Search

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Tag

human psyche

Raven’s Blood – Cassandra Lawson – Highly Recommended

Religion, the dominion of the human mind;
Property, the dominion of human needs; and
Government, the dominion of human conduct,
represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement
and all the horrors it entails.”– Emma Goldman

What my research told me is that a psychopath cannot change. You’re born like that. – Jeff Lindsay

It was just supposed to kill the poor. Isn’t it ironic that the leeches of society turned into leeches in reality? – Charles Graham IV, Psychopath

raven
A beautiful cover for an incredible book!

Many of the books I have read lately have the same underlying message – the depredation of the poor by the rich – the rich, with a total lack of anything even approaching morality or ethics, a disintegration of the soul. Xenophobia, greed, and a total lack of conscience. As Albert Einstein once said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Raven’s Blood takes this ideation and stretches and molds it, utilizing the beauty and creativity of the Fantasy genre to build a world both unusual and horrifying.

It is always hard for me when I find a book that totally enthralls me to draw a line between raving about the story, the characters, and the world building, and just flat giving away the story. So, here I go, and hopefully I will totally intrigue you without blowing the story!

In a world with a striking resemblance to today, a madman – a madman with wealth, connections, and power – has a plan. A plan that, if successful, will result in the death of millions. Millions of “normal” people, the working class, the poor, all who are not of the privileged rich. Of course, they will keep a “few” of the unwanted poor. Someone does have to take out the trash, right?

Only things don’t work out as Charles Graham IV, his father and small circle of friends expect. For the poor may die by the hundreds of thousands. But they don’t stay dead for long . . .

One hundred years later, America is no longer what it once was. Instead, it is a land of compounds and fenced communities, fear and danger and death. For the ones who came back are undying – and they want blood. And my favorite part is, this is not just another of the ubiquitous zombie novels so prevalent in fantasy today. No, these are vampires, vampires created by the injection of what comes to be called the “Moon Virus,” a virus developed by the Graham Pharmaceutical Corporation specifically to kill the poor.

This is one of the better depictions of vampires I have read. Cassandra Lawson has put much more thought and attention into her vampires, and her efforts are not wasted. Instead, in a world of UF vampires that verges on the boring, (come on, sparkles?) Lawson has developed a well-thought-out story of not only mindless killing machines, the “Turned,” but also the “Born Vampires.” While the Turned are mindless killers, Born are much as they were – only now with fangs, and a requirement for blood.

Raven is a half-wood nymph, half human who has known much pain and tremendous loss in her life. She witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of the Turned when she was still a child. Taken in my her human father, Raven comes to care for the humans who surround her, taking on the responsibility for a divergent group of human children, raising them as her own family.

Captured by a group of Borns during a raid for medical supplies, Raven throws herself on the mercy their leader in order to save her children. What happens next is an impressively well written story of personal growth and change and a dystopian novel which even a non-dystopian-lover like myself dove into with both feet and didn’t come up for air until the book was, much to my disappointment, complete.

There is a strong paranormal romance aspect to the book, which turned out to be a lot of fun, though the sociological and adventure aspects of the book were what truly inspired my love of the book. I am hoping for a second book featuring this interesting world.

While rationalism at the individual level is a plea for more personal autonomy from cultural norms, at the social level it is often a claim- or arrogation- of power to stifle the autonomy of others. – Thomas Sowell

This book was provided to me in return for an honest review by the good people at storycartel.com. All comments are my own!

Review: Shimmer In The Dark: Rogue Genesis by Ceri London

rogue
Click cover to purchase the book. Do it! You KNOW you want to!!!!

Ceri London has written, in Shimmer In The Dark: Rogue Genesis one of the most powerful science fiction/fantasy novels I have read since Dune. Well, actually, it is better than Dune. More creative, with a wider range and depth of reality, that is approachable to all readers. This is, without doubt, a science fiction novel, but it also has strong ties to military-political intrigue in the present day which grounds the novel in a level of believability even when the “fiction” portion of the science asks you to stretch your mind into new levels of belief.

Some, I suppose, would lean more towards calling it ‘fantasy’ as there are no space ships and Earth colonies on other planets. If you are one of the ‘hard sci-fi geeks’ that some of my friends are, you might be disappointed by no space rockets blasting around, I suppose, but that should in no way deter you from reading this jewel of a book.

Unlike many, I have no problem stretching credulity to new levels. I don’t expect a science fiction or fantasy book to stay within the realm of ‘probability’. I expect to be taken to a new place, a new level of existence, while I expect that existence to still feel believable. I expect to be charmed into a new sense of reality for a short while. Something that Ms. London has done brilliantly in this, the first of a four-part series.

Niall Kearey is a very special person, with a very special family. As has been described by the blurb on the book, he can, with is mind, reach out across galaxies to what he thinks is a ‘dream world’ – a world “racing towards annihilation” – a world soon to pass into alignment with Earth, with unknown outcome. Here on Earth, there are power brokers, secret societies, power-hungry and amoral politicians, and a corrupt U.S. Military. A military and power structure that will do anything, including the destruction of Niall’s beloved family, to bring him under their control and use him for world domination. Of this, and possibly other worlds . . .

London, in my estimation, did a beautiful job of making me feel her characters. I actually understood, and admired, Niall. My admiration was not only for his special abilities, but also for his love of and deep commitment to his family. In the face of horrific circumstances, he stands by his family and continues to fight for them, when everyone around him is betraying his faith, his honour and his commitment to country. The very thing that Niall has fought for, and watched his friends die for, is pulled into the light, and that light shines upon a dark and venomous snarl of greed and xenophobia that would happily watch whole civilizations die, accepting only the technology and power that those cultures might provide. In all, humanity at it’s slimiest, humanity who would sentence millions to death, while gobbling up their scientists to live as virtual prisoners, slaves to the military-industrial complex. Yep. Humans all right. Humans who would imprison a decorated military man under “correct supervision”, using him as a lab rat to assure his “asset to this nation” status.

Yes, a lot of the book made me sick. I want to howl in despair at the horror of the reality of what humans truly are, what they are truly capable of.  Of human avarice, hatred, brutality and vicious self-aggrandizement, the truly black and horrific souls within. Sick, in that everything that London writes is so very gut-wrenchingly believable in so many ways. So real within the fictitious world that she creates. Amidst the black holes, space-time jumps, dark matter universes and other fascinating and well-researched portions of the book, London delves into the human psyche, and lays bare its soul. And proves, beyond a doubt, the very reasons that, even if there are other civilizations out there, my view of how they would view Earth is “That poor, beautiful orb, filled with the trailer trash of the universe, vicious, dangerous creatures to be avoided at any cost.”  I can see the signs hanging in space now:

DANGER

Overall, if you are a lover of science fiction style fantasy, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It was on my back burner for a while, a lot longer than I had wished for it to be, but I am so very glad that I finally sat down and read it. It was well worth the time. More than worth it. This book needs a lot more attention than it is getting right now. Go out and buy it. I can guarantee you that you will be recommending it to your friends. It’s very creativity of concept makes it a standout in the field. That should draw you in. What will keep you there is the writing, the characterizations, and her deep understanding of the human psyche will keep you reading, and watching for the next in the series.

Highly recommended.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑