Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

book discussions > The Immortals: What happens after My Soul to Keep?

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message 1: by Rashida (new)

Rashida | 264 comments Hey folks,

My Soul to Keep seemed to be a runaway hit after we discussed it in April. But Tananarive Due has written two more books in the series, The Living Blood and Blood Colony: A Novel. Wilhelmina shared with us that there are plans for a fourth novel at some point in the future. So, if you decide to go on in the series, feel free to come back here and drop your thoughts!

message 2: by S (new)

S | 17 comments My Soul to Keep was just so captivating for me I couldn't put it down. Reading into the wee hours of the morning are fresh in my mind. So glad Soul to Keep was a book of the month selection, otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to be introduced to Dawit, Jessica and their family and friends.

Thrilled to know there is a fourth book in the series. As soon as I finished Soul to Keep, I started on Living Blood. This book was even more enthralling. Finished it faster than Soul to Keep.

Began reading Blood Colony, though I must say this one has started off slow. So slow in fact I've become distracted by another book. Hopefully I'll finish The Boy Next Door in time to make some comments in the group discussion.

Thanks for the post and information on the possible fourth book.

message 3: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments The 4th book in the series will be entitled "Blood Prophecy " and will be released in 2011.

I loved The Living Blood, but I'll have to retrieve it from my daughter before commenting, since I read it years ago.

message 4: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I'm about 300 pages into the Living Blood at this point. I was surprised to see how differently this book was set up from the original, multiple plot lines, etc. fun reading though.

message 5: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments intense.

message 6: by George (new)

George | 759 comments yes, that works, too.

message 7: by William (last edited May 19, 2010 10:05AM) (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
I read the Living Blood before my Soul to Keep. I just reread my review of the former and can say that had I read them in order I would not have had one of my criticisms; that the Living Blood did not sufficiently explore the religious and mystical meanings of the immortals. Little did I know that these subjects were exhaustively covered in the first book. So I withdraw that criticism but I still felt as though the child endangerment was hieghtened to point where I began to feel uncomfortable. I just am quick to reject books that portray violence to innocent children and I felt the childs struggle with luekemia was heartwrenching and overly long and Jessica's childs "possession" scenes sometimes too graphic...but this is just my personal "wince" level talking. Otherwise I agree that it is a worthy sequel.

On another note...Due has just co-written the third book in Blair Underwood's detective series. Its set in Capetown S.A., obviously a place Due has spent a lot of time in. I'm actually headed back to S.A. for my second visit in June and I plan to take a copy along. Has anyone read any of Underwoods other books? Are they any good? I presume the addition of T. Due to the writing duties will make it an enjoyable read.

message 8: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I have! I really enjoyed them and, in my opinion, the second, In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Story, is even better than the first, Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Story. My only caveat is for those who are uncomfortable with sex scenes. The sex scenes are explicit, but it's healthy sex and/or integral to the plot line. Steven Barnes - one of the three authors, Due's husband, and a prolific author himself - says that they are making up for all of the Hollywood movies where the Black leading man, be it Denzel, Will Smith or whoever, seems to be completely asexual. Best looking guys in the movies; no love. The sex scenes don't bother grandmotherly me, but I wouldn't have given these books to my mother! I, on the other hand, am really looking forward to reading From Cape Town with Love.

message 9: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments Wilhelmina wrote: "Due's husband, and a prolific author himself - says that they are making up for all of the Hollywood movies where the Black leading man, be it Denzel, Will Smith or whoever, seems to be completely asexual."

thank goodness, again, for The Wire, which uses to great advantage lance reddick's fabulous body (he plays cedric daniels), puts him in bed with a white woman, and the woman (deirdre lovejoy, who plays DA rhonda pearlman) looks normal and is smart and accomplished, AND the relationship is long-lasting.

also, bill, this group's new bff tananarive due co-wrote all three mysteries.

message 10: by William (last edited May 19, 2010 08:36PM) (new)

William (be2lieve) | 1303 comments Mod
Didn't know she did all three...Her picture is prominent on the cover of this one though...

Speaking of the Wire.. I was one degree seperated from this guy in many ways yet only in America and because of his own insistence would one consider him "Black" by his outward appearance.

message 11: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments i followed his death when it happened, but didn't know he was black. from the article you link to "Even with early signs of journalistic success, Mills had to push for a place in the largely white TV industry. After an angry correspondence in 1994 with David Milch, the executive producer of "NYPD Blue," over the lack of black writers, Mills ended up being hired for the show." makes you appreciate having barack obama as president with fresh eyes.

message 12: by George (new)

George | 759 comments Neither did I. loved the show though. Unfortunately, the link above didn't work for me though.

message 13: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments here is the clean one, george.

message 14: by George (new)

George | 759 comments thanks very much. it's an excellent article.

message 15: by S (new)

S | 17 comments Thanks for the 411 on Due and her detective series. They're on my list of must haves for the week...wee hours of the morn, here I come.

Wondering if Due will tour during the debut of the 4th book next year. Her website doesn't list anything. Would be great to have autographed books...and maybe a snapshot with this incredibly riveting writer.

message 16: by Toni (new)

Toni (mshoni) | 41 comments I've also read some of Steven Barnes' stand alone work. He did 2 alternate history novels, Lion's Blood and Zulu Heart. They explore what would happen if America were colonized by Moors from Africa who imported Europeans to use as slaves. Very interesting. He also has a book called Great Sky Woman about a prehistoric tribe in Africa. Never read anything like it and I loved it. His books definitely take me out of my reading comfort zone.

message 17: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments thank you toni!

message 18: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I have Zulu Heart, but I haven't read it yet because I realized that it was the second in the series. I want to read Lion's Blood first. I remember having heard that there was supposed to be a third in the series, but maybe he changed his mind.

Barnes and Due are an amazing couple. Barnes is also an expert in martial arts, has collaborated with other SF writers on award-winning books, and has written extensively for TV. He wrote a terrific episode of Stargate:SG1 and he novelized one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine . (OK, I'm a nerd!)

message 19: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments hahahah. i started formulating a thought much like that expressed in the parentheses at the end halfway through you post, then realized you had beat me to the punch. drat.

message 20: by Toni (new)

Toni (mshoni) | 41 comments Barnes' martial arts expertise is featured in the couple's new Tennyson Hardwick mystery (with Blair Underwood).

message 21: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments How many of us have gotten the chance to read The Living Blood? Should we talk about it now or wait?

message 22: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I'm ready whenever the others are. I finished it this past week.

message 23: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments ready too.

message 24: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Here's a great blog post from Due about writing the next book in the series, "Blood Prophesy":

message 25: by Rashida (new)

Rashida | 264 comments Hey folks,

Back from some international travels. Have you all seen Jo's excellent review of the Living Blood? I think it gives some very good starting points for discussion. I know she linked to it in the MStK discussion, but can you link again, Jo?

I liked LB even better than MStK. How do others rank it?

message 26: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I liked it at least as well as MStK, maybe a bit more. A five star book for me!

message 27: by Mistinguette (last edited May 30, 2010 07:20AM) (new)

Mistinguette Smith | 191 comments I liked each book in the series a little less than the one before. My Soul to Keep just rocked my world: a new entry into the spec fic genre; the rare cast of fully-dimensional black central characters; and, of course, my introduction to Due as a masterful writer.

Living Blood captured my interest through the question of the compelling interests that are usually addressed by religion: is it a higher calling to preserve the survival of our own, or to risk sacrificing ourselves for the good of humanity?

message 28: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments i'm reading the third volume in the trilogy, Blood Colony (2/3 of the way through), and i'm finding in it the same depth of understanding, the same complexity of ideas, the same great originality i found in the other two. i'm at a point, with this series, that i don't even care much about the plot anymore, but about the questions mistinguettes astutely points out. what's the role of faith, religion, spirituality, and, in christianity, the revelation in human life? what is our relation to the revelation? interestingly, tananarive due writes in her postcript to Blood Colony that in order to write it she had to put herself through a crash course in christianity. not sure how much knowledge of christianity she had before writing this, but she seems to be grappling with what i see as some pretty central issue.

my review of The Living Blood is here, but i don't recommend it to anyone who has not yet read the book!

message 29: by jo (last edited Jun 02, 2010 05:34PM) (new)

jo | 1031 comments having finished Blood Colony, i'd now like to share, lovingly, my review of it, which is as full of spoilers as my review of The Living Blood was, and similarly conceived as an invitation to conversation.

i want to say, for those who have not read the books in order, that while book 2 (LB) can be read as a stand-alone, i believe that book 3 (BC) loses a lot of its meaning if not read in sequence.

message 30: by Rashida (new)

Rashida | 264 comments I agree with jo that reading BC without the previous two is inadvisable. Although, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I didn't have such high expectations for it on the basis of my complete love for LB.

Do folks feel like Due maintains the "realness" and "authenticity" of her characters that she so strongly established in MStK as she progresses through the series? I certainly felt so with #2, not so much with #3.

message 31: by George (new)

George | 759 comments Work, work, work, good Lord, just when I was ready to discuss LB, here we are running after BC. I'm not an immortal, I do need to sleep ever now and then.

Actually, I have BC at home, just haven't opened it up yet as I'm currently on Drown.

message 32: by Rashida (new)

Rashida | 264 comments What did you think of LB, George?

message 33: by George (new)

George | 759 comments Well, I was pretty fond of it all in all. Having grown up in North Florida and lived in Tallahassee and have some family there, it was kind of fun to see such a novel set at least partially there and I was just down there in April. apparently I missed a few things though. I don't know that I would say it's superior to the original, but it's fast paced, interesting and still unique from other books I've read. But, I liked the more leasurely pace of the original that allowed more character development and atmosphere, at least in my opinon. And you?

message 34: by Rashida (new)

Rashida | 264 comments I think I liked the faster pace of LB, it was truly a "can't put down" read for me, both times I read it. I also liked its focus on the more paranormal, it was a much creepier book, to me, which I enjoyed immensely. It seemed like a bolder inversion of the typical to have such strong characters of color in this type of book than MStK. I also found the focus on the parent/child relationship, as opposed to the spousal relationship, more gripping. But I suspect these are all very personal preferences.

message 35: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I'm well into the third novel now, and so far I find it inferior to the first two. the 2nd is definitely a cliff hanger from page to page and I did find myself running through it to see what would happen next. that's not the case in this one, and so far it doesn't really grab me on any level. Intellectually, I still prefer the first though because of the wonderful blending of the black experience over the history of the US and the Afrocentric millieu of Dawit and his group. for me the second is more fun, but less unique. the third's place, has yet to be determined. but we'll see.

message 36: by Mistinguette (new)

Mistinguette Smith | 191 comments George: based on your liking the wonderful blending of the black experience over the history of the US and the Afrocentric millieu of Dawit and his group , you might also enjoy Steven Barnes' alt.historical novel Lion's Blood.

Barnes is Tananarive Due's husband, and Lion's Blood speculates : what might have happened if the (black, Muslim) Moors had colonized the New World instead of the Spanish, and bought (white, Irish) slaves from the Norsemen to work their new land? Fun, heroic quest stuff and a little deeper than the beach read I expected.

message 37: by George (new)

George | 759 comments thanks. I'll have to give it a shot. I hadn't heard anything about it.

message 38: by S (new)

S | 17 comments Finished Blood Colony this week. Though it is not on the same level as MStK and LB, as most have said, the book did keep my interest and invoked thought.

The other immortals, Sanctus Cruor, is awfully similar to some religious beliefs that there are two races of people - once created by God and the other by evil itself. hmm.

BC explained the creation of Sanctus Cruor. Then went on to say how its creation was not intended; that the blood and letter were only delivered to Stefan as a result of an inept solider...Creation of Khaldun has yet to be told.

Throughout the series, Due intricately threads correlations of Christian beliefs. It makes me wonder of her own faith beliefs and what her messages are meant to convey.

With the at times predictable, and the "really just to far out" parts of the book, overall I did find it enjoyable.

It was wonderful to see both Jessica and Dewit back together (though changed by life's experiences), and their extended family. There's a kindred spirit among them that was just so comforting.

**Spoiler Alert**
Due's decision to end BC with the imminent marriage of Fana and Michel seems to imply that this sense of family will continue into the next book.

It has me anxious and hoping that her storytelling of MStK and especially LB will continue in book #4...and maybe even into movies. Would just LOVE to see these books on the big silver screen!

message 39: by George (new)

George | 759 comments ah, but who would play the leads? Denzel is getting a bit old to play an immortal.

message 40: by Mistinguette (new)

Mistinguette Smith | 191 comments Starring Blair Underwood:

message 41: by George (new)

George | 759 comments well, given his connections with the author, I suppose that's not too surprising. let's see how he does. I rather liked him on HBO's In Treatment, but otherwise, I don't find him a very intriguing actor. I'd take Don Cheadle or Terrance Howard any day.

message 42: by S (new)

S | 17 comments Well George and Mistinguettes...

I've never understood the sex symbol status that both of these men have garnished. Both are incredible actors, certainly Denzel without question.

Attractiveness...their prowlness...the sheer virility of either? Just don't see it.

Terrance Howard? Most definitely rises to claim his sex symbol prize. However he also possesses something else - a "bad boy, don't turn your back on me" undercurrent that leaves me leery of him in all that he does.

I know there's the perfect actor out there (and actress for that matter), the names escape me at the moment. I'll be sure to share once they come to me.

message 43: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I'll be waiting. I just think Terrance would do better than Blair. and that Don would run circles around both. but who would be the perfect Dawit? I couldn't really say.

message 44: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 191 comments Mistinguettes wrote: "George: based on your liking the wonderful blending of the black experience over the history of the US and the Afrocentric millieu of Dawit and his group , you might also enjoy Steven Barnes' alt.h..."

Sounds intriguing Mistinguettes. This may already be on my to-read list.

message 45: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments i hope they use as many actors from The Wire as possible. i miss them terribly!

message 46: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments Have you been watching "Treme", jo?

message 47: by George (new)

George | 759 comments I only caught the opening show when I was in the States in April. how's that been going? I was a big Wire fan as well.

message 48: by jo (new)

jo | 1031 comments no, mina, don't have hbo.

message 49: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 2049 comments I love "Treme", especially the music (and the acting and the writing!), and whenever you are able to see it, you will see some very familiar faces. Working for those guys (Homicide; The Corner; Wire; Treme) is the closest thing to tenure in the entertainment industry!

message 50: by George (last edited Jun 28, 2010 12:33AM) (new)

George | 759 comments I certainly liked the idea for it. I always liked New Orleans, having grown up on the Gulf Coast, and the music, crazy about the music. I had somewhat mixed feelings about the opening show, but it takes a while to firmly establish characters for these shows. I'll probably pick it up on DVD once they release it.

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