Signs – Anna Martin

Seeing as June is suppose to be in support of the LGBT community, and allows me to have several books available at a discount or even free in celebration of this, I have decided to give a small review for a recent book I have read that hits on the genre.

Signs adds more than just the difficultly strong, young teenagers have at discovering who they are, and finding out who their real friends in life are. As the title alludes to, the main character is deaf. I have a strong support for the deaf community, as I grew up in a city that has a large population for the deaf, along with schools, and college. Though I no longer live in the city, I still commute there for work. Because of this, I have picked up on a little sign-language and was drawn into the book due to my curiosity.

I do love how Anna Martin shows the struggles the two characters have in communicating feelings, and how awkward it is when they first meet in person. I say in person, because with modern technology the two main characters met in the now typical fashion of social media via online.

Luc is a “goth” kid that doesn’t really see himself immersed with all the “goth” kids, and Caleb feels shunned from the outside world as well as the deaf community because he finds it difficult to express himself properly. Anna Martin tends to focus mainly on both character’s struggles with their social circles, and the disability of communication, and less on the acceptance and struggle of being gay. Part of me appreciates that the author dismissed, or at least didn’t emphasis, the lash-back teens face, or potentially face, in today’s world from being open on their sexuality. And part of me was disappointed. Of course, the book already had so much hardship and struggle with dealing with Caleb’s hearing loss, I can understand the author, and perhaps reader, being overwhelmed with any addition drama.

Books like “Signs” I appreciate because it consecrates on the characters more than the fantasy or sex many LGBT books seem to focus on. There’s a plethora of raunchy romance books that hit on the same genre, but few that really come with a deeper meaning.

However, I do enjoy my fantasy, as can be seen from own fantasy writing. And though I do not write, currently, for the LGBT community, I would like to pass on another book of interest. For the even of June, and the LGBT awareness for this month, many authors have written books free to read and download. One I am looking forward to, which is a Vampire novel, is Alex’s Surprise. Currently it is 99cents, due to Amazon not having it be free until it’s official release date. So feel free to join me on checking it out, and use this month as an excuse to get out of your comfort zone if you haven’t read this style before.

The Dark Earth Series

Delaying a blog post is something I highly regret but at the same time it has given me the opportunity of finishing a fantastic book which I recently discovered. For the most part I am a person with a high interest in light fantasy; magic which is dominantly the stereotypical Lord of the Rings style and not that of Twilight. This book is one of them.

The first book in the Dark Earth series gives you a free introduction of five chapters, and those sample pieces sucked me in. I ended up even signing up for the $9.98 a month membership to unlock the rest of the book as well as the other which follows it. Yes, it was that good. And that is considering I am one that looks down on books not printed due to the high pleasure of the physical copy in hand.

Over the past two days I have forgone sleep, depriving myself and surviving on just 3 hours due to this new adventure that has entered my life. Sadly, this work has also left me putting my own on hold while devouring it.

The main character is a youth of the age of 17 that finds himself in the backwoods of a small town that his family newly moved to. Aiden, the main hero of the story, with his flaming red hair and cream colored skin is automatically seen as someone non-human by the locals who have put it upon themselves to eradicate the Sidhe; magical, elven humanoids that also live nearby.

Asher and Severe are two of the Sidhe that find themselves drawn to aiding Aiden and claiming him. Together they save him multiple times from the dangers the town posses, teach him of his birthright and introduce him to the forbidden art of magic, which he possesses a natural talent of.

A warning though about this wonderful art of fiction, and that is it is filled with every sort of love that one can comprehend. There is heterosexual, homosexual, platonic, and incest.

For those interested in discovering the world of the Under Dark, the realm within our world that holds magic and all its creatures, I suggest looking into the first five chapters which are free. The following is the author’s descriptions of a few of her characters. Also, I wanted to mention that there is no editing and so there sometimes are areas with poor grammar or names reversed. For those that like graphic novels, they have created one following the story exactly, however I personally did not enjoy the art style, and I felt there was more understanding of the character’s thoughts and feelings in the actual books, but they can be found on amazon.

Adian Walsh

thedarkearth1Aidan’s adoptive mother, Anna, discovered him as a baby alone in the woods in Devil’s Ridge.  He knows nothing of his birth family and doesn’t care to, because they abandoned him. But circumstances force them to move in with Anna’s father, Grandfather Patrick, on the Ridge.  There Aidan meets Asher Vane, a leader among a mysterious people known as the Sidhe.  Asher claims Aidan is a Sidhe and is determined to take Aidan back to his people.  Will he go?

Asher Vane

thedarkearth2Asher is a Dark Prince of the Sidhe, an elven race that makes the Dark Earth their home.  He recognizes Aidan as one of his people and is intent on bringing the youngling home.  Though he tries to resist, Asher finds himself in love with Aidan and doing things that he should not to please the boy.  One of those things in interfering in human activities to save Aidan’s adoptive family from the depredations of the cult known only as the Clan.  These actions could lead to a terrible war.

Grandfather Patrick

thedarkearth3Grandfather Patrick is Anna’s father and the leader of the cult known only as the Clan who worships a dread goddess known as Cybella.  He hates the Sidhe with an unquenchable passion.  He recognizes Aidan as one of them and, despite his unnatural attraction to the boy, is determined to use Aidan to start a war between the Sidhe and the Clan.  But then Asher Vane comes onto his land, intent on taking Aidan and the war he wants may be within reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raksura Series – Fantasy

jpraksura

I am personally a huge fan of fantasy books that involve characters with the ability to morph; the magic from going normal to special. An example of this can be seen in the fact last week’s review was based on a Manhwa that created magicians with the power to change into their alternate selves. But most stories and authors that use this form of magic usually go from human to an animal based one. This can be seen as transforming usually into Dragons in the majority.

The Raksura series not only focuses on a uniquely designed species strictly the creation of Martha Wells, but also takes place in a very interesting world with a highly different social structure. The main story is based on a young Raksura that was lost and abandon from his kind, not knowing who or what he is, and simply trying to survive. Martha Wells for the most part seems content with her 3 books following Moon, the protagonist, while currently teasing readers with 2 books of short stories still being released.

In the primary 3 books, you discover a vast and very wild world. Hundreds of different species roam this world separated by simple geography, with few being widespread. There are those of every skin color under the sun, as well as those very primitive, and those industrial. The Raksura are a species of “groundlings” that can transform into a lizard creature. Half of the species become stout and hardy, focusing on hunting, gathering, teaching, childcare, art, building, and the basic needs of the colony. The other half of Raskura transform into tall winged creatures that mainly sleep and eat, while concentrating on the defense of their territory.

Queens run these colonies in a very matriarch, bee-hive, sort of way. Fertile males of the species are seen as pampered, protected, innocent, and sheltered sperm donors. It was a bit of a surprise reading a book that changed the stereotypical sex roles. Along with that, Martha Wells also opens up the door to polyamory and bisexual relationships, where there doesn’t seem to be love so much in the story, but a desire of friendship. It just so happens that friendship with Raksura involves the sharing of pleasure. The only acception to these open relationships is the fertile males, “consorts,” who can be with as many partners as they want, but only with one Queen.

The first book follows Moon as he struggles fitting in with other species while hiding his abilities, as they tend to mimic that of another species called Fell, whom are much like the Borg of Star Trek and highly feared. After learning who and what he really is, Moon then is forced to learn the ways of a society and role he never had to experience, and just can’t completely accept. Having been raised alone, for a consort, Moon has become very independent and adventurist; nothing like how he is suppose to behave. However, the small colony he finds himself with learn to embrace his unusual behavior while they strive simply to survive and relocate their home.

All three books of the Raksura series describe a world that reminds me a lot of what is seen in the Avatar movie; huge trees, tribal species, fight or die mentality. It gives off the vibe of a young planet where a dominate race hasn’t been decided upon; where the world is young and still creating small pockets of vastly different life, and anything and everything can kill you. It’s filled with super huge plants, floating islands, ancient magic, rough technology, minimal government and lots of eating. And though I was enthralled with all three of her books, highly anticipating each one, forfeiting sleep to complete them, her Stories of the Raksura leave the series lacking.

Not being much into short stories, I felt a little ripped off since not only is this book significantly thinner than her other work, or even that it was released ten months late, but because 1 of the 3 stories was free to read on her webpage and written several years prior. On top of that, half of the book was a short story about how the colony was started and so lacked any of the characters of the main trilogy. The first short story in this current release was interesting, but didn’t add anything to the actual story of Moon and showed no progress in him adjusting to the colony, or his station. I can only hope her next short story release isn’t as disappointing, as many readers including myself, felt she left the main books hanging and would really like to see Moon finally having the family he had been trying since book 1.

If you find yourself interested in exploring this new world of interesting creatures, Martha Wells has written and posted many short stories based on her series that can perhaps give you a feel of the books themselves. Forest Boy is published in her most recent print release of the Stories of the Raksura, and takes place as a prequel to the series. Adaptation also is before the main books, but may be seen as a spoiler as it is about a secondary character’s problem that plagues the colony from the very beginning and all throughout. Martha Wells has stopped publishing additional shorts on her webpage, which I find disappointing as she did promised more, but I will support her in the hopes someday she will continue them.