Wolves and Hawks

Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession

I’m going to take a leaf out of Alex’s book and instead of talking about my childhood series obsessions (mostly in various shades of Enid Blyton) I’ll talk about the first fantasy series I really obsessed about as a teen. Not Eddings, though he was certainly my gateway drug.

Jennifer Roberson. Chronicles of the Cheysuli.

Looking back on those books now, they are one hot mess of problematic gender relationships. Every female protagonist ends up raped, and most of the male characters I initially liked turned out to be rapists. Which kind of sucks. It’s a little disturbing how little that meant to me as a fourteen year old discovering fantasy fiction – I didn’t *enjoy* reading about women being raped, but it was something so common in the fiction I was reading, that much like the grotesque violence in David Eddings books, it was something I shrugged off.

Wow, teenagers are kind of sociopathic creatures, aren’t they?

The other thing about the books which I remember, looking back, is that the romances really frustrated me. If I had known about the existence of fanfic back then, I would have been writing my own emo stories about Finn/Alix and all the other couples I WANTED which never happened, while systematically erasing all those boring canon couples.

Wow. These books have not aged well in my memory.

So why did I love them so much? Shapechangers was I think the first fantasy novel I ever read which had a female protagonist, and I loved Alix deeply and fiercely, even if she did go off with the wrong bloke. I loved Keely as well, who I think was Alix’s great-granddaughter. The whole thing was a gorgeously textured family saga, covering many generations, with magic and politics and diplomacy all tangled up together. I loved the scope of the story, the uncomfortable relationship between the rulers of Homana and the shapechangers who began the series as outcasts and ended up, through marriage and strategic policies, as the rulers themselves. I loved the epic, tangled family tree and how the “heroes” and “villains” were ultimately united through love and children.

And, of course, I fell in love with the characters. Doesn’t it always come down to that?

The funny thing is, while I also followed Roberson’s other series, about the Sword Dancers, which was far more feminist, had a far more innovative and unusual fantasy setting and had a fabulous romance at the heart of it, I never loved it quite as much. Teenagers. Also with the rubbish taste!

Other Days of the Book Meme:

Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series OR your favorite book of all time
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book (of any sex or gender)
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?