I just finished reading the second in a series of novels by P.C. Cast. The first novel, Moon Chosen, was consumed months ago, well ahead of the second book. I waited eagerly, month after month, for Sun Warrior to come out. When it did, I ran... well, ok, I drove, to the local library and brought it home with me.
I have to admit that I love these books so much, I am toying with hopping over to Amazon to buy them and add them to my book collection. The problem is a big one, however. I have hundreds of books already and I believe my husband Tom and I are a little out of control, now. He, for the most part, buys business books or inspirational books. They line the shelves in his basement office and I believe they give him comfort. Just as my novels give me comfort.
The joy of this series of books, the Tales of a New World, revolves around the story line of a matriarchal society, set far in the future. It's a future that is unrecognizable. No technology. No mansions or even small huts to live in. People live in either the trees or homes built into the ground. There is one faction of humans who have taken over the ruins of a city (it sounds like New York City but there is no real ID to it), and they play a small but pivotal role in the stories. As the bad guys.
The other joy in this series of truly well-crafted books, of which #3 is likely being written as I write this, is that there are animals - pets that play a big part in the lives and futures of the characters. I have been in despair over finding books that show the power of the human-animal bond as it applies to a Sci-Fi fantasy series. In most books I've read, animals are food and nothing else. There are no pets. Perhaps one character wants to adopt a stray dog or cat, but he or she is resoundingly criticized for this desire, and the idea leaves the book after a paragraph or two. Because, the writers would have us believe, we will not have animals around us in the future. Unless they are food.
Hogwash, I say. In the future, whatever future we have ahead of us, animals (pets) will be more important, not less. Oh, I understand. Sure, when the food supply diminishes and we are all going hungry, instead of just a small percentage of us, there will be no place for the warmth and love of a pet by our sides. That is how many sci-fi writers write their stories. They believe in the destruction of the human race through alien invasion, or war, or famine, or some weather holocaust. They write about it well. And, they leave out pets because in the tragedy that is a destruction of our society at its most basic, our entire world, perhaps, the idea of sharing what little space and/or food is left with pets, is absurd.
Well, they are absurd. P.C. Cast has crafted a story that is uplifting and engaging, and it includes animals. It includes dogs in a pivotal role. It includes big cats (a lynx to be exact, though I would have liked smaller, pet-sized cats to be included also), and humans who value these creatures above their own lives.
Oh the beating of my heart as it goes wild when I read how much value the humans in Sun Warrior put on their animals. Which are not pets, by the way. They are companions of the highest sort, and vitally important to the future of the society these humans live in.
These are books about a life lived in nature, worshiping a Goddess, and celebrating community. The communities are smaller, of course. A few thousand. Which isn't that small, but still, compared to our lives today, it's tiny. The women are in charge. Not in a political sense, but in a life giving, caring sense. They do what women do - take care of the community. The men are quite happy to be hunters, protectors, and supporters.
As you would imagine, then, the women are a bit more developed. However, the men have their moments. Overall, the books want nothing more than to celebrate the power of being a strong woman. Hence, the titles, Moon Chosen, and , Sun Warrior. We learn from the titles that nature is a major part of the societies in the book, and that the people have evolved from whatever went before, to relying on nature, on themselves, on family, on friends, and on their belief that the giver of life, the Goddess, is their savior.
I'm rather sad that I am done with the second book.. I am sad because the third in the series is not out yet. It may be months, it may be longer, before it comes to my library.
I will be watching. I will be checking Amazon (for the announcement...unless I break down and buy the first two...and then must buy the third!). I will be lamenting my misfortune of discovering these wonderful stories before they are completed.
And yet, in my heart, I do not want them completed. They are part of a dream you don't want to wake up from. The writing is so well developed, the reader loses herself in the story and hates to put the book down, while at the same time, worries what she will do when she at last turns that last page.
Read these books. They give hope for a fine future. A future where I don't have to stop loving my pets.
Thank you, P.C. Cast. Keep writing!
(p.s. yes, dear reader, I know these are TEEN books...but they're worth your time because, really, aren't you sick of blood and guts and death and dying and sex and vampires? I sure am. Although, there is a good bit of all that in P.C. Cast's books... just saying... you don't have to be under 20 to enjoy the writing)
(p.p.s. and this so fits in with my new project, A Thousand Voices - Intimate Stories of Warrior Women)