Thursday, February 02, 2006
Strong, Independent Girl Coming Up
So, I have been reading the Claidi Journals, written by Tanith Lee. I am going to go right out on a limb and say that I am not really a fantasy gal. I mean, I have read and enjoyed all the mainstream stuff - Harry Potter, Golden Compass, that sort of thing. But I have never really been patient enough for all of the world-building that goes along with most fantasy novels. I read Wolf Tower (the first of the series) after it was recommended in an old review journal I was looking at. I was interested enough to check out the rest of the series. But now I am 3/4 of the way through the series, and I am seriously loving this series. Let me go back and give you some highlights.
There is a girl named Claidi, who has been a slave in a royal palace since she was young. The story is that her mother was a princess who fell in love with a slave. When Claidi was born, her mother and the slave were banished, and Claidi was left to become a lady's maid in her father's place. Suddenly, a whole slew of events begin to turn Claidi's understanding of her life upside down. Claidi is asked by one of the queens of the palace to help a prisoner escape and to go with him on his journey. As she begins this journey, she takes along a stolen journal.
The journal (and us as readers) are along for all of Claidi's adventures, and she has many. They are all related to the royal structure of her world, and how she relates to that world as a possible princess. I won't give away too many plot twists, but there are quite a few.
What I love about these books (Wolf Tower, then Wolf Star, then Wolf Queen and Wolf Wing - which I haven't read yet) most of all is Claidi herself. Even as a servant, Claidi has had a strong sense of herself. She does not bow to the normal fashions, as the other servants do, and in fact she thinks the ladies she serves are fairly silly. As Claidi journeys out into the world, she is forced to think for herself. Her plans and ideas sometimes go a little wrong, but Claidi quite often takes care of herself. She is independent and does not need a man, although there is a little romance throughout these books. Claidi admits it when she can't deal with a situation, and sometimes (okay, more than just sometimes) gets herself into trouble. Sometimes she isn't sure what to do. These books are about Claidi's freedom, and how she explores and creates her own identity after she leaves the royal house. There is something special about Claidi, and it keeps the adventures going. It keeps me coming back for more. This is a great series. Pick it up when you want to get lost in a good read.