Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rift, by Andrea Cremer, and a New View!

Monday, July 2, 2012.  The sun rose at 5:17 and it will set at 9:10.

The day is cool, so far, and the air feels wet.  It's overcast, but D went off to work without an outercovering saying, "It's Summer."  Yes, it is.  It's been muggy, colder inside than out, and I am REALLY not complaining, not after hearing about the rest of the nation's woes.  A friend in D.C. lost her porch when a tree fell in her backyard during the tornado strength storms over the weekend.

After a month and some odd days, it will be 2 months on July 5, we are finally putting up my birthday present!  During one of the last wind storms we awoke to the back screen door in pieces, dangling from its hinges and screws.  The wind caught it and slammed it back and forth against the house until it was limp and splintery.

We bought a new screen door on May 5, picked it up a week or two later.  I went out, got it securely packed in the jeep and received a short tutorial on how to finish a door.  I've spent the last 2 weeks or so sanding, wiping, oiling and staining.  The door is gorgeous and feels as soft as buttah.  Sliding my hands over the varnish, it's like glass, so smooth and silky.  The door guy is coming today.

We'd do it ourselves but the last time we did doors, we got into the worst fights!  Go to your left, no, your OTHER left! Lift, not that high! No, higher! Oh, my god, it was worse than learning how to drive a stick shift together.  Never again; it is so much more worth having someone else do it for me.  I did it once.  I know I can do it again.  I don't need to do it again.  And if I have to do it again, I may well have to do it with someone other than the husband.  Too easy to yell at the husband.

I just finished reading Rift, by Andrea Cremer.  It's the prequel to the Nightshade series, that really fun series of books about packs of werewolves with a very strong female presence.  Andrea Cremer is an early modern history professor at Macalester College.  Filled with allusions to sexual politics and the rights of women to make decisions about themselves and their lives, they are eye-opening and  empowering reads for young adults.  Okay, I read them long before realizing the self-empowerment parts - I just thought they were really good and the main character was so COOL!  Talk about a butt-kicking hero!

Rift takes place in Britain, after the Knights Templar, during the middle ages.  Ember is the younger daughter of a wealthy lord.  She was promised to the Conatus when her mother was saved from death during Ember's birth.  She's 16, now, and the Conatus, a secret group battling evil and demons throughout the land, have come to claim their due and train her as a warrior. 

Ember finds herself adapting easily to this world of warriors except for dealing with her tutor, Barrow.  She's finding life with Barrow to be particularly unnerving as she's not quite sure what the feelings she has for him are or if she is allowed to even have them. She's a quick study, strong, able with her weapons, but unsure as to what he feels for her.

When one of the group goes rogue, tempted into the dark magics to save her convent from a greedy abbot, convincing her order that the only way to survive is to join up with the demons, Ember has to decide whether to follow her or to leave the order and hunt down the knights she's grown to love.

Filled with action and weaponry and romance, Rift is a worthy addition to the Nightshade books.  It tells the beginning of the tale of the Keepers and the Searchers, the two groups represented in the Nightshade series.

I would have loved a pronunciation key for the names.  I played with all the possibilities until I just gave up and hummed them in my head as I ran across them.  Fionn=Finn?  Cian=Sean?  Shawn?  Does it matter?  Only if doesn't bother you to stop and figure them out each time they come up.  Eira=?

I really enjoy Andrea's books because the girls aren't afraid to get dirty.  They are strong and able, secure in their abilities to fight and win, a little arrogant, and will wade in to defend those they feel are on the right side of the battle.  They are sexual beings and comfortable with it.  The women in her books are warriors and proud of it.

And there are horses! 

(Ages 14 and up.  Philomel. $18.99.  Available August, 2012.

(No recompense received for the review of this book.)

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