February 10, 2016

Book Review || Warrior's Woman

Warrior's Woman
LySanTer Trilogy #1
Johanna Lindsey

Published: orig 1990 (cover reissue 2010)

Avon, mass market pbk, 422p.
ISBN: 9780380753017


In the year 2139, fearless Tedra DeArr sets out to rescue her beleaguered planet Kystran from the savage rule of the evil Crad Ce Moerr.  Experienced in combat but not in love, the beautiful, untouched Amazon flies with Martha, her wise-cracking, free-thinking computer, to a world where warriors reign supreme - and into the arms of the one man she can never hope to vanquish: the bronzed barbarian Challen Ly-San-Ter.  A magnificent creature of raw yet disciplined desires, the muscle-bound primitive succeeds where no puny Kystran male had before - igniting a raging fire within Tedra that must be extinguished before she can even think of saving her enslaved world.

from original back cover, 1990

As strange as it sounds, this was the book that kicked off my love for sci-fantasy as a teenager. I remember borrowing this from my friend in Yr 10 French (thank you, Becca!), and devouring a good portion of the book in that one double lesson.  I loved it, and I didn't want to give it back, but luckily I saw the same book at the local store a few days later and begged my mum to get it for me - and she did.

While it may just be a cheesy romance book to most people, the introduction of the Martha, the AI computer who seems to run Tedra's life, and Corth, a humanoid robot, characters that belong to Tedra DeArr, were the first artificial characters that I'd come across.  Up until then I'd been reading the usual teenage stuff or English required reading, The Outsiders, Picnic at Hanging Rock, etc., but hadn't made the jump into more adult books in my personal reading life.

Included in the wonderful world building are the amazing creatures Lindsey created.  The taraan, sa'abo, fembairs, and the hataar.  These were the first fantastical creatures I'd come across in fiction outside of mythology, and while not a complicated plot to follow, the story just swept me up and let me forget about the world for a few hours.

With Warrior's Woman I got a glimpse into an amazing word where a woman could be strong and tough, and fly through space in search of adventure. It didn't hurt that her soon to be love interest, Challen, was amazing in my imagination, but still, it was far more than just a romance book to me.

Fast forward way too many years. . . 

So now picking this book up and re-reading it with the perspective of an adult, I find that there is still something charmingly naive about Tedra and Warrior's Woman.   Yes, it's sexist in places, and quite cheesy and formulaic to boot, but I still rather like it.  Tedra is still a strong female protagonist, and Martha - although silicon based - is just as feisty.  Corth takes a back seat in the scheme of things, and even bossy-boots Challen will defer to Tedra in some matters.  Quite enlightened for a barbarian.

I loved the contrast between the futuristic Kystran and the feudal/medieval (with a twist) Sha'ka'an cultures.  Shades of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court there with the culture clash, and this is well demonstrated in the scene where Tedra had no idea what an uncle is despite knowing the word, or when she asks the crystal necklace to change colour to annoy Challen ;-D

It's now many years later, and I still have that original book - now battered and tattered - that sits on my shelf beside the replacement copy I bought.  Warrior's Woman is great book, quick and fast paced, that continues to hold many memories for me ;-D

Oh, and if you're interested, it is the first book in a trilogy.   I won't tell you who the next two books belong to - because that would be a HUGE spoiler ;-D

Until next time,

Book Review || Saying Goodbye to Discworld

The Shepherd's Crown
Tiffany Aching #5 (Discworld #41)
Sir Terry Pratchett

Published: September, 2015

Random House, hardcover, 352p. (b&w ill.)
ISBN: 9780857534811

“We are all floating in the winds of time.  But your candle, Mistress Weatherwax, 
will flicker for some time before it goes out - a little reward for a life well lived.”

A Shivering Of Worlds.  Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring.  The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots.  An old enemy is gathering strength.  This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power.  Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.  As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her.  To protect the land.  Her land.  There will be a reckoning...

Ever since I heard of the death of Sir Terry Pratchett last year, I have been torn between wanting to read the final book in the Tiffany Aching series, and not wanting to read the final ever book of the Discworld.  But all good things must come to an end, and yesterday I picked up The Shepherd's Crown to say goodbye.

I enjoyed being back in the world of the Chalk, following Tiffany around as she struggles with the responsibilities left to her after the death of Granny Weatherwax.  The death of this character was totally out of the blue, but was strangely fitting under the circumstances - and it sets in motion the rest of the story.

Before we got to that though, there were two introductions, if you will.  First we got the backstory of the Shepherd's Crown, and then an interlude with a family that was quite out of the blue.

I wasn't quite sure where we were going when the author introduced us to Lord Swivel and his family.  Swivel was such a despot.  The way he treated his 3rd son as an unwanted, and unnecessary, burden... I just wanted to reach into the pages and punch him in the nose!  However, it did set the stage for a small plot that pays off at the end of the book - the chickens (keep that in mind) and the fateful fox hunt.  This is when the neglected son finds his courage to stand up to his father, leaving home and taking his pet with him - much to his father's fury.  This introduction of Geoffrey Swivel was an unexpected twist - and that goat, Mephistopheles!  What a character.  He's like a Feegle on four legs! Geoffrey is not the usual sort of character that one finds in the Chalk, but his unique type of magic plays an integral part in the upcoming fight against a well known foe - the Elves.

After the death of you know who (trying not to spoil you!), Tiffany is run off her broom.  Trying to be everywhere, and do everything herself.  She wants to do everything right, but has to learn when to delegate.  Not something she embraces in a hurry.  Roland is there once or twice, usually putting his foot in it, and we see more of Tiffany's family.  The Nac Mac Feegles are ever present as they try to help their 'big wee hag'.  Still love the Feegles.  They are so adorable, rough, loyal, and funny.   Oh, and there are plenty of quick cameo's by well known figures from the Discworld as news gets out about 'that death', and Tiffany.

Yes, life is changing on the Chalk.

I found reading The Shepherd's Crown to be a strangely sad experience.  It was funny in places, and yet there was the sense that the book was not quite finished.  There was so much more that could have been done with the story... all these little untied threads that now hang uselessly from the Discworld tapestry. 

Until next time,