My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I first started this series I knew it was a romance but the art was lovely and I know very little of Korean mythic tradition in which this is steeped. Having a water god cursed to be a boy (Habeak) by day and a man (Mui) by night was interesting. Soah, his bride, was actually a sacrifice by her village to end a drought. She was cast into the sea to die hoping to please Habeak and he saved her.
Not surprising, there are many other gods and goddesses who don’t get along and are always plotting something. Habeak himself is embarrassed about his curse and instead of just doing the sensible thing and telling Soah, he allows her to see him as Mui. Naturally after five volumes, Soah is in love with Mui and wants to be with him rather than Habeak. To complicate matters more, a woman who looks just like Habeak’s dead former bride, Nakbin, has been brought into the heavens. She might even be Nakbin.
And in this volume, the storyline starts to lose me for two reasons. One, it’s getting so convoluted and too many of the gods/goddesses look alike I’m losing track. Two, the whole petty jealousy/competing for a lover thing has never worked for me. I found this volume a bit confusing and disappointing. Soah doesn’t have the backbone to stand up for herself or even to admit to Habeak that she loves another (in fact only seems to want the boy when Nakbin does). I’ll be reading on but mostly because I found this and the next three volumes at a used book store and bought them since I had been enjoying it. Now, if I liked romance more than I do (I don’t) I might really be enjoying this.
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Sailors of Stonehenge by Manuel Vega
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The conclusion of this book is very concise. It’s about the megalith monuments, their design, purpose and timeline and extrapolates from there to put forth a theory about the people that made them both in how advanced and widespread their culture was and ties it into the forerunner of Greek myth and even into being a possible source of the legend of Atlantis.
In full disclosure, I did receive this book from the author for review, which has not influenced said review. It was a very timely book for me in that I’m currently involved in a research project of my own into the megalith monuments of Wales. Though they are not in this book, they are inarguably from the same culture/time frame as the ones discussed in this book. The first half of the book was the most useful and interesting to me as it deals individually with sites such as Stonehenge, Carnac, Avebury and Newgrange (sort of the rock stars, no pun intended, of the megalith stone monuments).
The book delves into the why’s of taking on such a massive effort as it would have been to make these monuments/graves and hooking it in not only to what we think we know about their culture but also into astronomy and astrology. The second half of the book goes into that more deeply with detailed comparisons of these sites in the UK, North Africa and Europe to star maps, constellations, Greek myth and finally the myth of Atlantis. I’ll admit, that is not exactly what I’ve been seeing in the archeological journals but Vega does make a well-reasoned argument.
I am in complete agreement about how widespread this culture was (I’m still curious to know if the site in New England truly does belong to this culture or if it was later) and that these sites were of extreme importance culturally and religiously. I won’t say that I’m hundred percent convinced of the more astrology/Atlantean connection but as I said, it’s well argued. I loved how many pictures, maps and drawings that were used. It’s very well footnoted (though I would have liked a bibliography). As these sorts of texts often are, it’s not exactly light reading but if you have an interest in this subject matter, you might enjoy it.
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Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thieftaker started out a little slowly and I thought this wasn’t going to be for me but the idea was interesting so I stayed with it. I’m glad I did. Once you get a chapter or two in, it takes off. Ethan Kaille is a thieftaker, which appears to be someone who is hired by families to help find things that were stolen from them (while the sheriff and his men are freed up to do other things). Ethan is also a disgraced Navy man who spent time in prison. Even more importantly it’s the mid-1700’s right before the revolution and Ethan is a conjurer. The idea of witchcraft in this alternative history is a bit convoluted. It can still get you hanged. Some people seem to believe it doesn’t exist. Others know it does but look the other way and so long as the conjurer isn’t too flashy they’re not likely to die. They also require a medium to help their spells. One of the most powerful (and the one Ethan uses most) is blood. Magic runs in family lines.
Ethan is more than a little down on his luck, hanging out at the Dowser with his not quite upstanding friend, Diver and Ethan’s lover, Kannice. The tavern is hers. As a former prisoner, work isn’t often tossed Ethan’s way. Worse, Sephira Pryce is Boston’s main thieftaker and she brooks no competition. She will beat/kill Ethan if he steps on her toes but she’s content to let him have the little jobs.
However, Ethan is asked to find a brooch taken from a dead young lady from a very wealthy family, because she was killed by a conjurer and Sephira knows nothing of magic. That doesn’t mean she’s happy about this and the running subplot is Ethan trying to stay out of her way before she and her men take him out. There is more at stake than a brooch as Ethan finds out and he is swept up into the revolutionary happenings going on in Boston at the time. Noted historical figures like Samuel Adams make an appearance. (There are several others but since I drink his beer, that’s the one I remember, poor Samuel, that’s all anyone knows of him now).
This is one of the more inventive books I’ve read in a while. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one in the series. This is a bit of a spoiler but it’s also fair warning. At one point Ethan has to choose between the life of a person and the life of a pet. He loves both but only one can live. That said, it’s handled very well with real mental consequences down the road. It’s not done out of hand and forgotten.
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