When finishing a book, have you ever had a tingle run through your body, making you momentarily more aware of the real world than the fictional one? I’ve experienced the sensation on occasion, but only when finishing a very good book.
It usually only happens the first time through.
I bring it up, because such a feeling just ran through my body mere moments ago, as I finished The Dragon’s Revenge, the final volume of The Stargods trilogy. I don’t remember if I had that sensation the first time I read this book, but I know for a fact I haven’t felt it every time I’ve finished the novel. That doesn’t change how satisfying a read this has been.
All the characters are finally introduced and assembled upon the stage, all the plot points are wrapped up, the story of how the Stargods came to Kardia Hodos is concluded. Kardia Hodos being the name of the planet, of course. The phrase, according to the book, is Greek for “the pathway of the heart” and neatly summarizes how our main characters come to feel about the place. It is on this planet that they have had their hero’s journeys (or the conclusion of said journey in some cases) and come out of it stronger, more confident, and better people.
I don’t want to say too much because I’d much rather you read this trilogy, this series, for yourself and discover it the way I did years ago. I think that because The Stargods is the set in which magic and technology mesh, I find it the most relatable, the one that strikes the strongest chord within me. You know how much I love fantasy, that I read two or three times as much of it as I do science fiction. But a lot of fantasy is set in a more medieval world, and it’s usually at least one step removed from our lives here and now. Not that the far-flung future isn’t also a step removed, but it’s easy enough to imagine better technology. Not so much the lack of access to industrialization.
I suppose one factor is that the Dragon Nimbus books were Irene Radford’s first novels, followed by the Dragon Nimbus History and Merlin’s Descendants (an unrelated series). So by the time she got to The Stargods, she was an accomplished and experienced author, and able to produce a much more polished whole. I’m not saying the older books are bad, simply that you can tell they’re earlier works. I know I’ve said before that I’m willing to overlook “first book syndrome”, and it’s true. I’m just less likely to reread those. Of course, being the oldest books, I’ve already read them more times to start with…
Regardless, the point is that I really love this trilogy and am pleased to have taken the time to revisit it. Thus fortified, it’s time to dive again into the realm of new books. The next one doesn’t look too long, but who knows how much time I’ll have to read tomorrow. After all, my morning is going to be focused on the Mishkan HaNefesh for Yom Kippur services.
I still can’t help wondering if they split the High Holy Day prayerbooks into separate volumes because people complained about the size of the regular siddurim [prayerbooks]. Mishkan T’filah is a lot larger than the old Gates of Prayer, and a bit heavier as well. It’s the only good reason I can think of to have one book each for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, instead of the single Gates of Prayer. I am less surprised by the inclination to give the books a singular, Hebrew name. The movement’s been coming back around, becoming more Orthodox (but nowhere near the actual Orthodox movement, or even the Conservatives) for decades. After all, a hundred years ago some Reform synagogues celebrated Shabbat on *gasp* Sunday! Not Saturday! Well, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, but that’s besides the point. The point is that now I’m really just rambling on and I should probably go do things so that I don’t forget them tomorrow.