I got my first tattoo when I was 19. A friend drove me through to Jo’burg to one of the few reputable tattoo parlours that existed in Gauteng back then. It hurt much more than I expected but I was thrilled by the result. I showed it off whenever the occasion permitted. I had been planning that tattoo since I was 7. Reaching goals is a good thing, right?
Fast forward through large amounts of living to the present day (add a music montage if you like) and my little tattoo is looking more like something you would find on a sailor. Blurred lines hint at what used to be a pretty awesome tattoo (at least, I thought so). I told my mom that one has to repaint one’s house every once and while. And boy, my paint job needs maintenance, so tomorrow I am going for a touch-up. I found a tattoo artist that does beautiful work and after facebook stalking his page for more than a year I finally made an appointment.
Tonight is the last night of blurred lines in this house. Tomorrow will hopefully bring some awesome ink. *tries not to bounce too much*
I found Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall on Twitter where I have been spending a questionable amount of time lately. The book also came with a warning about the dark nature of the story and the disturbing themes running through it. It’s a sensible thing to do if you don’t know the person you’re recommending a book to but I wish it wasn’t necessary. The warning tinges the reader’s preconceptions and to be honest, I’ve read much more violent and disturbing books without warning and thoroughly enjoyed them too (Stephen Donaldson‘s Thomas Covenant novels springs to mind).
Now that the warnings are out the way, let me get to the book. The story is set in a desert country reminiscent of Ancient Arabia one finds in Arabic fables. The protagonist, Dahoud, has turned his back on his past and his nature. After an illustrious career as one of the most violent and effective war generals in the Quislaki army he returned to the life of a labourer in the hopes of atoning for his crimes. We first meet him when he is summoned back to the Quislaki capital and ordered back into the fray.
I was drawn into Dahoud’s battle with himself from the start. Driving his desire for violence is a Djinn that takes advantage of his dark side and goads him to ever worse deeds. The Quislaki ruler, Kirral, is possessed by a similar Djinn, but one that has not been curbed by its host. The contrast between the two makes for some great reading. Add to this a feisty, beautiful magician called Merida who is trapped in Quislak by Kirral’s machinations and the scene is set for a great read. Hall’s characters are vivid and many faceted and one can’t help but empathise with all of them and their personal struggles.
Although the main theme of the book centers on violence against women I found the subtler theme of the struggle and acceptance of one’s dark side to be the more intriguing part of the story. Both Merida and Dahoud are unwilling to accept their failings and they are lessened by the limitations they place on themselves. Only with complete acceptance is each able to move forward. There may be a lesson there…
Storm Dancer is a wonderful tale of magic and myth woven into one. I couldn’t put this book down and would recommend it to all lovers of Dark Fantasy. You may want to avoid this if you’re sensitive or on the squeamish side but if that’s the case you should probably steer clear of all Dark Fantasy.
I am a bookworm. Books move me. I love the feel of them, their smell and their magic. And most importantly I love to share them. This is where my dilemma starts. I like to share my books with Kev. He will read the offerings I send to his Kindle but for some reason he is intensely secretive about which of my offerings he is busy reading. And there is no discussion about them. None. De nada. Zip. Zero. You get the idea.
According to Kev, the first rule of Book Club is that no-one talks about Book Club. How does one share a book if the other party won’t participate in all the sharing activities? I was complaining about this in roughly the same breath I was wondering how one would stretch a scene over several chapters when Kev made his point, “See, this is why we don’t have book club. I told you to read Abercrombie and you ignored me.”
He was right, of course. I once read Abercrombie and was bored out of my skull. How am I to read a 400 page book that describes one day? It might be a trap. I might wade through Abercrombie’s literature only to be reminded about the first rule of Book Club. I’m starting to suspect that the first rule of Book Club is only there to frustrate me. In the meantime I have picked up Abercrombie again. He has an interesting writing style. It seems Kev knows how to drag me kicking and screaming to the water and then get me to drink. I may buy him a horse for Xmas to see how he does with that.
Thanks to MOTH ART – Marta Bevacqua for the image.