My reading life is usually split into 2: reading a book that I should read alongside a book that I want to.
My current Wook (worthy book) is Better Angels of Our Nature, and it is a really fascinating read that challenges preconceptions about violence and society, it is also 841 pages. After reading this for any length of time though I need a digestive period, and a read of something completely different.
Jordan L Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series was recommended by so many people that I immediately downloaded all 3, but as I had just finished The Magpie Lord (and surreptitiously a Case of Possession) fancied a bit if an era change, and something not serial. I noticed JLH had written a stand alone called Hainted, which found its way directly to my Kindle. I devoured this in just under 2 days.
I love Scandi-stuff, I lived in Denmark for a while and if I could would furnish my entire house with blonde wood, so a character called Lief I was predisposed to like. I was not disappointed.
Set in modern day America, with good and bad magic existing alongside the everyday normality. The magical element concerns haint’s (ghosts) and those whose role it is to make the haint pass over. The crux of the plot is that Lief is hunting down Runar, a necromancer or raiser of the dead, and his travels take him to Dan’s farm. Dan has been running the farm since the death of his mother six years previously as well as caring for his two younger siblings. Dan is gay and very much in the closet, Lief is out; eyelinered, nail varnished, pierced and tattooed.
The world building here is clever, weaving Greek and Norse mythology but very subtly , reinforced by some of the speech patterns, one of my favorites is ‘Hectates bitches’ . It’s also actually scary as well, not something I was expecting but just anther layer floating over the mythology aspect. Running in parallel is the burgeoning romance between Lief and Dan, and how being gay in rural America is dealt with, answer not well at all. The relationship between Dan and his siblings is delicate and fragile, and subtly written adding yet another layer to the plot.
The last 70 pages are thrilling, swords, love, honor, myth – if I had one tiny criticism it would be that it happened too quickly !
Really looking forward to reading more from JLH as well, its always great when you find an author who has a body of work ready for the devouring.
For the song choice, I heard this on the radio this morning, and it seemed so apt, not just for Hainted but also for the whole Olympic debate, this is an amazing song – and you can download it for a nominal fee from here http://hoziermusic.bandcamp.com/music