Greetings! Welcome to my blog.
Here, you'll find all sorts of fun things. Prepare yourself for thoughts, movie and book reviews, tips on writing and artwork, amusing things, and an occasional fanfiction.
I hope that you enjoy yourself here... and as such, I will not hold you back any longer. Take a look around and make yourself comfortable!
-Sincerely, Emmarayn Redding, Author, artist, and eccentric dreamer
“It is not for human kind to divine the future,” Death said slowly, “but for your sake, in your dying moments, I can give you a gift.” Now...
hold of her shoulders, he turned her so that her back was braced
against his chest and directed her gaze out the window.
carefully,” he murmured.
swallowed and looked to the horizon, where the hills seemed to roll
on and on forever, until they were met by the pale, milky sky. But
suddenly, that sky began to shift and twist in her vision, merging
with the ground and drawing her in, so that the hut and the wooden
panes of the window began to blur and fade. Meghan gasped and felt
her stomach drop as her surroundings melted away in a blur, so that
all around her there was nothing but vague, dancing colors that
swished by like branches in a forest. She felt Death's grip on her
tighten, and at once found a strange assurance in that firm hold.
She closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of him behind her,
knowing that they still stood together in the hut, safe and on solid
your eyes, Meghan! Don't be afraid.”
herself, Meghan cracked her eyes open and took stock of her
surroundings once more. To her surprise, the world had fallen back
into place- but it was not the hut where they stood, rather it was
the ridge that overlooked the village of Fainhearn, where Dairn and
the rest of the Free Folk were preparing for battle.
could see him moving far below through the tents of the soldiers they
had gathered, talking with the generals at his side, patting the
shoulders of the men he passed. Meghan smiled. That was Dairn, ever
the friend of the common men, even when discussing the pressing
matters of politics and battle strategy. If only she could see his
if sensing her wish, he paused and turned, gazing toward the heavens
for a moment in consternation. Meghan drew in her breath, noticing
immediately the changes in his countenance. He was marked with
grief- fresh and tender, as if he were mourning the loss of a dear
friend. And yet, despite that, there was a cool, calm sort of
resolution set deeply in his features, and in that moment Meghan knew
without a doubt that he would be victorious in whatever battle was to
is for you he mourns,” Death spoke, his smooth voice slipping into
the silence without causing so much as a ripple.
you see is the future.”
squeezed her shoulders. “After your death and failure to arrive at
the meeting place, your cousin Heich will search for you. Upon
finding your body, he and his people will be outraged, and your death
shall move them to align themselves with Dairn and his people.”
scenery began to shift again, whirling into a battlefield, where the
sounds of clanging swords and men locked in mortal combat rang out
into the cold air. Meghan cast her eyes about for Dairn, and found
him at last, in the center of the fray, swinging his broadsword
masterfully, bringing down an enemy with each blow. He was
blood-spattered and damp with exertion, but he showed no signs of
slowing. His face was twisted with fierce determination, and in the
falling snow he looked every inch a king.
continued, still speaking softly, but somehow able to be heard over
the noise. “Together, your forces will defeat the Norn and drive
them back to their own land.”
battlefield fell away, and the land beneath them sped away until
Meghan could see the Castle Cutorney, where the Old Kings had once
reigned, rising tall and strong from the rocky fells. They seemed to
be soaring down toward it through the sky, and as they grew closer
Meghan could hear the sounds of a multitude, cheering triumphantly.
peered closer as she and Death came to rest on the battlements. A
great crowd was gathered in the courtyard below. With a sigh of
relief, she smiled as she saw Dairn ascending the steps that led to
the outdoor dais, where his elders and generals waited to crown him
king. Heich of the Siobhan stood there as well, and in his tall,
lithe frame Meghan could see traces of her own mother.
Dairn knelt with his head bowed low, dark hair shining in the morning
forward, General Ruel, their right-hand-man held the crown above
MacGabhann, we the people of Ern have gathered here today as freemen
for the first time in four generations. When the Norn foreigners
invaded and declared themselves our new rulers, your royal ancestors
were cast from their place and forced to live in secret. But now you
have risen against all odds to lead us, your people, into victory.
Now we ask you to continue this duty and take your rightful place as
our king. Do you accept this duty?”
do,” Dairn said, and the sound of his calm voice ringing out over
the crowd brought tears to Meghan's eyes.
crowd cheered and raised their fists in salute. Ruel placed the
crown on Dairn's head and bowed. Slowly, Dairn stood and turned to
face his people, raising his hands for silence, then smiled, his eyes
shining with both joy and sadness. People of Ern,” he said, “my
beloved kinsmen, my heart is warmed by your bravery and loyalty.
Though we are a small people who have long been held in bondage, no
nation could have matched the courage I witnessed during this war.
We have risen against all hope to claim a victory we hardly deemed
possible- but my friends, I cannot bear the credit as your leader. I
began my quest fully believing it was a solitary one. All I wanted
was to bring those who killed my family to justice. But when you
flocked to my side, it was only then that I realized we could stand
and fight. And even then, there were many moments when I doubted.
When had I but had the chance I might have fled from the trials of
war and hardship.” He swallowed, faltering. Even from the
distance from which she watched, Meghan could see the tears that
shone in his eyes.
my friends,” he continued, “I would not be here today were it not
for the inspiration that drove me, even until the very end- my cousin
and dearest friend, Meghan O'Bries, who gave her life for our cause.
She who was as a sister to me, whose royal blood shone brighter than
my own, was the true life of this revolution.”
other generals bowed their heads, and Heich put his hand over his
chest in respect.
sighed. “Let us remember her sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all
those who have fallen for our freedom. Let us honor their memory as
we step into this new era, where justice and freedom shall reign!”
the people cheered. Yet though this cry was more raw and and
saddened, it seemed to Meghan all the more beautiful.
acknowledged me,” she whispered. “He told them of my
birthright, and my involvement. I never asked for it, and yet he has
given me a place of honor.”
bowed her head, and she felt Death release her slowly. When she
picked her head up and looked at him again, they were once more
standing in the dark hut.
embers of the fire flickered dimly in the corner, so low now that the
room was shrouded with shadow. Yet somehow she could still see
Death's face clearly. She found she could return his gaze more
you,” she said softly.
nodded, giving a slight bow. “It is a privilege I can seldom give.
For my part, I was glad to show it to you.”
as if he sensed something she could not see, he shifted and looked
out the window. “Are you ready now?”
looked down and heaved a deep breath. “I think so.”
her annoyance, she felt fresh unbidden tears spring forward. But
before she had a chance to quell them, she felt a hand cup her face.
looked down at her and brushed the tears away. “What is it,
never fell in love.” Meghan sighed, ashamed of herself. After
seeing all of her wishes realized, how she could still desire more?
“I had always dreamed.... that after the war, if we won, I might
live long enough for someone to see me, truly see me. To
look at me and find beauty both inside and out...”
trailed off and shook her head. But to her surprise, Death smiled.
see all that,” he said gently. Slowly, he bent and kissed her
forehead. “Don't be ashamed, Meghan. It is only natural for you
to hunger for more life- for despite your hardships, you loved life,
and lived it well. You were happy in what you had, and because of
that, you can now leave in peace. Trust me, you were loved, and
out his hand, he backed toward the doorway. “Come with me, Meghan.
blinked away her tears and smiled. She felt, after all, that it was
time to leave. Her time had come, and she had no regrets. With one
last breath, she reached out and took hold of his hand. As his
fingers closed around hers, Meghan closed her eyes and thought back
to all she had seen, all she had done. It was true- despite her
trials and sorrows, there had also been joy, and triumph, and above
all love. The love of her parents, the love of her guardian Finn,
and of her cousins, Heich and Dairn. And someday, she now knew, the
love of her people as well. Her restless heart settled its wings and
a sense of peace came over her.
you ready, Meghan?” she heard Death's voice ask again.
have nothing else to wish for, she realized. This time the
tears that flowed held no sadness or shame, only relief. She
squeezed his hand.
stranger sat with one ankle propped over his knee, looking quite at
ease. He was long-limbed and pale, with a slender build, but strong,
square shoulders. His raven-black hair was swept back and tied at
the nape of his neck, contrasting sharply against his clear, narrow
face. Clad entirely in black but for the silver embroidery that
embellished his cloak and belt, he made quite an imposing figure,
despite his casual position.
are you?” Meghan asked, taking a step forward.
man didn't move, but regarded her with a calm yet peculiar
expression, almost unreadable. Meghan thought for a moment he seemed
amused, yet there was also a hint of sadness, and then something else
flashed deep within his eyes... something utterly foreign.
don't be alarmed,” he said. “You are Meghan O'Bries, are you
didn't answer, too unsettled by his sudden unexplainable presence.
man looked her over and nodded, answering his own question. “Yes...
yes you are,” he said with, Meghan thought, a note of approval.
Meghan's eyes darted to where she'd hung her coat. There was a
dagger in the breast pocket, and she'd been a fool not to keep it on
her. It was that infernal grogginess, clouding her mind and addling
wouldn't do that, if I were you,” said the stranger, raising his
sucked in a breath and clenched her fists, her surprise and fear
turning to anger without warning. “Who are you? Why have you come
here? And why have you been shadowing me these few days?”
man rose and moved forward, gliding smoothly past Meghan as she
shrank back. Turning, he looked down to meet her eyes and Meghan
realized suddenly how very tall he was.
am here because I have business with you, and I have watched you for
the same reason.” He cocked his head, watching her carefully.
shook her head in confusion. “What business? Do I know you?”
a way,” he said. Blinking, he turned away and looked through the
window, leaning against the wall. From some hidden pocket in his
cloak, he pulled out a worn booklet and flipped it open, scanning the
pages with a cool gaze.
he murmured, “you may know me better than you think. Meghan
O'Bries, five-and-twenty years of age. Born in the year 1530, to
Lachan and Raeda O'Bries. Your father died in a skirmish with the
Norn when you were but ten years.”
glanced at the booklet and frowned, nodding. “Yes...”
your fifteenth year you also witnessed the Fainhearn Massacre, in
which you lost your mother, and you were taken as a ward by your
father's younger half-brother, the blacksmith Finn MacGabhann-
nodded again, more baffled than ever. The stranger met her eyes for
a moment before turning back to his booklet.
it was under MacGabhann's care that you met his son Dairn, who
promised to protect you with his life. Which was well since Finn
MacGabhann passed away less than two years later, of an illness in
stranger continued, his voice dispassionate, and yet somehow not
unkind. “On his deathbed, MacGabhann revealed that he was
descended of the Old Kings, and that he now named Dairn his heir, the
rightful king of Ern.”
blinked slowly and looked away, her upper lip curling. “Anyone
could know this. You had only to question those who knew Finn
MacGabhann or my parents.”
stranger smirked and shook his head, turning the page of his booklet.
“I'm not finished. In his dying moments MacGabhann also revealed
that since your father, Lachan, was his elder brother, that it was
he who had been the original heir, and as such you too were an heir
to the throne.”
up, he folded his booklet and replaced it in the depths of his cloak.
“And as he closed his eyes in death, you and Dairn swore a vow in
blood that there would never be any rivalry between you. You would
work as one to take down the Norn and bring order back to Ern, with
or without aid: or you would die in the attempt. Thus, eight years
and six months ago, your fate was sealed.”
felt cold. Not a soul on earth had known of her own royal blood, or
seen the vow she had taken with Dairn. Dairn said it was too
dangerous for anyone to know who she really was. They had never
spoken of it since that day. She remembered how lonely it had felt
in those first months after Finn's death, with only each other and
their mission as comfort. But when the first of the Old Clans sought
them out, hope had ignited in her heart like spark on a bed of dry
leaves. She had always known that Dairn was destined for more, and
that if the people of Ern would only band together they might stand a
chance against the tyrants who had robbed them of their land.
Quietly she had encouraged Dairn, pushing him gently until he could
at last see the hope that had brought the clans to them. That hope
had spread until it was a roaring fire, and the united clans dared
for the first time in generations to call themselves the Free Folk.
Not one of them knew how ready she and Dairn and been to die just
can you know these things?” Meghan breathed.
stranger looked at her, his face twisted with what almost seemed like
a challenge. “I know because I was there.”
moved toward her slowly, seeming taller by the step. “Your
parents' demise, the massacre, Finns passing, the vow. Surely you
can guess my name.”
shook her head, lost.
Meghan! What common element to these events in your life share?”
Norn,” Meghan began, a hard edge entering her voice. “Are you-”
The stranger reached out and grasped her shoulders, and Meghan found
herself drawn into his eyes, so dark and deep they seemed like
felt her heart drop. Flinching, she withdrew from his touch. “Death?
She whispered. “B-but that means you- you're here for-”
Her lips curling in a sneer. She shook her head vigorously. “I
don't believe you. Whoever you are, you've been sent by my enemies
true, in a sense,” he conceded, cocking his head in thought.
seized her chance and ducked past him, rushing for the door. No
thought for the coat or dagger, she had to get away from this man,
from this place! She reached for the handle-
his hand appeared there, blocking it. He looked down at her and
shook his head, tsking ruefully.
use running Meghan,” he said calmly.
gasped and stumbled back, She whirled around toward the window, but
no sooner had she turned than saw him crouching there in the sill,
looking almost amused.
cannot fight this, child! I'm sorry, but your time has come.”
heart pounded and she could feel her limbs trembling. Death stepped
down from the window and approached her, pity crossing his face
Meghan. You've had a difficult life, but you've fought hard. It's
time to rest now.”
but....” Meghan shook her head in confusion, unable to reconcile
what her eyes saw with what her mind screamed. “I-I'm not done!
I'm still here! I'm alive and well..”
shook his head. “No, you aren't. At this very moment, you're
touched her shoulder gently and gestured behind her toward the
hearth. Slowly, Meghan turned, afraid to look, but too afraid not to
fire had burned low, and in the flickering light, she could see
herself sprawled on the floor, pale-faced and glassy-eyed, convulsing
clapped her hand over her mouth, horrified. She turned away and
stumbled to the window, unable to face what she had seen. She could
feel tears burning at the back of her eyes, but could find no reason
why. She shook her head slowly, trying to put the image from her
Death stated matter-of-factly. “They put it in your water-skin,
the Nornish spies, that is. Not so much that you or anyone else
would notice right away, but after drinking enough... well, you see
mind reeled. Poisoned... after all the times she had escaped
disaster, cheated hunger, and survived illness, poison would have her
at last. After all of her work to take back the land she so loved,
this was how it ended?
you... do you always appear this way?” she asked suddenly, hardly
knowing why. She kept envisioning that body, twitching on the floor.
She squeezed her eyes shut.
not always. It greatly depends on the person, and their perception
of me. Most die too quickly or suddenly to see me coming. Others
feel me like a deep foreboding, and some see me as a shadow, or even
a great black dog. But it's the slow ones that see me as I am... the
ones who are still too attached to this earth, who need convincing.”
her arms tightly, she glared into the distance, refusing to meet
Death's eyes. “No. Give me more time! You can't take me yet.
You've taken enough lives in this country, let me be!”
don't control who goes and when,” Death said flatly, a hint of
annoyance entering his tone. “I merely uphold the law.”
shot him a glance, but could not bring herself to look at him long.
“It's too soon,” she murmured, “too soon. I-I'm not finished!
I have things to do.”
moved back from the window and paced the hut, running her hands
through her hair restlessly. Death looked at her askance, leaning
against the fireplace with one leg propped beneath him.
have to meet with Heich and my kinsmen, Siobhan. This meeting is
crucial! Without them we cannot stand against the Norn, but with
them our victory is almost certain. So much depends on these next
Meghan looked up at him pleading eyes, silently begging for him to
understand. She gather nothing from the cold expression with which
he regarded her.
we wait much longer to strike the Norn, we will lose our momentum.
Our people have found this hope under Dairn's leadership, but with
winter coming on their energy will flag. We will be struck down, and
hope for reclaiming our land will fade into legend.”
looked down and covered her burning eyes, ashamed of the emotions she
could not control. What a fool she was, pleading with Death himself
like a common coward, afraid to leave behind a life she had never
known she loved until now. It's useless, she
realized quietly. Her shoulders slumped. It's over. Best
face it as a warrior ought, not weeping like a beggar.
her tears, she looked up, stone faced and resolute. But as soon as
she opened her eyes, she jumped in spite of herself, for Death stood
before her, so close she could feel the tips of his boots on her own.
is not for human kind to divine the future,” he said slowly, “but
for your sake, in your dying moments, I can give you a gift.”
The following short story is a project I started on a whim after imagining a scene one night and wanting to explore its possibilities. It was harder than I expected, and ended up being longer than I anticipated, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the process. And now I hope you can enjoy the results as you read the short fantasy of Meghan O'Bries, in three parts...
* * *
tales are told
the days of old
the one they say
a queen born poor
the windswept moor
the blackbird cries
plains were eerily silent as Meghan rode, black clumps of soil
spraying out behind as her horse sped along the overgrown road.
Pale, colorless skies stretched overhead, casting a sickly light on
the path, but Meghan could see dark, dangerous clouds gathering on
the horizon. That did not bode well. She needed clear weather for
her journey tonight.
her horse to a canter as they crested a hilltop, Meghan paused to
scan the open fields, searching for any sign of danger. She had seen
no sign of any soldiers, which was surprising, considering her
mission. Dairn MacGabhann, the leader of the Free Folk, had sent her
to negotiate an alliance with the Siobhan Clan, her mother's people.
Heich, the chieftain, was her cousin several times removed, and Dairn
hoped that Meghan's connections might sway the Siobhan people in the
Free Folk's favor.
she was successful, the alliance could guarantee the Free Folk's
victory over the Nornish invaders. Then Dairn could claim his
birthright as the high king over the Free Folk, and the land of Ern
would be set to rights at last.
such high stakes, it was a wonder she had not yet encountered more
difficulty. True, she'd been forced to leave behind her escort in
the last village to dispatch with the local guardsmen, but they would
soon meet her at the rendezvous point, which she could already see
just down the hill.
lack of resistance did bother her. It wasn't right- however
preoccupied the Norn may be with the Free Folk, surely they must have
had word of her mission. Surely they would have sent men after her
to stop the meeting from happening...
aside from the few guardsmen stationed in the village, she had seen
there was the black rider.
of him woke a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. Meghan
tightened her fist and furrowed her brow, remembering the first time
she had seen him. Silhouetted against a glowing sunset, astride a
tall black horse, seeming both as noble as a king and as ominous as a
crow. She could not see his face, or the make of of his clothes,
only the black shadow of his being, framed with the light of the
she had seen him, but a few miles later, and this time she had
notified her escort, hoping they might perceive friend or foe where
she was blind. But before any one of them had turned their eyes to
the hilltop, he had vanished. Meghan could not shake the feeling
that he was watching her, and her alone, and that thought both
unsettled and intrigued her.
the case, she had not seen him again since then. Even still her eyes
swept over every inch of the spreading plains in search of him. But
in the whispering quiet of the windblown hills, there was not a soul
to be seen.
her fist, Meghan sighed and took a sip from her water-skin. With
one last glance at her surroundings, she urged her horse forward
again, trotting the rest of the way to the little hut which would
serve as her shelter for the night.
legs ached as she dismounted, but she put aside her discomfort until
she had given the horse a proper rub down. He was a strong young
gelding, but it had been a long day for the both of them. If she was
to meet with Heich and the Siobhan by tomorrow's eve, she would need
the horse in good health.
squinted as she led the gelding into the dark stable. Particles of
dust drifted slowly in thin beams of light streaming through cracks
in the weathered wood walls. Thick cobwebs coated the ceiling in an
eerie veil, and she grimaced as one grazed her face.
aside a grubby pail, Meghan loosened a bundle of straw and laid it in
a stall. She saw to it that it was well stocked with hay, oats, and
water, and then left the gelding to his rest.
rubbed her arms slowly as she entered the hut. Now that she was
sheltered at last, she could feel her exhaustion setting in. The
October winds had been merciless for days, and though she had not yet
seen her reflection, she knew it had taken its toll on her face by
the feel of her chapped cheeks.
a sigh of relief, Meghan shed her coat and scarf and hung them by the
cold hearth. She rubbed her brow and bent down to kindle a fire.
Not long now and she could have her rest, and be warm for the first
time since she had left Dairn's side three days ago. She would wait
here until her men joined her and in the morning they would continue
to the High Hills where Heich awaited her.
first, fire. Then rest.
Meghan smacked her lips, trying to ease the dryness in her mouth.
She took another sip of water and shook her head. Now that she had
time to think, she didn't feel well at all. Her head ached, her
muscles ached, her face and lips were raw, and now her mouth was dry.
She couldn't afford to be sick now- not when so much depended on
arranged the firewood in the hearth, she pulled out a flint and
struck it, sending sprays of sparks down onto the kindling. Feeling
a sudden wave of dizziness, she had to brace herself against the
stones to keep herself from falling forward. She rubbed her brow
again and kept striking the flint.
A small flame licked around the twigs and grew larger. She watched
for several moments as the little fire gained its strength.
Satisfied, she stood, and promptly stumbled backward, catching
herself just in time. Her head spun, and she felt so terribly
pulled a chair up to the table and sat with her head in her hands,
drinking slowly from the water-skin. She supposed she ought to have
gone to the well for fresh, cool water, but she was so tired she only
wanted to sit for a while.
Her head continued to throb and spin, and Meghan felt her eyes
drooping more and more heavily. She could feel sleep tugging at the
corners of her mind, and she did not resist. Too weary to even move
to the cot, she put her cheek in the crook of her arms and lay draped
across the table.
flickered inside of her, a warning, as if there was something she was
forgetting. Forcing her eyes open for one moment, Meghan glanced out
the window instinctively. And there on the hill, just before she
drifted off again, she saw him! The black rider, watching as always.
Meghan bolted upright into wakefulness. Standing swiftly, she pushed
the chair back and rushed to the window, shielding her eyes against
the milky white of the sky.
was gone! Again, she had missed him. Shaking her head in disbelief,
she turned to the door and thrust it wide, casting her gaze over the
plains, searching. She had a mind to rush out to the gelding and
hunt for the mysterious stranger and demand to know his identity, his
loyalty, and the reason he watched her these last three days.
before she gathered up her courage and rushed for the stables,
something held her back. That same flickering, nagging warning
fluttered in her mind, and she stepped back into the shelter of the
several moments, she scanned the horizon, watchful and expectant.
But, seeing nothing, she closed the door and turned slowly away...
was sitting there on the cot, looking up at her eyes so dark they
seemed seemed to swallow her whole.
O'Bries,” he said softly, his voice smooth and level.
opened her mouth, incredulous. “You...” she breathed.
* * *
To Be Continued....
(Image taken from the public domain) (NOTE: Due to some very helpful feedback, Meghan's last name has been changed to O'Bries, since the original name bore a disconcerting resemblance to a similar word. Thank you to those who pointed it out! I never would have seen it myself. ;)
Greetings, one and all! This month's beautiful music is another classical piece, this time by Johannes Brahms. I first became aware of it through listening to a movie soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat, one of my favorite composers. I was immediately taken by the sweetness of this heartfelt piece, and though it's title is a bit of a mouthful to say, the music speaks for itself. Romantic and full of emotion, this piece is perfect for a quiet evening of contemplation or prayer.
* * *
(DISCLAIMER: I do not own the music or recording used in this post. Recording here is of Nikolai Lugansky.)
A several months ago one of my dear readers recommended this four-book children's series to me. I can't remember who that was at this point, but whoever it was.... thank you so much!
And then on the other hand.... How could you?? Nevermind, it's not your fault. You can't help the- oh, sorry, spoilers. -_- I'll just get to the review, I guess.
* * *
In the land of Skree, there lives a lovely family known as the Igibys. And aside from when they sing in the garden, or when they tell lively tales, or when they play zibzy, they are pretty miserable. The nasty Fangs of Dang overshadow any happy moment in the lives of the three Igiby children, Janner, Tink and Leeli. But they know very well that as long as they keep quiet and stay away from the dark forest where the Toothy Cows live, they'll be fine....
Until one little dog bites the wrong Fang and all Deeps break loose.
Suddenly, Janner and his siblings are thrown into turmoil as their lives turn upside down. The Nameless Evil named Gnag the Nameless searches relentlessly for the Jewels of Anniera, and it's up to the Igibys to make sure he NEVER gets them. Mystery, lies, secrets, and danger lie around every corner. To defeat the darkness, the Igibys will embark on a journey that will change them forever...
IF they are not eaten first. And IF they can survive the Dark Sea of Darkness.
Maker help us.
* * *
This series is among the most enjoyable I've ever read. In fact, I don't believe I've read a fantasy book that made me laugh quite so much as these ones did.
Andrew Peterson has created something unique here. The tone reminds me of a perfect combination of C.S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket, and Dr. Seuss. One moment it was heartwarming, the next hilarious, and then quite dark indeed. And all of it laced with distinctly Christian views, though the series itself is not overtly Christian.
The world of Aerwiar is enchanting, though quite dangerous. There is great beauty and whimsy, and also a load of crazy, scary creatures that you should thank your stars don't really exist!
And the characters! Oh, how I loved the characters. They were the highlight of the series for me. Well, them and the hilarious footnotes scattered throughout the books to expand on various wacko ideas and history.
Janner, the main character, is the oldest of three children, and his mother and grandfather have raised him to be the protector of his younger brother and sister, Tink and Leeli. I found him incredibly relatable- probably because of him being the oldest (and a writer!), but also because of his very personality. He is perhaps a little grumpier than I, but the things he struggles with really do mirror my own personal faults. Though lovable, Janner struggles with apathy, pride, and selfishness- which can probably be applied to anyone, but his emotional reaction to those faults is pretty much how I would have done at his age.
And I just must say that my new character love is Artham P. Wingfeather. Not a crush, mind you, but more of a... squish. A squish is what my sisters and I call that feeling when you just like someone a lot, and want to be their friend, and want the best for them no matter what, and seeing them happy makes you smile inside.
Artham was such an interesting individual. I can't really talk about him much without giving much away, so I'd best stop while I have the chance.
The other characters were wonderful too. There are too many for me to talk about, so I'll just get down to the pros and cons.
Okay, maybe I should have labeled the above section as Pros instead, since I've already sung the praises of the lovely series. But, in a nutshell, The Wingfeather Saga is full of loveable, memorable characters, witty humor and an emotional plot that's sure to draw anyone in, whether they're 10 or 100. Themes of redemption are woven through all the books, which opens up many discussion opportunities for parents who wish to teach their children about God and the redemption that He offer us.
(Spoilers ahead. No names are mentioned, but just the same...)
These books do have a dark side though. The antagonists are quite evil, and there are a lot of sad things that happen to the characters, and it's not the kind of bad think where you can just shrug it off and say, "Oh well, in the next chapter everything will be alright." The tragedies that occur throughout the series have lasting consequences. Some sequences can be a bit intense and may be frightening to children. (SPOILER: for instance, the villain creates his minions by transforming humans into beast-like creatures, causing them to lose their free will.)
Parents should be aware that themes of imprisonment are prominent through the stories. Children are captured by the enemy and snatched away from their parents, and they are locked up in prisons or made to work in factories with no reason to hope for rescue. One character is revealed to have been captured and tortured for quite some time, and he has never been the same since then. Characters are changed forever by the events that transpire, though in the end things are worked out for the best. There are some character deaths too, which may be quite upsetting to young readers or listeners. Parents will be the best judge for their children, since they know what they can handle.
I would recommend this series wholeheartedly to anyone who loves fantasy, comedy, drama, and adventure. Just a word to the wise, though- it is emotional, and so be prepared as you read.
For young readers, I would personally recommend you to be thirteen and up before reading this book on your own. However, as I said, that depends on the parent, the kid, and the family. If you can handle it, great! Because this series is not something that should be missed by anyone.
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(DISCLAIMER: Images taken from The Wingfeather Saga)
That's right... the end is dead ahead. With my twentieth birthday coming up in the next forty-eight hours I will bid goodbye to my teen-aged years.
It's a bit of an odd feeling... on one hand, I feel pretty relaxed. So what if I'm entering another decade? Big deal, I'm good, I'm cool, I'm fine....
But on the other hand, HOLY COW, I'M TURNING TWENTY.
I rarely use all caps for more than one word, by the way.
I remember when I was sixteen or seventeen and I was suddenly struck with what I called a "late-teens crisis", when I realized that I was more than half-way through being a teenager, and just a few short years from being an official adult. For some reason I thought that my eighteenth year would signify the end of my childhood, for good. I kept thinking of all the things I hadn't done as a kid, that maybe I'd wasted those precious years with useless and meaningless activities that really weren't that memorable. This troubled me for months, though I didn't say much to anyone because deep down I felt it was sort of silly.
Finally I realized that becoming an adult didn't mean the end of fun- but was rather a gateway to a whole new world to explore at my own pace. As long as I could pay for it, I could be a kid as long as I wanted. :)
So this year, instead of worrying about entering a new decade and what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, I've been thinking of how blessed God has made me throughout the years. Right now I have everything I ever wanted as a kid. I grew up to look the way I wanted, I have a car of my own, I work at a library, I've published a book, and I'm still writing. I have everything I need and more, and it's all because God has protected me and nurtured me, and has been gracious enough to give me things I could never deserve. For that, I am so thankful.
Now! Just for fun I'm going to list the top ten things that come to mind when I think about my coming birthday. Maybe someday when I'm married and have a ton of kids I'll look back at this and smile. Or maybe one of my future kids will look at this and say, "Mama, this website looks really, really old! I can't believe it still exists!"
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I wonder if I'll meet my future husband this year? Or have I already?? When will he come to me... and how long will it take us to realize we're meant to be?
What kind of cake should I do this year? I've already had all my favorites at least twice, if not three or four times for all my previous birthdays.
I will now officially be older or as-old-as all of my current female protagonists. I've still got some male protagonists who surpass me, but not for long.
I should really go through my clothes and evaluate which ones I want to keep. Some of them I've probably had since I was sixteen. 0_0
I wonder when that 20's-ish "I-suddenly-understand-everything" feeling will start to kick in. According to the reading I've done, some serious mental development occurs in this next decade for me. Wonder what that will feel like.
I need to find some college-age events to go to or something. I'm still hanging out with young teens, which is fine, but it would be nice to get to know some people my age or older. Especially thinking back to #1 up there.... after all, it's not like Sir Right is just gonna tap on my window sill and say hi.
"What light from yonder window doth break? It is her lamp, and it's burning my eyes like the sun..."
When I think of it, I can't actually see much changing this year for me. Barring any unforeseen tragedy, I'll probably pretty much as I've always been.
I should really, REALLY finish Rise of Ralienah this year. It's about time!
It seems my twelve-year-old self forgot to write a note for me on my twentieth birthday. She wrote notes for my older teen-aged self, but somehow she neglected me. >:(
Maybe that's for the best. If twelve year old me had known that I would cut our hair and start listening to 80's rock music, she might not have wanted to speak to me anyway.
But you know, that all started with her. I was probably twelve years old when I first picked up a mild interest in 70's Christian Rock, so that's what softened me up. As for the hair, it was time for a cut anyway. Too heavy to deal with anymore!
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And there we have it! On Monday, I'll wake up in a new chapter of my life. So long, teen-aged years. I had a great time. ^_^