Books & Blog: March 15, 2016

Books of the Week:

  • Marked in Flesh, Anne Bishop
  • Double Dead, Chuck Wendig
  • Staked, Kevin Hearne
  • The Brimstone Deception, Lisa Shearin

Anne Bishop’s worldbuilding is just enthralling. And the world she’s created in the Meg Corbyn books is something special. Meg, held a captive her whole life, has escaped and found a refuge at the Courtyard, a place where humans and the terra indigene (the magical creatures who inhabited Thaisia before humans arrived) have an uneasy peace. That’s blown up by the Humans First and Last movement, a group that believes humans should be entitled to much more land than the terra indigene have let them use. In Marked in Flesh, HFL makes its big move. They don’t know what they’ve unleashed.

Chuck Wendig poses a simple question in Double Dead. What happens to a vampire when the world is overrun by zombies? The zombies have infected most of the population of America while Coburn has been sleeping, and when he awakes, he realizes the scope of the crisis almost immediately. The zombies can’t kill Coburn; but he can’t eat zombies. They’re in competition for the same food. This sounds unremittingly grim, and there are plenty of graphic and grim passages, but ultimately this a book about terms of survival.

Staked is Kevin Hearne’s latest Iron Druid novel, and it’s the consistently even blend of fantasy, character, love, and ancient religious systems. This book has multiple narrators, because with the geographic separation of the characters, it’s simply necessary. Atticus, Granuaile, and Owen all get their turn in telling a story that spans continents, time, and supernatural space. If you’ve read the other books, you must continue with this one! Hearne only gets better.

Lisa Shearin also writes the Raine Benares books, but The Brimstone Deception features Makenna Fraser, a Supernatural Protection and Investigations Agent. The individuals who work for SPI can all see the supernatural creatures around them for what they are. Now, the spread of a drug called Brimstone gives this capability to users, and they can’t stand what they’re seeing. Makenna and her partner, Ian, team up with goblin Rake Danescu, owner of a sex club, to track down the source of the drug and close it down. This is a fun, quick-paced read.

Blog

My distressing viewing this week was the news. Any year we are having a presidential election, the news revs up a notch, but this year is particularly divisive and dramatic.

This week I saw large crowds of Trump followers trying to beat up protesters. And I saw the protesters themselves disrupt the Trump rally.

Both these things are wrong in America. The people who came to hear Trump are entitled to hear Trump. The protesters have the right to protest. And the police surely shouldn’t end up bloody in the attempt to keep the two separate.

I’m not discussing who I’m voting for. And that’s not the point. America was founded to be a nation where people who didn’t care for national policy, or a political candidate, or a new law, should be able to protest publicly.

And a candidate should be able to discuss his hopes for his country without interruption, no matter how lame-brained and divisive his words are. That’s what we are as a nation.

In a year of embarrassment – and I have been wincing when I think of international news commentaries about our political battles — this is the most embarrassing image of all. We have boasted for decades about what makes America great. And now that’s being stamped into the dirt, on camera.

I hope somehow we can return to the civility that should be the norm for politics. I remember there was a time when the gloves stayed on, for the most part. And that was, in my memory, a good time. Can we do it again? I don’t know.

Charlaine Harris