I spent most of yesterday prepping for my class this afternoon. I'm kind of hoping no one comes. I would rather have no one than just one or two people.

I also read Sharon Shinn's The Dream Maker's Magic the third book in a trilogy of gentle, magical, fables, set in a agrarian world. In this world there are three magical professions: Truth Tellers, who are incapable of telling lies, Safe Keepers, who keep secrets, and Dream Makers, who make the wishes come true. The books are interconnected, but can stand alone. My favorite is The Safe Keeper's Secret. This book is a close second.

The Dream Maker's Magic is about Kellen, a girl who is raised as a boy because her mother insists she was male at birth. She befriends Gryffin, a bright, crippled boy in her town. Together they stare down the odds that face them in their small community.

One of the things I've really loved about these books is the cast of supporting characters. Kellen's ability to make friends with interesting people ties into a finale with surprising revelations of Shakespearean proportions.

This book was also an excellent example of one of my favorite themes in YA lit, "If I'm the person I'm really supposed to be, will people still like me?" I hate to admit how much this theme still resonates with me. It just goes to show that "fitting in" and making friends isn't something that's left in adolesence. Knowing who you are and how to be that person in the world is a life task, especially for those who, for whatever reason, aren't sticking to a traditional life script.

["... I'm in disguise because I thought it would be easier to move into my new life this way."

"But you're in your new life," he said. "Time to be yourself."

I laughed a little. "But what will I say to Leona? And Sallie? What will they think of me when I reveal who I am?"

"We all have to do that at some point," he said. "We all have to reveal our true natures to the people we've come to trust. A disguise is all very well in a cold and hostile world, but when you come to a place of warmth and safety, you have to risk being yourself."
p. 232]

This book talks about the appropriate time for disguises and for revealing them. It also says that kindness is a form of magic. Nicely crafted. I'm just sorry the series is over; but Shinn's has a gift for short, sentimental, tales. I hope this won't be her last foray in the direction.

["Kindness is a form of magic," he said. "So everyone should be capable of at least a little." p.84]

Earlier this year I read The Thirteenth House the second book in her Twelve Houses fantasy series. I liked it better than the first, Mystic and Rider, but the series hasn't captured my imagination in the same way as the Dream Maker series, or The Shapechanger's Wife. However, I do recommend Twelve Houses to people who like strong, female, fantasy characters. The kind of readers who enjoy Mercedes Lackey seem to like this series as well.

The Dream Maker books have a lot to say about vocation vs. will. There are the things we want, and there are the things we are actually good at, the place where ones gifts find natural outlet in the world. If I lived in their world I would definitely be a Truth Teller, albeit one reluctant to take on that role.

In anycase, if you haven't read this series, (and I know I send Safe Keeper's Secret to several of you) I highly recommend it. Just be forwarned: the second book Truth Teller's Tale is definitely focused around a teen romance.

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zalena

June 2015

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