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07 Apr, 2016

The True Game

/ posted in: Reading The True Game The True Game by Sheri S. Tepper
on 1996
Pages: 501
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

In the lands of the True Game, your lifelong identity emerges as you play-Prince or Sorcerer, Demon or Doyen. Raising the dead is the least of the Necromancer's Talents-he is a wild card who threatens the True Game itself. A giant stalks the mountains. Shadowpeople gather by the light of the moon. Bonedancers raise up armies of the dead. And the Wizard's Eleven sleep trapped in their dreams. Players, take your places. The final Game begins now...

Goodreads

If you’ve spent much time around here you know that I’m a fairly rabid Sheri S. Tepper fan.  I’ve had this trilogy on my shelf for a while.  I actually read book one before but got bogged down in book two.  I was going to read her most recent book and then realized that she is tying together a lot of her series in that book and that I needed to have read this to understand that.  So, I decided in the spirit of Weirdathon (because it totally fits that) and Read My Own Damn Books, that I was going to get through this in March.

These are the first books that she published.  Because of that they are fairly different from the later books of her that I love for their feisty feminist and ecological perspectives.  These are more straight high fantasy.

King's Blood Four (Land of the True Game, #1)King’s Blood Four by Sheri S. Tepper

In this world, people in the upper classes will manifest a magical power by their late teens. They then spend the rest of the lives (which may not be long) caught up in Games, which are magical duels. Some of these are massive battles that can destroy whole regions.  Some people can fly, others can transport things, others can charm people into following them, some can read minds, etc. There are 11 major powers and then numerous subcategories that can mix together weakened versions of the main eleven.

Peter is a foundling being educated at a school for boys who will grow up to be part of the game. He hasn’t shown a power yet when a scandal requires him to leave the school. On his journey he stumbles across a carved set of game pieces representing the first people who had each of the major powers. He thinks they are just toys until he realizes that when he holds them he can manifest the powers of each of them.

This is a complicated world that you get dropped down into.  I generally like books that don’t spell out everything for you right off but I had a hard time understanding all the rules of the world the first time through this book.  This is my favorite of the trilogy.

 

Necromancer Nine (Land of the True Game, #2)Necromancer Nine by Sheri S. Tepper

Peter begins to find out the secret behind his game pieces as he follows clues to the land of the wizards where these “toys” are made.

This book was slow for me.  There are some very troubling stories about women here.  I would have been uncomfortable with them if I didn’t know that the author became a great feminist writer.  It seemed like this was her starting to put her own ideas of women overcoming submission into her stories.  They don’t quite get the payoffs that they will in future novels but it was interesting to see the start of this part of her creative process.  I can see why I didn’t get through this one the first time.  I powered through it because I was determined more than I was really enjoying it.

Wizards Eleven (Land of the True Game, #3)Wizards Eleven by Sheri S. Tepper

It is hard to talk about the plot of this one without giving away spoilers for the other books. This one was much better than the second. The female characters get much stronger. I absolutely love the giant birds who pull a wagon. Peter shows some emotional growth as he learns how to deal with his talent.

 

 


Overall, this is a good fantasy/sci fi series but not a great one.  There are glimpses here and there of the writer that she will become and you can definitely see her skills grow as she writes each book.

18 Dec, 2015

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall

/ posted in: Reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall Gibbon's Decline and Fall by Sheri S. Tepper
on 1997-06
Pages: 480
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in New Mexico

A wave of fundamentalism is sweeping across the globe as the millennium approaches, and a power-hungry  presidential candidate sees his ticket to success in making an example out of a teenage girl who abandoned her infant in a Dumpster. Taking the girl's case is Carolyn Crespin, a former attorney, who left her job for a quiet family life. Now she must call upon five friends from college, who took a vow to always stand together. But their success might depend on the assistance of Sophy, the enigmatic sixth friend, whom they all believed dead.

Goodreads

In 1959 a group of college freshmen bonded over making a very beautiful girl look ugly in order to help her avoid male attention. Part of her disguise was carrying Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The women call themselves the Decline and Fall Club.

Now it is the year 2000. The group still gathers annually.

Bettiann– A former beauty queen who became anorexic. She married a rich man and spends her time on charities.

Ophy – She became a doctor in an inner city ER.

Jessamine – She is a PhD who works with primate behavior.

Faye – a famous sculptor

Carolyn – a lawyer who is coming out of retirement to handle the case of a teenager who was gang raped, got pregnant, and is accused of murdering the resultant baby.

Agnes – She always wanted to be a nun but was required to get a MBA before joining in order to develop a company to make the order self sustaining. She is now Mother Superior and has been ordered by her bishop to hand over her business to local men because it isn’t proper for women to have jobs.

Sophy – Probably Native American but she would never confirm that. Traveled the world collecting women’s stories and wrote books. Disappeared three years ago but everyone else in the group thinks that they are being haunted by her.

The world in this version of 2000 has been very violent. Gangs of men are in the streets trying to shame women whom they consider to be immoral. However, slowly people are starting to notice that violent crime is dropping. The divorce rate is going up. Rapes went up sharply and then decreased. What does this have to do with Sophy’s disappearance and bands of old ladies vandalizing fashion stores?


I love Sherri S. Tepper’s books.  They are wonderfully, wholeheartedly, unashamedly feminist books.  If you like Margaret Atwood, consider reading Tepper.  I recommend The Fresco for a starting point in her books.

Sort of Spoilers

 

The end of the book offers a discussion what you would choose of the following options:

  • Heterosexual couples bond in monogamous pairs and can reproduce once every decade if they choose
  • Females become able to reproduce without men like some lizards
  • Puberty is delayed so only mature adults are able to reproduce
  • The world is similar to now but women can only get pregnant if they make a conscious decision to allow it
  • Keep the world the way it is now

What would you choose and why?

I would choose option 1.  That eliminates all the drama between people over sexual attraction and fidelity and keeps the population down.

19 Feb, 2015

The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper

/ posted in: Reading The Waters Rising by Sherri S. Tepper The Waters Rising by Sheri S. Tepper
on August 31st 2010
Pages: 512
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Goodreads

 

A princess is dying from a mysterious illness.  A young soul carrier has been found to take her soul from Norland to her homeland across the sea.  But first the child must do a favor for the princess and retrieve a package that she has hidden.  She is told that her highest priority is to get herself and the contents of the package back across the sea to the land of Tingawa that the princess came from.

Neighboring kingdoms are controlled by an evil family who have been trained as killers by a mysterious Old Dark Man.  They have an absolute hatred of Tingawans.  They will stop at nothing to make sure the soul carrier doesn’t make it to her ship alive.

Meanwhile the waters are rising.  Eventually they will swamp all the land on Earth.  Already villages have had to move to higher ground.  While the people of Norland try to adapt to the changing landscape, the leaders of Tingawa and the Sea King have decided to plan for the eventual demise of the Earth.


This book is actually telling two different stories.  The first is the story of the evil family and why they are trying to kill the Tingawans.  That wasn’t that interesting to me.  It covered the first part of the book and did drag.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I love this author and that there is a sequel to this book now that I want to read I’d have stopped.

The second story is the plan for survival when there is no more land.  This story I was interested in.  I think this is the story that continues into the sequel.  When the book got to this part it started to really move quickly for me.

I’m looking forward to reading Fish Tails to see what happens.

**I just looked it up on Goodreads to get that link and there are characters in there from a series that I have but that I haven’t read yet.  Crap.  It looks like she is tying together her entire lifetime of books into one big finale.  Now I have read the others to properly appreciate it! **

 

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