Tag Archives: Fantasy

“A Discovery of Witches”: before it hits the net

A friend on Facebook recommended A Discovery of Witches. I can’t remember what the context was, but somehow she suggested that I might like it. Maybe because it was becoming a TV show and wanted us to read it before it changed? Anyway,she was right: I did like it.

witch
Source: https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Witches-All-Souls-Trilogy/dp/0143119680

This book reminded me of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer in that I devoured the book quickly; it was a page-turner. Witches, vampires, deamons, alchemy, ghosts, and more. It was entertaining and fun, which is why it reminded me of Twilight. But what I enjoyed most about this book is a book about books: Diana, a witch and historian, is researching alchemy in an Oxford library. Throughout the novel, books and libraries are key props and locations. Who doesn’t love reading a book about loving books?!

books
Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/529032287459211764/

Throughout the novel, Diana is being hunts by all kinds of creatures because she had access to a long-lost manuscript that describes the history of creatures: witches, vampires, etc. So as a war starts to boil over who should have the book and how to get it back from the library stacks (it is charmed and only Diana can recall it), she meets a handsome vampire who helps her survive and plan for a better future. What if every human and creature just got along? What is vampires and witches could be friends, even become family? Although a bit of a cliche topic, it’s true: what would happen is we just all got along?

This week at work we were talking about starting a GSA which is exciting and asks that same question: what if we made space for everyone to get along and see each other as human. Labels can be helpful, but also dangerous. I think of those who identify as pansexual and they must just shake their heads at the effort and time people put into creating definitions and lines between genders. I wonder: will we ever get to a point where gender and labels don’t matter? What would that freedom look like?

gender
Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/410390584763852894/

Overall, I enjoyed Deborah Harkness’ book A Discovery of Witches because it was a fun story of a different world. The beginning had me hooked, I enjoyed the middle, but was left a bit disappointed because the last third of the book points toward a series and ended requiring readers to take on the next book. I thought that was too bad, but I completely understand that Harkness has built up her own world and it’s a great idea and a great world, and I’m sure that the next book will be exciting and interesting and full of exciting history, but I won’t be picking it up anytime soon. I’ll have to wait for the TV show to come out!

tv
Source: https://deborahharkness.com/discovery-of-witches-tv-news-notes/

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“The Fate of the Tearling”: love costs

At the end of this novel, I actually said out loud to my empty apartment, “WHAT?!” Erika Johansen did it again. The final novel in this series of three had me playing along the entire time.

fate

Source: https://www.amazon.com/Fate-Tearling-Novel-Queen-Book-ebook/dp/B015CXRP9S

Without spoiling the wild ride, I’ll just say that this book reminded me of what the writers/producers of Star Trek did in the 2009 film: they created a story line where time shifted and therefore they could create a whole new series of adventures and planets. Genius!! Johansen does something similar, which is why at the end I couldn’t help but utter an impassioned and appreciative “What?!” Nicely done. (I know I’ve said it before about her other books, but this woman writes beautifully!)

 

After three long epics, I appreciate that Johansen took a risk. On Goodreads, it seems fans are divided on Johansen’s story decision. Yet again, I am interested in her craft and how she creates twists and causes the reader to join her in several moments where suspension of disbelief is necessary, yet not betrayed. What a fabulous series!

beauty

Source: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/agg-rise-3-from-the-end-with-love.507116/page-363

Ok, enjoy gushing about the author’s brilliance. Johansen has some thoughtful commentary on society and how greed and selfishness leads to hatred which leads to harm. “Hatred is wasy, and lazy to boot. It’s love that demands effort, love that exacts a price from each of us. Love costs; this is its value” (Pg 81). Throughout the novel, characters are forced to make hard decisions about life and death. In the end, it is those who love that end up struggling; in the end, it is those who want to do the right thing because of their love for others that end up hurt. Yet, time after time, those who love, even though it is the harder choice, have a richer life. They have relationships, friends, and peace. As with most societies, even today, religion and religious beliefs,  beliefs that were started out of love, end of being sources of jealousy and posturing. Trying to be perfect and trying to look good destroys lives, as we see throughout this novel and in real life. Yet the foundations of religions are love, compassion, peace, and forgiveness. I think that as humans, we forget that these values are hard and require work. It is easier to sit through a sermon that tells you three ways to be a better leader, or three ways to love your neighbours more. Yet when it comes to making life-changing decisions and doing the right thing, it’s easy to draw back out of fear and stay in the bubble of safety, waiting out the upheaval or change. But that is not the way of love.

heart

Source: http://www.facingcancer.ca/blogs/bothsides/love-is-brave

I think one of the reasons that I loved this series so much is that characters make mistakes, giant mistakes that destroy things. Characters also show the strength of compassion and forgiveness. It’s not easy and Johansen shows that the struggle is real: sometimes life isn’t black and white, most of the time it’s grey. So how do we find the courage to love others, even when it means sacrifice and cost? I’m not sure. That’s why this series has left me so happy: it was a pleasure to read, it has unexpected twists and turns, and it challenged me in my own views about life and society.

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Source: http://memes.com/img/184529