“A weird wave of electricity surged through my fingers where they touched him. I snatched my hand back, staring at the digits. The charged feeling dissipated within me, but increased in the air around us, swirling and darkening. I tentatively touched his arm again, and the energy shot into me once more. It was like focused euphoria.”
Tag Archives: #YoungAdult
Wells, Martha: The Ships of Air (The Fall of Ile-Rien II) (2004)
Martha Wells brings back the three worlds caught up in the invasion of Ile-Rien.
For some reason there are readers out there who have decided that The Fall of the Ile-Rien is a fantasy work. The first story, The Wizard Hunters, has plenty of elements of fantasy in it, so that would be a natural conclusion to draw about that. That is until you get to the parallel world and strange technologies that turn up. In The Ships of Air the science fiction element is even stronger. My annoyance comes from the way women authors are so casually relegated categories that simply do not fit.
There, rant over.
Tremaine is a great main character. In spite of Ander’s misogynism, she manages to get people to follow her. Perhaps this is due to her quick thinking, diplomacy and ability to cut through objections when need be. Her childhood training by her father and uncle is clearly an asset in the treacherous landscapes of worlds and people that she finds herself in.
Ander, on the other hand, still needs to have his testicles removed. He never quite seems to grasp just how different the Syprian society is to the one of Ile-Rien and the power women have in Sypria. He really needs to be a bit more careful about what he says around Tremaine. The men surrounding her would probably just nod approvingly if Tremaine got her scissors out.
We get to meet representatives of the Gardier community. The “top dog” there seems to be a soldier of some sort. The Gardier are an interesting people. All of them seem to be terrified of the evil Ile-Rien and dismissive of the animal-like Syprians. Their beliefs about their own superiority mirrors much of what we see in the real world on a regular basis. Hell, 6 million Jews got killed for being “animals”.
Fear is a powerful tool to get your citizenship in line. We see the US using this tool all the time these days, and it seems to be working. Even here in Norway the government has started using the same type of fear-propaganda. The Gardier leader’s socialisation shows in the way she interacts with the Syprians and the Ile-Rien. Just because she is a Gardier leader does not mean that she sees other Gardiaer’s as equal to herself. Oh, no. Nor do the people in either Ile-Rien or Sypria. That is how the world works. It seems humans have this need to belong to a “we” group that feels far superior to the “them” group where the rest of the world is lumped.
I really enjoy the questions raised in this trilogy and the action I get to enjoy. Sadly, I have to admit to enjoying well-written fight scenes. Yes, that probably makes me a violent creature, but there you are. Martha Wells knows how to make her worlds of the possible and impossible come alive for this reader.
The Ships of Air available at Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Mysterious Galaxy, Books-a-Million, Book Depository.com, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon.ca, IndieBound, Tantor Audio, French: Polish: Łowcy czarnoksiężników
My review of The Wizard Hunters
I know I got my shovel, where’s yours?
Klasky, Mindy L.: The Glasswrights’ Apprentice (Glasswrights I) (2000)
“Mind your caste”, Rani is told several times both by people who wish her well and those who do not. But what is your caste when you family is killed along with most of the guild you were apprenticed to and you, yourself, are wanted for a murder you did not commit? Add to that being thirteen.
Being a thirteen year old girl in a medieval society was different to being a thirteen year old girl in a lot of countries today. One’s place in society was ensured from birth and one did not step outside of that area. Rani’s place is more fluid due to the circumstances of her life. Needing to hide enables her to cross caste-lines that she might not otherwise. Some of those lines include what the different castes think of as “good” and “bad”. It turns out that if you are a member of the Soldier caste your idea of what may or may not be done can be quite different to what the Touched caste thinks (not to mention the Brotherhood).
So! How does a girl know what to do? She doesn’t. To begin with her choices have to do with her brother. Later on her focus changes. Knowledge is part of that change. But there is also the matter of Rani having grown up in a religious and political system that encourages certain types of behavior.
Mindy L. Klasky‘s writing style was fascinating. It was as if the words snaked in and out of themselves. To me the intended audience seems to be Young Adults. There is violence, death, mystery, adventure and family choices. I liked it.
The Glasswright’s Apprentice available at Audible, Barnes & Noble
German: Die Lehrjahre der Glasmalerin
Central American class structures
Feudal system Middle Ages Europe
Wells, Martha: The Cloud Roads (The Raksura I) (2011)
Moon is an orphan. A 35-year-old orphan, but nevertheless. Orphans are one type of people this world has in abundance. How strange it is that we are so eager to bring children of our own genes into this world while so many live in horrendous circumstances. We humans aren’t very logical.
Finding your place in the world when you look and act different to the majority seems impossible for a child to do. Like most homeless orphans, Moon goes through some pretty traumatic experiences. Sometimes he thinks he has found his place. Then it turns out the people he lived with were only looking for cheap labor. When such labor was finished, he was tossed out. What would that do to a person? In my case, I would most likely die due to some of my autistic traits. Moon, survives any way he can.
We meet him right after the last group of people he was living with chains him up as bait for a predator. Shapeshifters that might be taken for the group of people called Fell aren’t very popular in Three Worlds.
Since this is fiction, Moon is saved just in the nick of time. When Moon discovers that the person who just saved him is like him he is stunned, angry, suspicious and afraid. Here he thought he was either a monster or all alone in the world. Then he is not. What would that do to a person?
What happens now is that Moon ends up in a society where people are like him. Except they aren’t. After all, Moon has seen a life they could not dream of. Yet again he does not fit into the mold set apart for him. But I think Wells has portrayed him perfectly. Of course, he isn’t thankful for the role these new people want him to play. Why should he be. They weren’t there when he was abused and battered. Instead, they were all learning how to fit into their society and to adhere to the rules created for each class of person. Someone who has had to make on his own isn’t going to be able to play such games. In this inability I recognize myself. But such an inability is bound to create conflict.
Add to that the Fell and Wells has created a world fraught with danger, adventure and plenty of action. Definitely recommended.
The Cloud Roads available at Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon US, Powell’s, Mysterious Galaxy, The Tattered Cover, Books-a-Million, Book Depository.com, Waterstones UK, Book Depository.uk, Amazon UK, Whitcoulls NZ, IndieBound, Abe Books. Baen Webscription, Audible.com, Audible UK, iTunes
Stewart, Michael F.: Assured Destruction (2013)
I believe the title Assured Destruction could be used to describe several factors in this story about Janus and her current life. One, of course, is the firm Assured Destruction. It seems the employees there are having trouble destroying what ought to be destroyed. It is interesting to see how people trust the honesty of others to such a great extent. I’m guessing the level of reliability in the real world is pretty much as described in Assured Destruction.
Jan’s mother is on the road to assured destruction. We all die and could die at any time. But the path MS takes a person on is one of systematic destruction of one part after the other until the body is completely destroyed. Having to deal with her mother’s illness could take Jan on her own road to assured destruction as her Shadow-Net begins to affect real life people.
Finally, we have the Shadow-Net and its assured destruction. Shadow-Net and the personalities it comprises has made up the people Jan considers her close friends. These imaginary friends have helped her through a terrible phase in her life where more and more responsibility has been dumped on her. Her imaginary friends help Jan interpret the world around her.
Like the rest of us Jan sees the people around her through faulty eyes. Turns out people aren’t what she thinks they are, and as that realization hits her harder and harder, Jan gets the opportunity to change her perspective. And she does. That is the cool thing about Jan. She manages to turn around the way she sees others, to somehow overcome her prejudices and move on to changes in her relationships.
Assured Destruction is a great action/thriller/mystery. I find Stewart’s writing fun and engaging. His characters are loveable. I am going to read the rest of this series. Definitely recommended.
Wells, Martha: The Wizard Hunters (The Fall of Ile-Rien I) (2003)
A female protagonist looking to die in what seems to be an accidental manner is a relief to meet. Wanting to die is something I experience on a regular basis so I find it nice to know that there are people in literature who feel the same way. Her death-wish is why Tremaine joins the clean-up crews after bombings and why she joins Gerard when he asks her to bring her uncle’s sphere along. Tremaine Valiarde is a woman with an unusual life up to now and it is about to enter the realm of the unexpected. She has two qualities that I really like. One is her ability to make difficult decisions quickly without needing to question her choices. The other is her ability to integrate others in her life as a matter of course. Actually, there are three qualities I really appreciate. The third is Tremaine’s ability to remain fairly clear-/ and level-headed in a crisis. When she, Florian and Gerard end up on an island in the middle of the ocean those qualities will become essential to survival.
Ilias and Giliead see it as their mission in life to hunt wizards. Their experience with wizards thus far in life has been that all wizards are insane. In Sypria being a sorcerer, wizard or even the victim of one gets you either shunned or killed. Ilias and Giliead are about to get their views challenged.
Prejudice is an interesting quality. All of our fear-attitudes are. There must be people out there who do not struggle with prejudices, but I have not met any of them yet. We get to see different types of prejudices in the people from Ile-Rien and the people from Sypria, but at heart all of their prejudices are the same. This is where Tremaine’s ability to integrate others into her life becomes especially important.
Meetings between two fairly different cultures are bound to be troublesome. But the need to fight a common enemy enables people to overcome some of the fear and cooperate. Gardier provides the role of a common enemy through their invasions of both Ile-Rien and Sypria. When survival depends upon the parties cooperating logic states that they cooperate. But reality both here in the real world and in the world of The Wizard Hunters shows that people aren’t always logical.
The Wizard Hunters is my first meeting with Martha Wells. I have had a lot of first meetings with authors over the years and not all have been as successful as this one. Definitely recommended.
P.s.: Ander needs to have his testicles cut off.
- Blogging for a good book
- Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
- Kate Elliot (for all three books – spoilers)
- Kevin Pezzano
- Neal Reynolds
The Wizard Hunters available at Barnes and Noble, Edge Books, Powell’s, Mysterious Galaxy, Books-a-Million, Amazon, Amazon UK, Tantor Audio, iTunes
German: Trade Paperback
Graham, R.A.M.: Gwenmere (The House of Mere) (2013)
Gwenmere is another of those gems that just turns up out of the great blue. I believe this is author R.A.M. Graham’s first novel and I hope not the last.
Gwenmere was full of the kind of humour that I love. No belly laughs, but dry, dry wit that tugs at the corners of my mouth again and again. I do not know where Graham is from but am tempted to infer that he/she is from the United Kingdom.
Gwen is an incredibly fun character. Her fracas on the floor with her brother comes to mind. The absolutely priceless image of Captain Faroe opening the door and seeing true sibling hate is delightful. She is the teen-age version of Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes.
Flow, flow, flow. There is nothing better in the world than reading a book that flows all the way through. Graham stirs secrets, fighting, deception and class issues all together into a wonderful stew of words. Beautifully done and something that few authors manage.
Gwenmere seems to attract the seethers. Why that is, no one seems to know. Whether no one actually does not know remains to be seen. Due to the attraction of the seethers to the Royals, Gwenmere’s Crimson Guard, Captain Faroe, seems to be wanted by all of the Royals. Apparently only he is immune to the attention of the incredibly dangerous creatures.
Should you read Gwenmere? Definitely. Especially if you are a fan of dry humour interspersed with action and sibling rivalry in a fantasy world of strange people and creatures.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CCCUYR8