Victor Gregg talks about his experiences during WWII. He states firmly that he blames only the decision makers for the atrocities of the war. The reason he has come forward at such a late time of his life is because he sees that nothing changes. The people are still being lumbered with the horrible decisions being made by governments. Gregg also states categorically that he is no pacifist, but that someone needs to speak up for all the victims.
Annabelle Lee is a mess. Her PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) started while she was recovering bodies after Hurricane Katrina. At that time her intake of alcohol increased. Then, while Annabelle was holding her, her sister died from an allergic reaction to fairy bites. At this time Annabelle discovered she was immune to fairy venom. Survivor’s guilt hit her hard (with a lot of help from her parents) and substance abuse became a reality. Like all addicts, Annabelle is having trouble admitting that addiction is a fact.
PTSD stinks. I have had to work my way through my share of it and have known plenty of people who fight its insidious web. While it gets better with time and the right kind of therapy (and often medication), PTSD never quite goes away. Every once in a while a memory clobbers my gut, and I find myself having to work my way through it again. Annabelle has a lot of memories and pictures stuck in her mind and new ones are added to it due to her immunity.
Being immune to fairy bites means that Annabelle functions as a CSI at body sites. Non-immune people have to put on an iron protective suit so they won’t get bitten by the fairies. That takes time and suits are limited in how well they protect a person. So immune people are used for difficult and time sensitive jobs. Bodies and the hot and humid swamps of Louisiana do not go well together. Children’s bodies are no exception. Self-medication becomes a must for survival for Annabelle. So does figuring out why on earth Grace’s body was dumped outside the protective iron fence around Donaldsonville.
Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay was a fascinating read about serious issues. Immensely serious. Dead on the Delta was also a fun mystery with plenty of mayhem occurring on its pages. Annabelle Lee was a delight. Her compatriots were as eccentric as she, and her non-compatriots were just as fascinating. If the real Donaldsonville is filled with people like the ones in Dead on the Delta, it must be an interesting place to live.
“Doggone it, she says. Why do livin and dyin always have to be just half an inch apart?”
Bloody hell! Some reviews hurt more than others to write.
My father was a couple of years old before the Germans invaded Norway during WWII. He had passed his 7th birthday when they left. Yet there are quite a few things he remembers from that time. Especially one thing stands out with regard to The Reapers are the Angels. During the war a certain wildness was permitted in children. Many of the little ones were used by older kids to get at the German soldiers. Being little made it less likely you would get shot. Then the war ended. All of a sudden children were expected to become normal children. As my father tells that was not a simple task to perform, even for a seven year old boy. His father returned changed from POW camp. His mother had retained a great deal of psychological scarring from the war. And my father was a wild one.
Today we have more information about the mental processes of war-time experiences on children who grow up in them. One child tells of his killing as a child-soldier:
“The youngest was a girl about six. She was shooting at me.” (IRIN Africa)
In reading about young Temple, only 15 years old, her traumatized psyche was easy to see. Her feelings of guilt, being evil, should have been able to make different choices are all classic symptoms of a child with PTSD. PTSD is something I have knowledge of and I had no problem identifying with Temple a great many times.
“She eases herself to the ground and wonders when she will eventually die because she’s awfully tired, so terribly tired, and Moses Todd is right – there are debts she owes to the perfect world and she feels like she has cheated them for too long already.”
Death is nothing I fear. Each and every one of us must end our journeys there. Some of us are less afraid of it than others. For Temple her journey has brought her to the brink of death many times in her fights for survival against the slugs. She bears them no ill will. After all, a world with meatskins is all she has ever known. Accepting the world as it is seems to be her strongest quality. Somehow there is beauty to be found in just about every circumstance Temple encounters, even in her encounter with the mutants.
When Temple is saved by the half humans/half slugs you would think she had stumbled upon a gang of “krokodil-junkies” (drug used in Russia that makes your outside and insides look grosse – Slate) taken to the extreme. One thing addicts have shown us is that if the buzz is considered strong enough by its user it will be taken no matter its side-effects. The effects of injecting zombie juice into a human body are devastating. But addicts will be addicts.
“Oh lord, Royal says, marching around the room in circles. I got a fire in me, Bodie. Right now? Right now I could fuck a hole in the world. I swear to God a’mighty I could fuck and new Grand Canyon all by myself.”
Like I said – a buzz one might want repeated.
Nothing in The Reapers are the Angels points toward a happy ending for Temple. But happy endings are illusions caused by a death put off for a while longer. Sometimes there is happiness to be found in the moment of death and that is all we can hope for for our beautiful little Sarah Mary Williams, AKA Temple.
Stories that have the sense of the macabre about them hold a special place in my heart. Death and coming to terms with unresolved issues adds to the flavour of the story. Steven J. York spins all of this into a delightful tale about a man, his foot and once-upon-a-time beloved Betty.
Ever since his loss Christmas has become a special experience for our narrator and we get to follow that experience 50 years down the road. I believe I have become a fan of Mr. York.
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.
Emma M. Wooley shares an incredibly important message about what it means to be a teen-girl on her blog. Folks, this is what it is like for most girls out there. Girls are treated as objects, and continue to be after their teen-years. It’s just the way things are right now.
But they do not have to be. Each of us has the responsibility to teach pre-teens and teenagers (boys and girls) that some things are off-limits. Talk about sex, boundaries and being wanted with your kids.