Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs

I love Patricia Briggs Mercy novels. I knew that she had written other books before that, but I hadn't been able to find a copy of Dragon Bones at my local library. I did find a copy at my local Barnes & Noble's bookstore. I read it right after I bought it, and I'm currently on my second read because I just bought Dragon Blood. I started to read the latter only to realize that it had been too long since I had read the first to remember important details. Long story short, I'm reading it for the second time. It's just as good this time around as it was the first, which is not surprising because Briggs has a deft hand at the pen.

We meet Ward just before his father dies and he inherits rule of the keep at Hurog. Ward has been feigning mental disability since his father beat him unconscious around the age of 10. When his father dies, he inherits not only rule, but keep of the family ghost, Oreg.

Ward decides to keep his true intelligence a secret from his uncle Duraugh. That decision ends up being a mistake when the king's lover Garranon and Garranon's brother Landislaw show up at Hurog in search of a missing slave. Throughout history, Hurog has been a refuge for slaves, and Ward keeps that tradition.

In order to thwart Ward, they declare him incompetent to rule and drug him in order to transport him to the kingdom's asylum. Ward escapes, along with Oreg, his father's butler Axiel, the slave woman, and his sister Ciarra. Along the way, they pick up Tosten, Ward's younger brother who escaped their father's wrath after attempting suicide. Ward took him from Hurog and hid him years ago in order to save his life.

The little band heads toward Oranstone, where war is brewing. Ward's reasoning is that war heroes are harder to kill. Along the way, they learn to fight and face mighty betrayal.

I love this book and its sequel! I really wish that there were more books to it. At the same time, I do feel like the storylines were wrapped up well. I didn't feel like there were any loose ends, I just want more of these characters' stories. I wanted to be part of Ward's band and fight for right. Of course, seeing dragons would just be icing on the cake. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Patricia Briggs, loves dragons, and wants a happy ending where the good guys win.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Words Sway Me

I just finished reading a stunning and heartbreaking novel about what might happen if an EMP was detonated over the U.S. Very realistic depiction, in my opinion. I don't know what was worst; imagining this happening for real in my life, the deaths of the elderly, the cannibalism, the need to lock people up in asylums/sanitoriums again, or the death of a child due to lack of insulin. I could very easily turn into a survivalist if I think about it that much. Then again, I would head for my friend Shannon's house in the event of an apocalypse--she would have plenty of green things growing. And a catapult or trebuchet for defense. Plus, those Baker boys are something fierce!

My mother has always said that words are weapons for me. I can slice you to pieces without ever touching you. I try to use my power for good, but it doesn't always work. I guess it follows that words affect me in the same way. I cry much more easily while I am reading a well-written book than I do when I'm watching a movie.

There are books that I have been reading and re-reading for 10-15 years where the characters seem like old friends. There are books I can no longer read because of the deaths of those beloved characters. There is a book that haunts me, that I love, that was probably my introduction to the genre I most love; fantasy. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It is such a book of humanity and haunting beauty. I want to read it again and again, to hold the words close to me. I can't bear it, though. The unicorn's story is too tragic. There is both great hope and great despair in the tale.

I marvel that this one story can absorb so much of myself. I marvel that this author has woven such a tale! Such a deft hand at the pen. Where does his story come from? I want desperately to have the same skill at writing a tale, the same power to bring tears, to have someone read and re-read my words fifty, a hundred times because of their weight, their aura, their transcendence. I fear that I have nothing so pure and amazing within me. I fear that I have that skill within me, but no story to tell. I fear that I have the story, but cannot find the right words.

Words hold me in their grip, tightly. I live my life along their edges. They susurrate over my tongue, whisper in my ears, grip my soul in both their hands and haul me under the deep blue of their gluttonous mouths.