Tag Archives: Social structures

Wilson, Catherine M.: A Journey of the Heart (When Women Were Warriors II) (2008)

when women were warriors ii
Cover photo by Donna Trifilo
Sometimes an author strings her words together so beautifully that I want to weep at the music that fills my head. Catherine M. Wilson has managed to keep the moll of The Warrior’s Path so finely tuned throughout A Journey of the Heart that my chest hurt from the notes within. And yet there is nothing new and especially unique in the When Women Were Warriors serial.

One thing is different. In this serial both men and women are warriors and Tamras’ society is matriarchal. In neighboring countries that is not so. Ms. Wilson shows us that a matriarchal society is as full of contradictions as any other society. One of the characters, Virtel – the “baddie”, is aggressive and warlike. In A Journey of the Heart we get the impression that Virtel is ambitious to the extent that she is willing to hurt her leader, Merin. Sparrow, her apprentice, shows us a Virtel who might not be as one-dimensional as Tamras thinks of her. Maybe even life is not as one-dimensional as Tamras would like it to be.

We get to see how sometimes grief/regret has the ability to draw a person closer to death. According to Ms. Wilson her story is set around 1000 BCE. At that time life was precarious and death was no stranger. I imagine the will to live would have been even more essential than it is where I live.

Ms. Wilson shows how having a safe and loved child-hood, such as Tamras has had, gives one insulation in the growing up process. Both Sparrow and Maara show us the faces of what not having that in our lives can be like. However much we might want to deny it, we are probably very much products of the lives we have lived. If we grow up as slaves not owning even ourselves and live in constant fear, well, that produces a person vastly different to one with a childhood where you know you are valuable and loved and where you also have what you need to survive.

In fact. When Women Were Warriors is full of situations that have no simple answers. Maara functions as Tamras’ teacher in both the physical aspects of being a warrior and in understanding the ways of the world. Nothing is easy.

One of the things I really liked about A Journey of the Heart was the way Tamras had to learn how to use a bow and arrow step by step. There was none of this “all of a sudden an expert”. This is what every apprentice has to learn. Easy routes to mastery are non-existent. Me, I want to have mastery right away. I want to understand everything immediately without having to work for it. For some strange reason that never happened. Bummer!

When Women Were Warriors is a serial. You will have to read The Warrior’s Path in order to get anything out of Journey of the Heart. It just so happens that The Warrior’s Path seems to be on a permanent “for free” offer.


Reviews:



My review of The Warrior’s Path

Hoyt, Sarah A.: Draw One in the Dark (Shifter) (2006)

Draw One in the Dark
Cover art by Veronica Casas

Draw One in the Dark made me think about what it must be like to be a foster-kid and a homeless kid in the US. I haven’t been a foster-kid anywhere. Nor have I worked with foster-children and am therefore unqualified to speak about its reality. But I have wondered what it must be like. That and being homeless. I’ve read books and articles about both but that doesn’t show me the way the minds of people who have been in the foster-system and living on the street work. How would this affect a person’s ability to deal with situations? Let’s say you throw in being a shape-shifter on top of that. And on top of that you aren’t really sure if you are a shape-shifter or if you are just having psychotic episodes that leave you covered in blood every once in a while.

This is the point that Kyrie Smith and Tom Ormson are both at when Draw One in the Dark begins. Some months after meeting each other they both receive revelations about their nature and are thrown together into one dangerous situation after the other. This means that life becomes even more chaotic for the two of them but they soldier on as best they can.

That tells me something about resilience. For regular people soldiering on can be difficult enough but for kids with an atypical background soldiering on must be even more of a struggle.

To my way of thinking Draw One in the Dark is partly about resilience and partly about bravery. It is also about messed up people making messed up decisions and living with the consequences of those. Trying to make amends as best we can is one of life’s major lessons. What has been done can never be fixed, but maybe/hopefully some of the pain we inflict can be lessened.

Draw One in the Dark is an easy to read young adult urban fantasy novel that is of pretty average quality. But it spoke to me and helped me clear up a couple of things in my head. Oh, and I really liked the cover art (roar, my name is dragon).


Reviews:


  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416520929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416520924
  • Shop: Amazon (US)

Wilson, Catherine M.: The Warrior’s Path (When Women Were Warriors) (2008)

Cover designed by Catherine M. Wilson

When I talk about authors who write musically, Catherine M. Wilson is one of those authors. After reading her The Warrior’s Path right after reading the Frey Saga I found myself understanding a profound musical difference between authors. The Warrior’s Path is written in a minor key (or moll in Norwegian) while the Frey Saga is written in a major key (dur in Norwegian). How cool is that??

Our hero, Tamras, learns a great deal about herself, her prejudices and her talents during The Warrior’s Path. Some of these talents point to a mystical ability that may or may not become more apparent as the trilogy advances. One of her most important lessons is taught by her Warrior, Maara. Maara teaches her that Tamras is not her emotions but that she has the ability to decide how to use them. Tamras learns to deal with disappointment, anger, jealousy and fear.

I often think that we are what we choose. Just think of the many times you might have thought “if only”. Many of my choices have been less than ideal. But choosing to read The Warrior’s Path is a choice that has given me new insight and great pleasure. To think that this is Catherine M. Wilson’s first novel says quite a bit about her talent for the craft and her ability to develop it. I know she doubts she will write any more novels after spending ten years on her trilogy. That would be a pity.

After researching a bit more about the novel on the net I realized it falls within the lesbian/gay category as well as any other. Never entered my mind while reading it. To me it was just fantasy – really good fantasy – with a semi-lesbian twist. Didn’t seem all that important to me. But it is on the must read list of several lesbian/gay sites out there, soooo?


2010 EPIC ebook award in the Mainstream category