BOOK & BLOG
April 5, 2009
Books of the Week:
I’m sure a portion of you were “Buffy” fans, right? “Buffy” was one of the smartest shows ever on television. So you remember Tara, Willow’s girlfriend, a witch who met a sad end. The actress playing Tara was Amber Benson, and she’s been writing for several years in tandem with Christopher Golden, a noted science fiction writer. DEATH’S DAUGHTER is Amber’s first book on her own. Not too surprisingly it’s an urban fantasy novel. Benson’s protagonist is Calliope Reaper-Jones, who just happens to be . . . you guessed it . . . the daughter of Death. Not his only daughter, mind you . . .his addle-pated middle daughter, who cast a forgetting charm on herself so she wouldn’t remember who she was. DEATH’S DAUGHTER is lighthearted, engaging, and charming all the way through, and you’ll enjoy Calliope’s adventures as she tries to complete the tasks that will allow her to become Death and rescue her father and his council from their abductors.
I’ve enjoyed all Rob Thurman’s books. When I got down my TBR pile to DEATHWISH, I was touched and delighted to find that Rob mentioned me in the Acknowledgements. I think DEATHWISH is the strongest of the Cal Leandros books because the point of view switches back and forth from Cal to his brother Niko. The bonds the brothers have made with other supernatural creatures is shaken to the core when Cal’s evil kin, the Auph, begin appearing to the brothers again. They are playing a game of cat and mouse before they snatch Cal for good. Cal realizes they intend to kill everyone he loves in the most painful way possible. If you’ve read the other books in this series (MADHOUSE, MOONSHINE, NIGHTLIFE), you really can’t miss DEATHWISH. Thurman’s series is a unique entry in the crowded paranormal field.
WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE continues the troubles and triumphs of Rachel Morgan, an extraordinary witch who tries to be good and obey the precepts of white witches. Rachel has been called on to practice black magic from time to time, though, and she’s increasingly shunned by the respectable magic practitioners in WWBC. This makes life harder for everyone around her, including her friend Ivy, a living vampire. I’m assuming you’ve read other books in Harrison’s very popular series, so I’ll just let you know that Tink’s wife is weakening in this book, Ivy is still conflicted, Skimmer is in jail (yay!), and Rachel loses yet another boyfriend, though not to death. I wouldn’t miss a Harrison book for anything.
Some weeks I find I have no idea what to write about. Though I know I haven’t produced anything new for this website in a couple of weeks, I did write a blog for the Femmes Fatales website this past week please visit the Femmes and read it.
This is pollen season in southern Arkansas, and all our cars and our lawn chairs have become covered in yellow powder. I’m sure I would, too, if I sat still long enough. Everything is blooming, the birds are chirping away, and it’s a charming and optimistic time of the year.
In the spring, I often wander down to our little pond to see if a rough floating branch could be a small alligator. I’ve already planned what to do when I spot an alligator (put the dogs in the house and call Animal Control), but so far the branches have proved (disappointingly) to be just branches.
BFF Paula saw a bear at the back of her property, which like mine is in a rural area. Paula Knows Her Stuff about nature, and I believe her when she sights a bear. At a softball a couple of years ago, a game warden told the people sitting beside me that he’d seen a panther while he was out hunting, though most websites will tell you panthers don’t live in Arkansas any more. Of course we have razorbacks, feral hogs. The University of Arkansas teams weren’t named Razorbacks out of the blue.
A thicket of bushes in our meadow shelters deer from time to time. I can hear them chuffing if I wander close in the winter daytime. A possum moved into our toolshed during the cold weather, and startled our son quite a bit when he moved things around in one corner. We left the toolshed door cracked for a month after that, because we were scared we’d trap the little guy in there.
I love this evidence that the world is not totally asphalt. I love the fact that we share nature with so many other creatures, and some of them are stronger and wilier than we are. We’re not always the top dog, so to speak. That bears remembering.
In our arrogance, and our reliance on machinery, we sometimes seem to forget that we’re vulnerable. Every dog we’ve ever had has been snakebitten, for example. That’s the great thing about Spring; it renews our sense of life and connectedness with nature. But sometimes nature is not sweet or gentle, not all lop-eared bunnies. Nature demands its own respect, and while we enjoy it, we’d be wise to remember that.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris