The following is a shorter version of my complete review of this book which appeared on Shomeret: Masked Reviewer. See my complete review at http://sh The following is a shorter version of my complete review of this book which appeared on Shomeret: Masked Reviewer. See my complete review at http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...
When I reviewed Seasons of the Fool by Lynne Cantwell on Amazon and Goodreads, she asked me if I wanted an autographed print copy. Since my space for print format books is extremely limited, I declined. Instead I accepted a free digital copy of The Pipe Woman Chronicles Omnibus for review.
The central character of this series is lawyer Naomi Witherspoon whose practice focuses on mediation. Naomi is a very likeable lawyer. She loves to help people and wants all parties in a case to benefit. Mediation is more compatible with Naomi's ethos than litigation where there are always winners and losers.
As the series opens with Seized, Naomi is a mediator for a corporate law firm in Denver. Her life changes drastically after she attends a sweat lodge run by Ute medicine man Looks Far Guzman. Looks Far is a remarkably eccentric character who I found delightful, and he has an enduring connection with Naomi.
Unfortunately, there was an element in the sweat lodge ceremony which was portrayed inaccurately. I did suspect that Cantwell might have thought that her readers would be uncomfortable with a more authentic description. Yet later in Annealed Book #5, she didn't flinch from portraying a traditional Lakota Sun Dance which would probably make New Age readers uneasy. So I'm not entirely certain why she sanitized a practice of the Native American Church in Seized.
My favorite book in this series was Gravid which is Book #4. Cantwell is at her best when she is dealing with family, friendships and the spiritual commitments of mortals. I also liked the way Cantwell deals with both inner conflicts and interpersonal conflicts. She understands human beings far better than Gods. The character dynamics in Gravid were wonderful. I loved the introduction of the journalist, Antonia, who is associated with the Greco-Roman pantheon. Antonia is a strong woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. This is also the only book in this series where I thought that all the spiritual/mythical content was well-handled.
After the text of all the novels in The Pipe Woman Chronicles Omnibus concludes, Cantwell reveals that there will be a new trilogy that is a continuation of this one called Land,Sea,Sky and provides an excerpt of the first one. It is my hope that she will continue to deal with the problems of complex human characters, their relationships, their spirituality and their paranormal gifts. If she does bring the Gods and mythology into her work, I hope that she consults multiple sources about them. Having a more complete picture will improve her portrayals of divine beings and mythological figures.
I like Norse mythology, but opinions on this subject can vary widely. This is why I tried not to let it bother me when the author said that there wasI like Norse mythology, but opinions on this subject can vary widely. This is why I tried not to let it bother me when the author said that there was a rune that signified God, but not any God in particular. I personally don't know of such a rune. I went through my books on the Elder Futhark and couldn't find such an interpretation of any of the runes. That doesn't mean that this interpretation doesn't exist. I've just never heard of it. It really depends on perspective.
I personally thought it was odd to read a book about a Valkyrie dedicated to Odin, but the dramatic fulcrum of the plot was Thor. It seemed as if Odin was helpless without Thor which didn't seem right to me.
Why did the author choose to introduce figures from Greek mythology when there were figures from Norse mythology who could have handled the situation? I think it's likely that the author is more familiar with Greek mythology than Norse mythology, but I could be wrong.
I won this book from Booklikes and received an e-copy from the author. I wanted to like it more than I did....more
This book was my favorite read of 2013. I found out about it through the myth and fairy tale group Into The Forest when they were reading Hood: The KiThis book was my favorite read of 2013. I found out about it through the myth and fairy tale group Into The Forest when they were reading Hood: The King Raven Trilogy - Book 1.
What I liked most of about this book is that Knight views Robin Hood as a legend rather than a historical personage. As a legend, Robin Hood evolves over time. Every period and indeed every author can have his or her own Robin Hood. Whether there was ever a historical personage by that name who inspired the legend is unimportant to Knight and to me.
There are three types of Arthurian novels that I have encountered. There are the Christian grail books which have to take an unusual approach to interThere are three types of Arthurian novels that I have encountered. There are the Christian grail books which have to take an unusual approach to interest me. There are the de-mythologizing novels that explain away the magical elements of the myth in realistic terms. These can be well-written, but they aren't the type of Arthurian fiction that I prefer. Among them are books that focus on Arthur as a military leader and are mainly composed of battle scenes. Lastly, there are the Arthurian fantasies that go back to pre-Christian sources of the myth and emphasize its magical components.
Mercedes Lackey has written a hybrid of the last two categories. There are historical elements based on research into the cultures of the Celts of ancient Britain, but there is also magic. There are humans performing magical spells, and the non-human denizens of Annwyn, an ancient Celtic name for the realm of Faerie. There is a great deal of focus on a military leader in this novel, but it isn't Arthur. It's the protagonist Gwenhwyfar. She is a strong character with whom I could identify. I especially loved the way she totally despised life at Arthur's court, and how much the superficiality of the ladies of the court bored her. I feel the same way about any novel that primarily deals with royal courts.
The only reason why this book doesn't get five stars is because of a conversation that Gwenhwyfar has with the Christian Abbot Gildas. It's terrific that she found common ground between her Paganism and his Christianity, but it bothered me that she seemed to have a very modern perspective on sacrifice. In most contemporary religious practices, including modern Neo-Paganism, sacrifice has been attenuated or is entirely absent. Ancient beliefs in cosmic balance have given way to the idea that sacrifice is no more than a macabre superstition. That is the attitude that Lackey's Gwenhwyfar expresses. The reason why the shift in attitudes about sacrifice is important is because it was bound up in the relationship of humanity toward nature and the animals with whom we share this planet. Sacrificial offerings were meant to respect the spirit of the place where it was made and of the beings (both plant and animal kinds)that we kill in order to live. Traditional practitioners of the religions of first peoples are in continuity with this idea. The lack of any concept of sacrifice as an acknowledgment is both a cause and an effect of our distance from nature. It has led to ecological destruction and climate change. Our species will eventually be destroyed because so many of us have forgotten what our ancestors knew about sacrifice. Gwenhwyfar was brought up with a completely different world view. I would have thought that she would have understood sacrifice and that she would have expressed that understanding to Gildas in a way that he could understand--perhaps by referring to the Crucifixion and its symbolic re-creation in the Christian mass.
There were things I liked about this book. Most importantly, I liked Hermod's struggle to preserve Midgard (the human realm)during Ragnarok (the end oThere were things I liked about this book. Most importantly, I liked Hermod's struggle to preserve Midgard (the human realm)during Ragnarok (the end of current existence). But I figured out how the book would end before it happened which always annoys me. I also didn't particularly like the resolution.
The main character Mist and the Valkyrie premise was very problematic for me. The way I understand Valkyries, they are supposed to have a strong connection and commitment to Odin. Mist doesn't. She works within a military type structure with a chain of command. Odin is quite marginal to her and there is almost no presence of Odin within this book. I find this quite bizarre and disappointing.
I also didn't like the portrayal of the Goddess Frigg, Odin's wife, or the behavior of Hermod toward her.