Tag Archives: #Revenge

Jenkins, David Elias: The First Spark (2016)

The First Spark, Independent (2016)
Cover by David Elias Jenkins

Finding a soul-mate is not a given in life. In Free Spark, David Elias Jenkins introduces us to John and Isabella Gaunt who embody what soul-matedness seems to be all about. At first, their soul-matedness was metaphorical. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it later became literal. Their changing relationship brought heartache and a greater purpose in life. Both knew, without a doubt, that their most important contribution to Free Reign would be to bring down Jonas Reach, Emberdark and their bosses. Getting there demands more sacrifice and heartache for both of them. Those opposing them, find a terrifying pair willing to use any and all tools to get their revenge and stop the precursor artifacts that threaten Free Reign’s way of life.

The Watch is Free Reign’s police force. At first, Free Reign’s best, Maeve fights the couple. She misunderstands what they are about. That probably has to do with the level of devastation left behind them. However, once Maeve herself becomes hunted by the same forces John and Isabella are fighting, she realizes that life is even more complicated than she thought. And Maeve is not a naïve character but knows well that certain people “weigh the law down with gold and influence until it snapped.

“The destructive power of the fire elementals had razed the Longshadow district of Free Reign to the ground two hundred years ago. There were still plaques and memorials to the dead from that disaster in the main square.

Yet the very contraption of cogs and wheels that whirs and rattles me down this mountain is powered by that same magic, harnessed and directed to useful purpose. …

“Three sets of headlights glared at her in close formation like the myriad eyes of an arachnid. They separated slightly as the road widened and Maeve could see riders straddling three Angeldarts.” (loc 3939)

Free Reign is a city where magic (thaumaturgy) and technology intertwine into a type of literature called arcanepunk. The title of the story refers to the thaumaturgy that Free Reign is built on. First Spark bleeds magic into the air, ground and water of Free Reign and has made the city a place where strange creatures feel comfortable. Like all cities, Free Reign is a place where cruelty and succor live side by side in a political system that depends on its leaders being as little corrupt as possible.  I know, I know. Impossible.

The First Spark has enough violence to go around, but it is violence with a purpose. I would find it impossible to believe a story about the dregs of society (be they low or high on the social ladder) without violence. The First Spark pretty much shows this darker side of society as it is. I like the job Jenkins has done in blending law and crime, grief and determination and helpful with destructive. The First Spark is a mystery-thriller with lots of action, some violence and pretty broken characters.

Recommended.

The author gave me a copy of The First Spark to review


The First Spark is available on Amazon

Lynn, Elizabeth A.: Watchtower (Chronicles of Tornor I) (1979)

“Tornor Keep was dead and burning.

Ryke’s face was soot-stained, and his wrists were skinned raw where he had torn them twisting in his chains. His head ached.”

From this moment we are in the company of Ryke, a man who remains in a state of shock through the story. All of his friends, his leaders and his place in the world and loyalties have been torn from him. He thought he understood war, but he had never seen it from the side of the loser. War is much more brutal and bloody when you are not the winner. Why he has been kept alive when the rest of the Keep (excluding the women who were raped and kept on as chattel) was killed is a mystery to Ryke.

Then Col Istor (master of the invaders) shows him why. Errel, Prince of Tornor until the invaders took the keep, is still alive. Given a beating, but still alive. In return for keeping him that way, Ryke must pledge his service to Istor. Ryke gives the only pledge he feels capable of keeping. It is accepted.

“I’ll serve you,” he said, “with loyalty, as long as Errel’s left alone and unharmed.”

The Northern border is a land where the gap between male and female is immense. As is usual in such societies, women are meant for marriage, childbirth and possibly healing of the kind wise women did. Men, well, men. I am glad Elizabeth A Lynn wrote this book the way she did. Ryke’s prejudices are challenged. Lynn shows us that  prejudices do not necessarily change even when confronted with evidence and anecdotes. This has been my experience as well, and I find it just as frustrating as Sorren and Norres expressed.

“The other was unimportant. It happened to all women. In war you could not even call it rape.”

Ryke is used to being in “middle management”. He likes leadership, but only to a certain extent. Beyond that, he prefers having another person tell him what to do and, to a certain extent, what to think. Errel (Prince to Ryke) is supposed to fill that spot, but Errel is not willing to play along. He challenges Ryke to think for himself and to make his own choices. Ryke hates that. At times I have wanted people to choose for me. Often I wonder if that is the way most of us want the world to be. If others choose for us, perhaps we have less responsibility? But I would not choose to have Ryke’s fear of choice. In the end, neither would he.

Definitely recommended.

P.S: I have not been able to find a link to Elizabeth A. Lynn anywhere.

P.P.S: “The art of the chearis, as it is described, resembles in some aspects the Japanese martial art aikido, created by Master Morihei Uyeshiba. This imitation is deliberate. Writers must write what they know. In gratitude for that knowledge, the author respectfully wishes to thank her teachers.” (Dedication page)


1980 World Fantasy Award


Reviews:


Watchtower is available on scribd.com


Translations:

Baxter, Joanne Bailey: When I’m an old lady (1991)

Old lady tagger

When I’m an old lady

© 1991 Joanne Bailey Baxter

When I’m an old lady, I’ll live with my kids,
And make their life happy and filled with such fun.
I want to pay back all the joy they’ve provided.
Returning each deed! Oh, they’ll be so excited!

When I’m an old lady and live with my kids

I’ll write on the wall with reds, whites and blues,
And I’ll bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I’ll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I’ll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they’ll shout!

When I’m an old lady and live with my kids

When they’re on the phone and just out of reach,
I’ll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they’ll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
and when that is done I’ll hide under the bed.

When I’m an old lady and live with my kids

When they cook dinner and call me to meals,
I’ll not eat my green beans or salads congealed.
I’ll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table,
And when they get angry, I’ll run as fast as I’m able!

When I’m an old lady and live with my kids

I’ll sit close to the TV, through the channels I’ll click,
I’ll cross both eyes just to see if they stick.
I’ll take off my socks and throw one away,
And play in the mud ’til the end of the day!

When I’m an old lady and live with my kids

And later in bed, I’ll lay back and sigh,
I’ll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes.
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
And say with a groan, “She’s so sweet when she’s sleeping!”

God Bless All Moms and Grandmas Everywhere!

Source: http://marilynshideaway.com/whenimanoldlady.html

Don’t Fart in Bed (2002)

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0032/7882/products/fart_1024x1024.jpg
“Farting in bed” by Matthew Inman (theoatmeal.com)
This is a story about a couple who had been happily married for years.

The only friction in their marriage was the husband’s habit of farting loudly every morning when he awoke. The noise would wake his wife and the smell would make her eyes water and make her gasp for air. Every morning she would plead with him to stop ripping them off because it was making her sick. He told her he couldn’t stop it and that it was perfectly natural. She told him to see a doctor; she was concerned that one day he would blow his guts out.

The years went by and he continued to rip them out! Then one Thanksgiving morning as she was preparing the turkey for dinner and he was upstairs sound asleep,she looked at the bowl where she had put the turkey innards and neck gizzard, liver and all the spare parts and a malicious thought came to her.

She took the bowl and went upstairs where her husband was sound asleep and, gently pulling back the bed covers, she pulled back the elastic waistband of his underpants and emptied the bowl of turkey guts into his shorts.

Some time later she heard her husband awaken with his usual trumpeting which was followed by a blood curdling scream and the sound of frantic footsteps as he ran into the bathroom. The wife could hardly control herself as she rolled on the floor laughing, tears in her eyes! After years of torture she reckoned she had got him back pretty good.

About twenty minutes later, her husband came downstairs in his bloodstained underpants with a look of horror on his face. She bit her lip as she asked him what the matter was. He said, “Honey, you were right. All these years you have warned me and I didn’t listen to you.”

“What do you mean?” asked his wife. “Well, you always told me that one day I would end up farting my guts out, and today it finally happened. But by the grace of God, some Vaseline, and these two fingers, I think I got most of them back in.”

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=009kNX

Nesbø, Jo: Police/Politi (Harry Hole X) (2013/2014)

I read Police/Politi in Norwegian.

Some reviewers felt Police was too violent for them. All of Jo Nesbø’s mysteries are dark literature. He delves into the murky and seedy side of people and society. Police deals with consequences and corruption. This time Nesbø looks at corruption within the Norwegian police force. Not only the leaders seem to have trouble staying within the framework of the law. Some of its officers define the law in a manner that allows it to make sense to them. Justice, is after all not the purpose of the law. The purpose of the law is the law and how to define it.

Police was in no way a philosophical work. Entertainment and commentary seems to have been Nesbø’s purpose in writing it. However, I do not have a clue as to what his purpose was because I have read none of his interviews only some of the reviews out there. But it does raise some questions. The nature of corruption being one of them.

What we are willing to sacrifice on the alter of power? If there is one subject that keeps on popping up in stories and research papers, power seems to be it. Sometimes in the form of helplessness – as that poor gay kid must have felt when he came out to Bellman and got beaten up for it. At other times it comes in the form of wanting more power over others. Having power over Berntsen was never enough for Bellman. And sometimes power is portrayed as something we hope to get through others, kind of like the hope Ulla was left with once she and Michael had met in the hotel.

Nesbø also takes a closer look at another reason people kill. Love can influence people’s choices. My definition of love might not fit your. When the love of one person was killed many years ago, that person felt a need for revenge. Revenge took a long time coming, but once it arrived it was certainly thorough. Harry Hole came back to policing due to the path revenge wandered on.

Jo Nesbø is sneaky. Not until seconds or minutes before the culprit was revealed did I figure out who the killer was. No wonder with all the shady characters in the land of Nesbø’s imagination. Just as when I watch magicians, I was fooled by Jo Nesbø’s misdirection. Every time an author manages to trick me I am both pleased and annoyed at the same time.

What I like with police procedurals like Police is that there are no magic solutions to finding a culprit. Harry Hole certainly has Poirot-like qualities in his intuitive ability to see what others cannot. However, Harry makes mistakes and depends on his crew to find the data needed to draw his conclusions. My enjoyment of a mystery/thriller increases with the type of craftsmanship that Nesbø shows.

Warning: Descriptive violence

I had fun. Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


Police is available at bokkilden.no / amazon (various countries) / others


Translations (Original language Norwegian – my edition) Politi:

Kramer, Naomi: Dead(ish) (2010)

Dead(ish)
Cover art by Katerina Vamvasaki

What we have in Dead(ish) is an example of a nutty Aussie author bent on making her readers laugh. Talk about insane mystery and vindictive murder victim. I have to say that this is one case of getting back at your murderer.

Our main characters are Mike: the murderer, Linda: the murderee and Trent: the detective. Linda, the ghost, hires Trent, the detective, to find out where Mike, her killer, has hidden her body. During that process Trent gets to hear both sides of the story and what a sordid tale it is.

This is what I love about fantasy and science fiction: there is always a chance of getting to hear a story from both sides – even if the story is murder.

———————

Review:


Maxey, James: Bitterwood (2007)

Bitterwood
Cover art by James Maxey

Originally Bitterwood was meant to be a stand-alone novel. I guess sales must have been better than expected and therefore an invitation was extended to James Maxey to expand the tale with Dragonforge and Dragonseed. Due this expansion Maxey now has an edition of Bitterwood that brings the original story more in line with the two other novels. My review is based on the revised edition.

Bant Bitterwood’s mission in life is hunting dragons. Sent by the prophet Hezekiah he believes this is God’s will. Leaving the love of his life behind he sets out and 20 years pass in the turning of a page. While adored by many humans Bitterwood is despised and feared by the dragons who see him as the bad guy. Each story has two sides and we get to have a look at both of them in Maxey’s Bitterwood.

In this tale of action and fantasy set far into the future we see humans made into slaves and dragons more like ourselves than we might like to admit. Karma has bitten humans in their rear ends and shown them (if they only knew) that their meddling with genetics has consequences.

Early on we get to see remnants of previous technology on something that the dragons call the ghost lines. Here dragons fear for their lives for there is a very real danger of them being killed by what is within. Later on in Bitterwood we also come accross surprising pieces of technology. I think one of the reviews below reveals what that is but I shan’t.

Vendevorex (wizard dragon) is the most interesting character of the novel. Perhaps that is because his views correspond with my own in some respects. He is of the faction of dragons that believes that humans should be treated with some decency unlike his extremely feudal king Albekizan. Our own history of slavery and feudalism is reflected in this tale of dragon lords and human slaves. As our own stories tell us, rebellion is part of our past. But as with our history, the consequences of fighting the system can be devastating not only for the rebels.

Another character that I enjoyed a lot was Zanzeroth (tracker dragon). He is ambivalent when it comes to humans and their value. Age is catching up with him and he does not like it. Vanity is not only a human thing in this tale of dragons and humans.

Bitterwood is a good novel. It raises questions that ought to be raised and does so in a highly entertaining manner. Because of some of the reviews on the net I get the feeling my revised edition is quite different to the original. My recommendation is to get the revised edition of the novel.


Reviews:


  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; 1 edition (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184416487X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844164875
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.6 x 4 cm