Monthly Archives: February 2012

Week 8, Book 6: Age of Fire Book One: DRAGON CHAMPION by E. E. Knight

Age of Fire Book One: Dragon Champion by E. E. Knight
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 – “it was amazing”

Where I Got This Book: I bought this book at the local Chapters-Indigo store up in the mall. I had a couple of gift cards for the chain (which is headed by Indigo but out here we only get Chapters stores and the smaller Coles stores), so I went on a book buying spree a few weeks ago, to load up on books for coming weeks. It was hard to finally limit myself down to what I could buy with the gift cards! But one of the books that made the cut was this one, by E. E. Knight with some gorgeous covert art of a dragon (I suggest following the link above to see it).

The Book and Me: Aaah, dragons! I have a more than minor obsession with them. I adore any incarnation, from classic maiden-eating knight-fighting unintelligent (or at least, not sentient) beasts to the talking, immortal magical beings of High Fantasy. But there is always a special place in my heart for versions of dragons that are different from the normal tropes. And the promise of not just intelligent, sentient being-dragons in this series, but the fact that it is from their own point of view had me hooked the moment I read the back-cover blurb. I have never, as far as I know, read anything by E. E. Knight before though I know I have heard the name somewhere.

My Rating: My first 5 out of 5 on Goodreads for the year! I would have loved it anyway, being dragons and all, but like all the best books it was addictive and nigh impossible to put down. The writing is excellent, the characters are well-written and interesting, and I was completely absorbed by the depths of the Drakine culture, indeed, the presence of background to all the various cultures the reader comes across. And it proved to be a version of dragons as novel as I was expecting – in other words, a very refreshing take on old tropes with wonderful new aspects thrown in, such as the importance of song to dragons.

Why You Should Read It: Because dragons! No, seriously, if you’re a dragon aficionado like me, this is a series you must read. I certainly plan on buying the rest of the books in the series, in lovely paperback matching this one so they can sit on my shelf in place of honour with my beloved Naomi Novik and Tolkien and Tamora Pierce, their spines creased with love and appreciation. But it is not a gimmicky book, it is solidly plotted, fascinating, engaging, and features interesting, likable characters set in a well-developed fantasy world.

Potential Spoilers Beneath Cut
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Week 7, Book 5: The Hero and The Crown

The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 – “really liked it”

Where I Got This Book: If you remember last week’s post, I got this book the same place as I purchased the first book in the Damar series: the used bookstore in my hometown. It’s in a bit better condition than TBS, though – no tape on the spine! I am such a sucker for the very 80’s paperback book cover art. Raised gold lettering and all.

The Book and Me: So, remember how I kept saying “never read this one before, really looking forward to it!”? Well, I was wrong! I had read this before. When or where, I have no clue, but I definitely have. It was less familiar and less well-remembered in my mind though, and I’m assuming it was around the same time as reading TBS.

My Rating: Again, a 4 out of 5 on Goodreads. I almost put it as a 5/5, because I really, really love this book. But not quite! It is engrossing and fascinating and thoroughly delightful. TBS was still fresh, of course, which made it doubly interesting to spot bits that are of importance in that book… and at moments the knowledge I had from TBS made it so that I could predict something coming up (such as meeting Luthe), which was particularly interesting! It wasn’t spoiler-y, really, but with this book as a prequel, not a first book, it is quite elegantly done, I think.

Potential Spoilers Beneath Cut
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Silence is Not Support: On Coming Out to Family

We all know the story. After months or years of living in heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, mind-numbing dread, of living with this dread that even when buried down will reappear time and time again, each and every time you are confronted with the idea… after months or years (or even weeks, or days – it is a dread as deep as your bones and as long as your limbs, not as long the time you live with it), you finally wrangle up the courage to Come Out. To your parents.

No, I haven’t yet. Not quite. I’m getting there (I think). But we know the story.

You finally stutter out, standing in the kitchen clutching your fear into your heart, or scrawl in a trembling hand across the paper that has become that fear, your story, your truth. Mom, Dad, Aunt, Gran… I’m gay. I’m bi. I’m trans. I’m poly, ace, non-binary… And they say “I know.”

They dare to say, to your face, to you, “Yes, I know. I have known. I have always suspected. I was waiting for you.”

They. Fucking. Dare.

For some people, it is perhaps not as enraging, not as infuriating, not as much of a betrayal. For some people, their parents/guardians WERE explicit, to some degree, in acknowledging support for those who are not of typical sexuality or gender experience. All it takes is even one sentence, one comment of “Oh, I’m glad the government has supported [sexuality or gender rights issue here].”

This is not about that. This is about those whose parents, like mine, have never given a single fucking hint, not a single damn clue, that they could be supportive. That they could be not homophobic. They have kept their silence, maybe thinking that silence is better than explicit hate.

Maybe it is better.

But in a society that is heterosexist, that is not good enough. As with any other axis of oppression or discrimination (sexism, racism, classism, cissexism, insert -ism here), the onus is on them, is on everyone to prove that they are not. To prove that they are not heterosexist, or not homophobic, or are at the very damn least working towards the point of not being so.

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Week 6, Book 4: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 – “really liked it”

Where I Got This Book: I picked up The Blue Sword at the used bookstore back in my hometown when I was there over winter holidays. I hadn’t gone looking for it, but was just browsing the shop for anything that looked interesting – and I spotted this. A delightfully well-used paperback copy of TBS with some gorgeous cover art in classic fantasy paperback style. The front cover is held on, low down on the spine, by strategically layered Scotch tape, the edges of the pages have gone slightly yellow and creases mar the spine and covers, white showing through where the colour has peeled off. I’m something of a sucker for used books… particularly the scent of them. And this copy of TBS is a prime example of that. I love taking in used books and giving them, at least for a time, a new home.

The Book and Me: I’ve actually read TBS once before, many years ago. Enough years ago that it meets my rules for “must not have read in past 5 years”. I remember loving it, but not a lot more. I did remember the title, however, for a very long time, which is unusual. I’m usually quite crap at remembering titles of books I own, let alone ones I just borrow from libraries (which is how I read this, the first time). As you may notice, its taken me longer than usual to get around to finishing this book. I suspect part of that is because it is, for all that more than 5 years are past, a reread and so there is less urgency in me to finish it. But mostly I’ve been delayed by busyness in school and life.

My Rating: I have yet to rate a book 5/5 on Goodreads this year, if I recall correctly. TBS comes quite close to deserving the “it was amazing”. Really, if I could give half-points this would be a 4.5, because I more than “really liked it” – I love this book. Loved it the first time and still in love with it now. It is a sheer delight to read and not at all for nostalgic reasons – although I do suspect this is one of those books which has had significant influence on me in my tastes, beliefs, and writing.

Potential Spoilers Beneath Cut
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