Most series, if they go on long enough, start getting strange. In a large number of series, this tends to be around book three or four. That would be when the author introduces a plot point that seemingly has no buildup, that the reader has no prior understanding it’s even possible in this world, that is just plain out of left field. I guess you could say it’s “jumping the shark,” but that’s not really a term I use.
Aerie is the book in the Dragon Jousters where things get weird. And sure, I suppose you can say that there are some clues as to where this entire series has been leading up to. And I cannot deny that this is a finale in every way. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t stop and stare at my book the first time I got to the climax. I still find it to be out there, in fact. That doesn’t stop me from reading and enjoying the book though.
I suppose I should be happy that Aerie is a decisive conclusion to the series, unlike Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles which now have aliens in them. I don’t know when she’ll next choose to add on to the series, but I know she will and I have to wonder what she’ll do this time. Well, if she chooses to add on to the end of the timeline. There’s a much smaller chance of more insanity if she chooses to tell a vampire’s history, particularly if said individual is more than a century old.
I had a similar “what on earth” moment when I got to the climax of David Weber’s Out of the Dark, but I’ll save that rant for when I next reread the book. There’s several other books and series that have evoked similar reactions, but it’s not really that important ain the end.
What is important is that, after the terror Lackey evoked in Sanctuary, she offers a solution. On the last page, one character says “I choose to be the hawk, not the calf.” That is to say, they are choosing to be the agent of their own destiny, rather than doing what they are told for a nebulous promise of safety that cannot be guaranteed. Recognizing that life is dangerous, whether you seek it out or not, so you might as well be the one making the key decisions for yourself.
It’s the choice to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. If the status quo is unacceptable, protest and work to change it. If you are unhappy with your life, make changes to it. Don’t just go along with the flow in the hopes that everything will be okay. Make it okay.
It’s a poignant message in today’s world, especially since last month was Pride Month. There were many signs of hope as parades took place worldwide…but also indicators of how much further we have to go to ensure that all marginalized peoples are able to live their lives in honesty and security.
Speaking of pride, Lackey has always been a supporter of homosexuality and often inserts such characters into her books. They are not always main characters, and sometimes may get little more than a mention, but most of the time they are supporting castmembers. I’d say LGBT, but bisexuality might only be mentioned at best and I’ve no recollection of reading a transgender character in one of her books. It makes me think of an image I saw on Facebook not too long ago of the acronym “LGBT.” The L was a little larger than normal text, the G was huge, the B was about half the size of the L, and the T was about two thirds the size of the B. There were the usual other letters afterwards too, but so tiny you could barely make them out. It was a portrayal of what “LGBT” means to the world in general.
Being asexual, I do enjoy recognizing people like me in my books, but it is very difficult, especially if the term is never used. Essentially, if the author never comes out and says a person is asexual, you can assume they’re heterosexual and simply have no love interest yet. And don’t get me started on how there is no such thing as an aromantic in books. I love Lackey’s books, but there is just about always a love story somewhere. The most she does to change it up is homeosexual instead of heterosexual.
And because these are the most popular relationships by far to portray, the world as a whole is under the impression that these are the most important relationships, and that others don’t really exist. Or they do, but they’re a minority, so infintesimal a percentage that it’s not worth talking about. And well I can’t say that other sexual orientations and their relationships aren’t a minority, I’m reasonably certain that they’re far more common than most people think, because popular media doesn’t accurately represent the percentages. It is likely impossible to know what the percentages actually are, but I’m sure that other groups are more common than we’re led to believe.
Wow, did that get off topic. I should probably go shelve Aerie and decide what to read tomorrow. There’s a number of books in the Pile, and I’m considering another amazon order too.