with an incredibly dangerous hunter. Firekeeper and Blindseer love the couple’s wit and courage and deviousness. The two end up being essential to saving Truth and also essential to the well-being of the group that ends up chasing after one of Meddler’s meddlings.
This portrayal of Plik, the maimalodalum that ends up going with the gang to find the twins, shows a version that I agree with. He looks so innocent, but like all innocent-looking raccoons, Plik has another more violent side. As he is maimalodalum that means that there is quite a bit of human in him and we get to see this fairly well. Derian’s first reaction upon seeing Plik is – well I’m sure you can guess. But as time passes Derian sees Plik more and more as the individual that he is rather than the oddity that maimalodali are.
Eshinarvash, the wise horse, first appeared in Wolf Captured. He has chosen to come along as a horse herder and also as a companion to the others. Derian and he develop a close relationship that will come in handy as the story follows the path of Lindskold’s imagination.
These are the main characters of Wolf Hunting. As you see some of them are more unusual than others. But that is the nature of Wise Beasts/Royal Beasts and nutty spirits. I hope you find as much enjoyment with this tale as my son and I did.
A Turn of Curses is a novella about 66 pages long. You can get it in a PDF version on the author’s website. With only 66 (or 29 in PDF) pages A Turn of Curses is a short and easy read (unless you are dyslexic).
Selina is an incredibly dedicated healer. In spite of knowing that as soon as one end of her mark touches the other she will die, she keeps on healing all who need it. Would I have this kind of dedication? For the poor she is a gift. A healer willing to heal all regardless of class is unpopular with the priests. As they see it the healing gift should be reserved for the “deserving classes”.
For some reason Faldon, a feyquin (horse shapeshifter) has decided that he needs to stop Selina from reaching her next destination. What we get is a battle of wills.
What did this story give me? Well, as stated above it made me think about how dedicated I would have been myself to helping others? If I knew my life was on the line would I have kept on going? I hope I do not have to find out. Selina’s ability to accept life for what it was impressed me and the ending fit with the story. Sad is just part of life.
Like so many others, I really like this cover. It is probably the eye that does it for me. I am a sucker for eyes.
Kabam is how Rex Rising begins. Elei is on the run and working to stay alive. Rex Rising keeps on going at that pace. We are thrown from one action scene to another never really able to catch our breaths. Chrystalla Thoma does it so well. She links the different episodes and never goes over the top. If you want action Rex Rising would be a good choice.
While a page turner Rex Rising is also about the effect parasites have on us and could have on us given certain circumstances. At the end of the novel Chrystalla Thoma links to books and studies dealing with the subject. I love what she has made of a topic that could have easily become boring. But Ms. Thoma did not let me withdraw. Perhaps one of the parasites jumped from the novel and “made me do it” as in read the novel almost without stop.
Another thing Chrystalla Thoma has conquered is the art of the flow. Words falling together like water in rapids is a beautiful thing to be part of. I love words when they are treated in such a manner.
The novel concentrated itself mainly on Elei and his adventures and not so much on the world he lives on. We get glimpses and an understanding of the political situation, but there is not room for an in-depth study of the landscape. But we certainly get an in-depth look at sweet Elei. He is such a loveable character. Hera is another character whose qualities become more and more apparent through Rex Rising. Like the author states on her website, she likes her female characters a bit gung-ho. So do I.
Anyways, this is one YA series I highly recommend.
Anna Wolfe understands the flow. I love it when authors drag me in and I am unable to let go. I finished Bitten and immediately bought Addicted. Upon finishing that I felt annoyed that Wolfe had no more to sell me. Authors should consider doing something about that. Needing to be patient is a bummer.
Callie is a fascinating character. In the prologue we get our first taste of her right after she has gotten her first and last taste of Owen. It is obvious that the girl is struggling with her demon-infection because killing Owen felt soooo much better than Callie wants it to.
Quite literally we are off to a killer start. While the first scene was violent, the rest is not about violence, far from it.
Imagine the relief and terror it must have inspired in Callie to discover that she was not the only demon-bitten person running around in the world. Here you are living life with parents and a brother you love and then – kaboom – you get bitten by a demonridden best friend, watch your brother have his head torn off by that same friend and end up killing that friend yourself. All in a day’s work. In Callie’s case it got her thrown into a psychiatric institution from which she ended up running away from.
Then some other crazies find her and claim they too are infected and somehow those crazies become her family – a slightly dysfunctional family, but Callie is used to dysfunction.
Silas is the one who is in charge. He has the most experience with the demon/witch world. Edie and Mark are his students. All of them have great respect for Callie’s powers but are prepared to kill her if she becomes a danger (their definition of danger). Callie is greatly relieved knowing that. Edie seems afraid of her and Mark cannot decide whether he lusts after Callie.
Bite seems to be the only novel Heather Litteral has written thus far. It was weird not having a copyright page. Does that mean that Heather Litteral does not have copyright? Perhaps this is a stupid question, but I felt it needed to be addressed – if nothing but for the sake of Litteral’s authorship.
I used to think that having “strange powers” would be cool. It didn’t really matter which, as long as I could be different. Reading fantasy and science fiction has completely changed my mind on that subject. In the case of Skye, she can read minds. I would imagine reading minds could be advantageous at times. If some person is out to get you, wouldn’t it be nice to have warning? But otherwise??? Not so much. Reading minds has saved Skye’s life, but it was the ability to read minds that got her into trouble in the first place. We all think things in our heads that we do not want people to hear. Some people want to hide more than others. When what you are trying to hide is betrayal, then it becomes all the more important to silence the one you fear is a threat.
Skye gets chased from the first page of Bite. She has to try to keep one step ahead of the assassins, but that isn’t an easy matter. Early on she gains the help of a guy she bites, Ryan. Biting him was not something she would normally do as her preferred prey is the scummier sort of citizen.
When Skye decides to stop running and stay in Louisiana where she has finally begun to build a life for herself, she finds herself happy to have Ryan’s assistance. Ryan, too, is glad that Skye is on his side. For some reason his own sister (turned vampire) was murdered and now the murderers are after him.
What happens when you stop running? Well, one thing is that you have to face whatever you are running from. Often people think they have to fight these battles alone, but like Skye sometimes we find that others want to help us. At times that help comes with a price, as in the case of Gabriel, but not always.
Heather Litteral has written a fun novel. There are some vampire cliches but those are difficult to get away from. Litteral has focused more on action and less on romance and that is what I prefer. For a first novel, Bite was excellent.