Tag Archives: #Sexualabuse

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.

My Experience with Sexual Assault: The Epitome of Common

Sadly, this story is a common one for both women and men. I wish, I wish, I wish we could all take it to heart and stop our abuse of others however that abuse might express itself.

BroadBlogs

SexualAbuse2 By Ali Greene

I have been sexually assaulted three times in my life.

I am sharing my story not because it is fun, but because it is the epitome of common. I hope to help others who have been hurt, and who might be at risk for further harm.

Around age seven, fresh off the tails of my parents’ messy divorce, I became close friends with a neighborhood girl just a few years my senior. I was vulnerable and in need of guidance. Over the next six years I hung on her every word, and believed she wanted the best for me. 

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Zamin, Mira: The Puppet Queen: A Tale of the Sleeping Beauty (2012)

The Puppet Queen
Cover image: “Sweet Nothings”:
John William Godward (1861-1922)
Cover design by Mira Zamin
800px-Sweet_Nothings_by_Godward
Dolce far Niente (1904)
Gorgeous painting

Various versions of the Sleeping Beauty tale have been around since the late 1600’s. The Puppet Queen adds itself to that list and keeps itself somewhat bleak in the tradition of folk-tales.

Twins, fraternal ones, can be as different from each other as any other pair of siblings. Selene and Auralia are like night and day. Auralia is the serene and proper one while Selene is the dark-haired girl in fine, torn tunics, tumbling into trouble any day of the week. Auralia is ready to embrace adulthood while Selene thinks the whole thing sounds like a bore. For a girl growing up in a society such as the one described in The Puppet Queen adulthood could be very constricting, and for a girl like Selene adulthood would probably have been excruciating to adjust to.

Life in the world of folk-tales tends to be fraught with danger. Curses, wickedness, murder, rape, and abuse of various sorts seem to trail through them all. There is always a way out, but that way tends to carry a high price and the “hero” must find it in them to pay it. If not – well …

The curse of Sleeping Beauty and of The Puppet Queen is one of sleep. Sleep for a castle in Sleeping Beauty and sleep for a whole country in The Puppet Queen. The only one to escape the curse in The Puppet Queen is Selene, and Selene it is who must save the day.

I think what I liked most about The Puppet Queen is that it stayed true to the spirit of folk-tales. People in the middle-ages knew how to tell stories. That these stories are used as a base for modern tales only shows the quality of the stories and their value as teaching tools.

I like the way Mira Zamin showed how difficult it was for Selene to withstand Gwydion. Their relationship was clearly an abusive one. But for Selene to break out of that relationship just wasn’t done in the days portrayed in the story. Perhaps she manages to do so and perhaps she doesn’t, but her experiences are the experiences of many women in relationships today. He who was once Prince Charming might well turn into King Terror. I appreciated Princess Selene’s resilience and the way she kept on going no matter what. Her main goal was to break the curse and she would endure what she must to reach her goal.

So, yeah – I enjoyed The Puppet Queen.


Reviews:


Cane, Laken: Shiv Crew (Rune Alexander I) (2013)

Shiv Crew
Editor: A. Chance

Wow. Just wow. The cover is gorgeous and so is the first story in the Rune Alexander series. I mean it – Wow. Cane practically had me bawling by the end of chapter 7. I had to put my tablet down, it was so sad.

I just had to say that before stating that I received a reviewer’s copy from Laken Cane a couple of days ago. Here is my review.

As you might have guessed, I loved this novel. There were a couple of “baby’s” that I could have done without but that is only because I’ve never used baby in my own vocabulary.

There is an adult content warning at the beginning of the novel that I felt was a bit extreme. Folks, Shiv Crew is dark, very dark. Other than that an older young adult would be perfectly safe reading it. I have read young adult novels with a lot more explicit violence (sad to say). As the sexual content is very low-tone in Shiv Crew there isn’t that to worry about either.

No romance. Can you believe it. A female hero and no romance. Oops, I lie. Toward the end there is a kiss.

What we do have is a lot of pain. My goodness is Rune Alexander, our protagonist, hurting. Cane’s description of Rune’s self-loathing and grief is amazing. Like I said, she practically had me bawling. All through the novel I carried that pain inside my chest and cheeks.

Enough about that. Action. Is there any action? Is there ever. Shiv Crew is a group of extremely dangerous individuals, of which Rune Alexander happens to be one. These guys have to kill Others (vampires, ghouls, werewolves and such) whenever they overstep the bounds humans have set for them. We are talking about seriously tough people. And huge. And protective. And sweet.

I don’t understand how Cane has managed to make Shiv Crew so adorable. Or maybe I kind of do – maybe. I think Ellis is part of the reason. He just so adorable and kind and GOOD.

Of course Rune has a huge secret she is hiding from her guys. Well two huge secrets. Both secrets will come back and bite her and the others in their behinds. But that is part of being a fantasy creature. Having one’s behind bitten is part of the game.

Humour. Yes there is humour. Dark humour, but humour. Enough to make me smile and chuckle at times.

Can you tell I loved Shiv Crew? If the next installment in the series had been out, I would have bought it already. I mean, WOW.


Reviews


  • File Size: 448 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Laken Cane; 1 edition (27 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EUBZS9I

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.


Bruni, Frank: Sexism’s Puzzling Stamina

Op-Ed Columnist / By  FRANK BRUNI / Go to Columnist Page  / Frank Bruni’s Blog »
Published: June 10, 2013    575 Comments

This month the Supreme Court will issue raptly awaited decisions about affirmative action and gay marriage. But what’s been foremost in my thoughts isn’t race, sexual orientation or our country’s deeply flawed handling of both.

Earl Wilson/The New York Times/Frank Bruni

Readers’ Comments

“Sexism endures because too few of us are feminists. … Somehow “feminism” is too scary… .”

Margaret Hayes, Medford, MA
———————-

It’s gender — and all the recent reminders of how often women are still victimized, how potently they’re still resented and how tenaciously a musty male chauvinism endures. On this front even more than the others, I somehow thought we’d be further along by now.

I can’t get past that widely noted image from a week ago, of the Senate hearing into the epidemic of sexual assault in the military. It showed an initial panel of witnesses: 11 men, one woman. It also showed the backs of some of the senators listening to them: five men and one woman, from a Senate committee encompassing 19 men and seven women in all. Under discussion was the violation of women and how to stop it. And men, once again, were getting more say.

I keep flashing back more than two decades, to 1991. That was the year of the Tailhook incident, in which some 100 Navy and Marine aviators were accused of sexually assaulting scores of women. It was the year of Susan Faludi’s runaway best seller, “Backlash,” on the “war against American women,” as the subtitle said. It was when the issue of sexual harassment took center stage in Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings.

All in all it was a festival of teachable moments, raising our consciousness into the stratosphere. So where are we, fully 22 years later?

We’re listening to Saxby Chambliss, a senator from Georgia, attribute sexual abuse in the military to the ineluctable “hormone level” of virile young men in proximity to nubile young women.

We’re congratulating ourselves on the historic high of 20 women in the Senate, even though there are still four men to every one of them and, among governors, nine men to every woman.

I’ll leave aside boardrooms; they’ve been amply covered in Sheryl Sandberg’s book tour.

But what about movies? It was all the way back in 1986 that Sigourney Weaver trounced “Aliens” and landed on the cover of Time, supposedly presaging an era of action heroines. But there haven’t been so many: Angelina Jolie in the “Tomb Raider” adventures, “Salt” and a few other hectic flicks; Jennifer Lawrence in the unfolding “Hunger Games” serial. Last summer Kristen Stewart’s “Snow White” needed a “Huntsman” at her side, and this summer? I see an “Iron Man,” a “Man of Steel” and Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Channing Tatum all shouldering the weight of civilization’s future. I see no comparable crew of warrior goddesses.

Heroines fare better on TV, but even there I’m struck by the persistent stereotype of a woman whose career devotion is both seed and flower of a tortured private life. Claire Danes in “Homeland,” Mireille Enos in “The Killing,” Dana Delany in “Body of Proof” and even Mariska Hargitay in “Law & Order: SVU” all fit this bill.

The idea that professional and domestic concerns can’t be balanced isn’t confined to the tube. A recent Pew Research Center report showing that women had become the primary providers in 40 percent of American households with at least one child under 18 prompted the conservative commentators Lou Dobbs and Erick Erickson to fret, respectively, over the dissolution of society and the endangerment of children. When Megyn Kelly challenged them on Fox News, they responded in a patronizing manner that they’d never use with a male news anchor.

Title IX, enacted in 1972, hasn’t led to an impressive advancement of women in pro sports. The country is now on its third attempt at a commercially viable women’s soccer league. The Women’s National Basketball Association lags far behind the men’s N.B.A. in visibility and revenue.

Even in the putatively high-minded realm of literature, there’s a gender gap, with male authors accorded the lion’s share of prominent reviews, as the annual VIDA survey documents. Reflecting on that in Salon last week, the critic Laura Miller acutely noted: “There’s a grandiose self-presentation, a swagger, that goes along with advancing your book as a Great American Novel that many women find impossible or silly.”

I congratulate them for that. They let less hot air into their heads.

But about the larger picture, I’m mystified. Our racial bigotry has often been tied to the ignorance abetted by unfamiliarity, our homophobia to a failure to realize how many gay people we know and respect.

Well, women are in the next cubicle, across the dinner table, on the other side of the bed. Almost every man has a mother he has known and probably cared about; most also have a wife, daughter, sister, aunt or niece as well. Our stubborn sexism harms and holds back them, not strangers. Still it survives.

<img src=”http://meter-svc.nytimes.com/meter.gif”/&gt;

I invite you to visit my blog, follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/frankbruni and join me on Facebook.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 11, 2013, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Sexism’s Puzzling Stamina.

Gunzel, Jeff: Land of Shadows (The Legend of the Gatekeeper) (2012)

Land of Shadows
Cover art by Ronnell D. Porter

First of all I would like to compliment Jeff Gunzel on his choice of cover artist. The cover of Land of Shadows is amazingly beautiful. Love the work of Ronnell D. Porter.

I see that some of the earlier reviews have asked for editing of Lands of Shadow. I have an updated version from 2013 and have a feeling that there must have been quite a bit of editing done if the previous critique was true. I like that in an author – the ability to listen to what people have to say and then decide if what is said is worth listening to. So that is one plus in Jeff Gunzel’s favor.

I loved the opening scene. The warrior Morcel’s choice to leave off the life he had been leading lately brings him in a sense back to the land of the living. All because that one last drop had fallen. Life is like that (although maybe not quite as brutal as the village scenes). Sometimes that one drop extra falls and you cannot stand your own choices any longer. Change comes – sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Morcel’s having had his fill plays an important role in the plot of The Land of Shadows.

Right away I am going to warn you of a particularly gruesome scene – the one that changes Morcel’s life. This is NOT a book for Young Adults and there are definitely trigger factors for those who have been victims of sexual abuse. Consider yourselves warned.

In this scene we meet a girl who also plays an important role in the development of the plot. If you are awake you will spot her reappearance. She is quite a strong character.

There is action from the beginning of Land of Shadows. Talk about intense scenes that just grip me and will not let me go. Not until Chapter 3 do we get a description of beautiful Tarmerria. But that beauty does have a back side. There are plenty of unwanted elements, crime and scary outlanders.

What we get in the Land of Shadows is a bunch of people who have had to make terrible choices in order to stave off a potentially terrible future. But bearing the consequences of their choices takes a toll on them and the ones they have made those choices for. Life is all too often like that. A person can only do what they think is right and hope that they do not mess up too badly.

Land of Shadows is a dark novel, dark and beautiful. It is well worth the read and I would say that Jeff Gunzel has the potential of being an amazing writer. He already hits the flow over and over again and plays with my feelings like a virtuoso.