Thursday, March 27, 2008

Recent reads

A War of Gifts is a short story by Orson Scott Card, sent in Ender's world during the time that he's at Battle School. It features several of the characters from Ender's Game, namely Ender and Dink, but it introduces Zeke, a young boy who believes in Christ, peace, and whatever his father says. Taken against his will to Battle School, Zeke vows to participate in nothing, setting himself against everyone else there. Dink, meanwhile, is wagging his own little battle against TPTB (refusing a promotion, refusing to play the games). As something of a joke, Dink gives another Dutch boy a Sinterklass gift, which Zeke seizes as a violation of the no-religion rule at Battle School. His attempts to get Dink in trouble backfire at first; in fact, Dink manages to get most of the other boys to continue the gift giving, but eventually this plan backfires when Zeke manages to get the Muslim students involved. Ender isn't featured much in this novella, although he does play the peacemaker in the end.

Despite the fact that I found the story interesting, I don't really feel like this story belongs in Ender's world; more like Card was writing this to prove some sort of point. Religion never really featured in Ender's world (a few small mentions in the beginning of the book, but that was it). From what I remember, religion becomes important in the Peter and Bean sequels .

Night Life by Caitlin Kittredge was another recent read (last night, actually) and another disappointment. Det. Luna Wilder is a reluctant were in hiding as weres and witches aren't welcome. (It was only a few years back that they could be shot on sight.) Hiding her nature, Luna lives with her witch cousin Sunny and gets by. A homicide detective, Luna gets called in when a young woman turns up dead, her throat torn out and her index finger removed. Starting to search for the killer, Luna ends up with another case (missing person), as well as crossing paths with one of the local were packs. Despite reading through the whole novel, I couldn't seem to connect to Luna or any of the other characters. Also, things weren't explained so much as just stated; you had to take things for fact. I don't mind a bit of that in a "new" world, but the fact that everything had to be taken for fact bugged me. And the weres seemed to be mostly violent people (OK), but they were also usually prostitutes, pimps, or dealers; not really sympathetic characters. Despite how much I crave books in urban fantasy, I don't think I'll be reading any of the following books.

No comments: