Friday, December 27, 2013

If you’re looking for moose...




I recently had a conversation with someone and have been thinking about it off and on for most of the week. 
 
This person looked at something and what they saw wasn’t what was actually there.  At least, that was my perception.  It’s been weighing on my thoughts. I’ve been trying to figure out how they could look at the same exact thing I was and see something sinister, when what I saw was a message that was clearly meant to be positive and uplifting.

As usual, the world and a little bit of reflection have a way of resolving most problems. As is the case with this situation.

I was driving home from visiting with my family on Christmas Eve.  All roads between my brother’s and home are lined with heavily wooded forest.  It was dark out and a large, dark shape appeared in the tree line. 

Now, see, in Alaska we have an abundance of these large beasties that have a tendency to run out in front of fast moving vehicles.  This is especially common in the winter when it’s dark and hard to see these creatures coming, and when ice and snow make stopping quickly an unlikely prospect.

I’ve personally had one of those unlucky meetings of metal and fur.  Moose in Alaska weigh on average about half a ton and the result of the collision are always highly destructive for both parties.  Having experienced this first hand, I’m a bit hyper-aware. I typically lend extra attention to the sides of the roads and the abundance of forests that line them.

So, as it turns out, the dark shape I saw on the side of the road in the trees resolved into just that, a dark space where the trees were thin of the snow covered branches.  In other trips, large, uprooted stumps have also appeared as moose upon first glance.

The point is, when you’re looking for and expecting moose, you’ll see them, whether or not they are really there.  The same goes for sinister intentions and negativity or uplifting intentions and positivity.  If you go looking for something, you’re probably going find it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Debt Collector Season One by Susan Kaye Quinn - Review



I recently picked up a copy of the first episode in the Debt Collector serial from season one.  It was free so I thought I'd give it chance since I'd seen up popping up in quite a few places.  I'm glad I did.

Below is my review.

Lirium is a debt collector, one of a limited percent of the population with a genetic mutation that allows them to draw the life force out of a person and contain it within themselves and then transfer it to high potentials, people who are contributing great things to society. 

The bean counters/life actuaries calculate what a person’s life span is and how much they can make in that time.  If their debt exceeds what they can pay back, they are transferred out, giving their remaining life force to those high potentials, allowing them to shine.

As a debt collector, Lirium has to live a solitary life, lest he fall into the unsavory, brutal hands of one of the three mob families in the area.  It’s a lonely, miserable life with a job that leaves holes in his very soul.  He tries to fill them with his post collection routine of alcohol and anonymous sex with one of Mistress A’s sex workers.

When he’s sold out by the same Mistress to a life hit seeker, looking not for a high but a mercy hit, he does it, but then uproots and moves to a whole new place.  Now he’s stuck living his miserable life without the ritual that helps keep him alive and sane.

The same mercy hit seeker sheds light on a terrible side of the world he believe impossible because he trusted in the system he works for, a system that is supposed to keep kids alive not kill them, no matter what.

Now that he doesn’t have half his sanity keeping routine, that only leaves alcohol and the feeling of giving a mercy hit to a dying kid.  He spirals out of control, nearly losing it.  His Psych Officer, Candy Kane Thornton sends him a mentor to help him get a grip.  Unfortunately, the mob is after the mentor and Lirium gets caught in the crossfire.  

This series is a breath of fresh air in a time when there seems to be a lot of books out there that either push the line or flat out promote questionable behavior and ethics as being okay or even good.  Sure, these types of books are fantasy, but as they are read and accepted, they slowly erode the perception of what is good and what isn’t.  

I was afraid this book might be the same, as the title and the perceived premise match other series’ out there that are.  I figured as they are short serials and Susan Kaye Quinn has a YA series she directs people to since this series has adult content, and the first of each is free that I’d download it and eventually give it a try.  I’m guilty of being a cover junky, and since this cover was done by the wonderfully talented Steven Novak (he did one of my own covers), I of course loved it and it gave a different impression than what I feared the book series might be. 

Lirium is a hero that is flawed and broken, but deeply good. He’s in a terrible situation, forced to work for the system or fall into the hands of the mob and either do far worse or die a terrible death.  He believes the line the company tells him, because he has to and has never looked to closely. But when the lie is revealed, he can’t live with it.  He falls apart and in doing so finds a reason the get it together, a reason to live.

Over the course of the nine episodes I watched Lirium grow and become the hero I knew he was, the one I saw in him in that very first episode.  He is good, actually good, not that I’m not sure if he’s the hero or not good.  I loved that about this book. It gave me someone worth rooting for and investing myself in.  Every time I was afraid he’d disappoint me, he instead surprised me with his capacity to not give up or give in to the easy way.

Every character in this series was interesting and I found myself hoping they would all turn out the way Lirium did. Even the ones that started out bad, they were heartbreaking and I loved them.
I also loved that Lirium’s influence on them helped to elevate them instead of the other way around.
I completely loved this series and cannot wait for the next season!

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Monica Millard's books on Goodreads
Children of the Gods Children of the Gods (Chosen, #1)
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ratings: 44 (avg rating 3.91)

Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story Chosen - A Children of the Gods Short Story
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ratings: 17 (avg rating 3.47)

The Fall The Fall
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ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.83)

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Darkhouse
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Rebellion
Blood and Feathers
The Rithmatist
Forbidden Blood
Last Blood
Out for Blood
Bad Blood
Flesh and Blood
Blood Rights
Girl Parts


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