Book 2 of Desa Kinaid’s adventures set in the mystical alternate to the American Wild West is filled with unique lore, adventure, intrigue, action, and rich character development. Much of the lore may seem confusing, giving the reader reason to check out the first book in the series as well, but the text is clear and accessible to almost any reader. Penney works wonders with words as he has painted vivid, beautiful scenes of the world he created in Bullets and Bones. The characters are complex and believable, and the overall story-telling is superb.
It is clear that the author was inspired by fantasy classics such as “Lord of the Rings”, and while his books include a fair amount of original mysticism and maintain a surreal approach, there is an edge to the writing that grounds the reader and makes the overall experience a little more believable. Fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and even historic fiction will all greatly enjoy this series, and any avid reader will find this book to be a pleasure.
Synopsis: “Desa Kincaid set out to save her world from the machinations of a madman. She failed. Now, she finds herself a prisoner in her own city, navigating a web of political intrigue. Hope beckons in the form of the mysterious Spear of Vengeance, a weapon forged by the gods. To recover it, Desa will take a journey into the very heart of the ancient world and confront an enemy more powerful than any she has faced so far: her own guilt.”
In my morning review of the day’s headlines, I came across this piece by Newsweek’s Janice Williams about a Bobcat who was kicked out of a Dollar General in Kentucky for not adhering to mandatory coronavirus prevention measures. She wasn’t wearing a mask. My initial reaction was, “This is a failure of the public education system.” My second reaction was, “I wonder if Dollar General carries waffles.” They do.
It’s too late for the current public school system to catch this problem, and in a more progressive society, I think the animal’s core rights would be called into question. Properly dealing with ignorance is becoming a bigger and bigger problem globally, and this is the perfect example of how we continue to drop the ball. Rather than giving her a chance to cover up and resume her shopping, the Bobcat was forced from the store, costing Dollar General sales, and involving the authorities when they could have been busy with far more important cases. The animal is not to blame for her ignorance, especially since masks have not been made readily available to members of her species.
I propose hiring additional employees at stores such as Dollar General to handle the assistance of the lingually challenged species in our world. This creates jobs and builds bridges between species that have almost always lived with tension existing between them, not to mention things like hunting and picnic raiding. By extending a helping hand, behaviors between the species will change and the ignorance will slowly fade, and humans and Bobcats alike will enjoy full (and safe) access to stores like Dollar General. New employees could provide masks, offer assistance in the use of the masks, and even lead people like this Bobcat to areas of interest within the store. As the relationship grows, jobs could be offered to Bobcats as well.
Rather than dwelling on the oddities and irritations associated with the 2020 US presidential election, perhaps we should look forward with hope to the future when civil rights issues such as this become the platforms on which our prospective politicians stand.
The pace of life has only quickened in the wake of the technological explosion over the past few decades, amplified by a society that mimics the equally fast paced lifestyles of the celebrity influencers who have shaped our modern world. Many of those influencers burned out bright, running themselves into the ground in their often drug fueled frenzies. The concept of artificial intelligence or technology itself rising as force to be tamed (in my opinion) becomes important in aspects of life that we may not have considered as we built our current system while instant gratification and boredom become a monster that can be compared to things like drug addiction. However, it is not just addiction to technology or a false sense of reward that arises. Socially, life is becoming incredibly fast paced (we’re addicted to it), and when technology hits a plateau, the spiral into addiction begins to drive evolution and the progression of society. That is a problem.
How do we continue in insatiable desire for more when we all reach the top, or hit our plateaus? From my vantage, this is where desperation sets in. This is where a drug addict or adrenaline junkie turns to increasingly destructive behavior in order to fill a void that they created in themselves. Unfortunately, destructive behavior is not always seen as destructive until the damage is done. Many times, it is not. The social media monster is providing a platform for individuals to indulge in behavior and conversation that they would otherwise avoid entirely. Innocent flirting with dozens of others desensitizes people to emotion and reduces empathy. It’s an opinion, but Dr. Helen Reiss agrees. Arguments that spiral into the hateful and senseless trading of written lashings become a point of contention that just can’t be resolved if and when those individuals (or others with similarly opposing ideas) meet. All of this feels oddly safe when the players sit behind their portals into cyberspace. Here I am, sitting in a café and doing the same. The difference is, I believe I should and would be able to have this conversation with someone face to face without allowing it to devolve into a lust or hate filled rendezvous.
How long into the future can this continue? Consider how life has changed since the 90s, 00s, or even since 2010. At this rate of change, how many decades can this trend be followed before a boiling point in society is reached? When the dam breaks, it’s a free for all, I think, at least in my homeland (The US). I also think the seams are bursting as I type this. With the existence of coronavirus and HIV, political tension and civil rights activists forcing their opinions down the throats of their childhood friends, I tend to think it won’t end well. In a world where everyone lives in the same virtual home, we’re all family, and we’re not getting along. That perceived level of comfort with one another creates a sense of entitlement over one another’s ideas and lives.
My call to action is to ask ourselves why we should really care. Freedom, financial security, and personal rights, I suppose. Really, none of that is threatened in the United States. The United States government is not corrupt, though in a democracy, corruption is more likely when the masses are spoiled. Think about it. As it is, The US government gave its citizens money during a health and financial crisis (COVID-19) when many other governments took the opportunity to do the opposite, though not necessarily directly. A time out is necessary. Go to your rooms and think about what you’ve done before I talk to you. Really, the people who are social distancing online are doing it right (stay grounded). Take the opportunity to slow things down a little. Rawr.