I’ve looked at Storm Born by Richelle Mead repeatedly, at the book stores, for some time. On our last jaunt up to one of the used bookstores (as used bookstores are the sure place to find books, as opposed to other sorts of merchandise) I snagged a copy of the book and then set it aside for future reading. It was supposed to join the rank of Dangling Carrots with the rest of the dangling root veggies that are awaiting my getting through deadlines for writing and crafting, but alas. I figured, I needed something for the busride to and from work, now that it’s too rainy to knit while I wait (because that’s not exactly what they mean when they say needle felting) and so, it came with me. And I lost an entire two evenings to the book, and its follow-up book.
I bemoan the treatment of fey and vampires and the whole list of things that I think are overdone and overdone mostly (to me) unsatisfactorly. I read a whole lot of the urban fantasy/paranormal genre, including romances, and sometimes they’re entertaining, and other times they’re painful. There are few that are painful writing-wise — my problems with, say, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books, or Alyssa Day’s books are not rooted in their writing skill so much as they’re treatment of gods as convenient villian cookie-cutter characters. And this sets me up time and again for disappointment. (Doubly so, because with many of these series, the premises is interesting. I don’t care how many similar stories are out there. I’m a reader and a writer. I LIKE stories). I have no problem with gods-as-characters — I’ve got Thanatos in my current WIP — though I personally shy away from writing The Big Gods as characters (it’s my own personal thing). I can handle Artemis being set up as a villian, so long as its handled respectfully. I almost would prefer only those worshipping said gods to write about said gods, but I know that’s not realistic. (For those curious, Thanatos is not part of my ‘devotional family’, but since taking him on as a character, he’s earned himself shrine space in my house).
I’ve digressed a lot, and I know I’ve said that this blog wouldn’t have a whole lot of religious discourse on it, but I can’t talk about these books
without bringing up religion, because the way Richelle handled the involvement of the goddesses she mentions is part of why I loved Storm Born. Mostly Hecate, Persephone, and Selene are not present. They get mentioned as the character’s patron goddesses, but they aren’t part of the story so much as a layer to her personality and history, as well as to how the world is set up — earth, Otherworld, Underworld. Religion as a whole isn’t a focus — the other shaman in the series we know has Christian power-symbols that work just as well, so it’s a bit of the whole “intent in the key” theory, really. Different tools for the same job.
The book (and its sequel) had the right mixture of plot, tension between characters, somewhat original treatment of the fey (not having Titiana or Oberon as characters? Big plus!) and respectful treatment of gods that people still worship to make me very happy. If you’re a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s books, you may like these. I know I’ll be checking out her other series.