Contrasts are somewhat insane when you actually sit down and analyze them. There are days I struggle to make it through a dinky two hundred page book and days when I burn through close to eight hundred pages. While working a full day. I mention in my “About” page that I might be addicted to reading. See, back in highschool when I was going through a barrage of testing – standardized tests, AP tests, a lot of important stuff in just a few weeks – I wouldn’t let myself free-read. To better study and focus on the material, you see.
By the end of those weeks I was literally vibrating in place, just itching to get my hands and brain on a book, any book.
I think I was getting pretty close to that point last week, between my busy schedule and poor choice of reading material that just…wasn’t interesting me. Or wasn’t what I wanted to read so very badly. Whatever, the point is that today I burned through all of Revolution, the third Secret World chronicle book by Mercedes Lackey, Dennis Lee, and Veronica Giguere.
Invasion, being the first book, had the job of setting the stage, creating the inflammatory incident, and introducing the main characters out of the vast cast. World Divided then picked up by developing those characters further, creating additional threats, and showing that the main threat was not going to vanish save in terms of attempting to track it down. Revolution is a third book, yes, but makes it clear that this is not, in any way, a trilogy. Here we see reminders that yes, this was a roleplay and yes this is Mercedes Lackey. Romances that have been gradually set up over the preceeding novels are finally coming to fruition. There’s also major changes in power structure, as well as numerous deaths, betrayals, changes of sides, and more.
And if you think you can predict the climax of this book…have I got news for you…but no spoilers.
When I initially gave in to curiosity and gave the series a shot, I think it was finishing Revolution that completely hooked me. I’ve mentioned that, because these stories are character-driven, every reader is going to have their favorites whom they’d like to follow more closely than others. And this book provides a huge twist and turning point for some of my favorite characters that, on reflection, had been hinted at, but I hadn’t realized the first time through. So it was a sucker punch to the gut and it hurt so good when I read it the first time.
Rereading these books now, in today’s environment, is rather interesting. Someone at least four years ago typed “it’s always good to punch a Nazi” with the confidence that this would always be true. In my view, it’s always going to be true, but to look at the media today and see that statement questioned…! It really does always come back to Nazis. They were, for the world at large, the absolutely perfect embodiment of Evil in human form. Not just the greater evil of sadism and science and everything else horrible in the world, but in the lesser and passive evil of the every day person ignoring what is plain to see. Their imagery and memory has been used in so many forms of media to represent Evil over the years that it really is sickening to see these things defended.
I read in a textbook once that the reason why people started to talk about the Holocaust and their horrific experiences was because the Neo-Nazis announced that they’d march through Skokie, Illinois in the seventies. For those outside the area, Skokie is a suburb just north of Chicago with a very high Jewish population, especially at that time. (Since then much of the population has grown up or retired and moved elsewhere.) I’ve been to the Holocaust museum in Skokie – before and after they got their shiny new building, and it sickens me to think of just how close to home this really was. Which was, after all, the point. Hate crimes and antisemitism have been up ever since the election results came in. People who want to remake the world in their image by wiping out everything different feel no compunction or guilt about violently shoving their opinions in everyone’s face and most of us…just watch.
That’s what makes a hero, especially like those in our books and media. That’s what makes the characters in Secret World worth reading about. They don’t just stand and watch, they rise up and say “no.” They stand and fight to make a difference in the world, to make it better.
Judaism calls us to heal and repair the world, Tikkun Olam. It’s the charge to leave the world a better place than we found it. And just because things are backsliding right now doesn’t mean that this is inevitable. We just have to grit our teeth and fight back, knowing that too much of the world doesn’t actually want to go back into the box. That we have the power to make a difference. They just don’t want us to realize it and use that power.
I’m sorry this post kind of deviated into a soapbox, but I’m not sorry for my opinions. I may be as guilty as you of just standing and watching, but I’m a registered voter and I believe in my Constitutional duty and right to cast a vote this fall. I’m told there could be a lesbian representative in my district someday soon, and I’m happy to help make it happen.
I’m also happy to keep reading this series and watching Nazis get punched in the face. A lot. Also punched from space. That one had to hurt even more. And yes, I’m classing these books as fantasy instead of science fiction. Superpowers kind of blur the line, but given Lackey’s forte and the fact that magic is a fact in this world, I’m going with fantasy.