Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored
— what is it that speaks to you?
I list Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality series first because his On a Pale Horse was the first book that I read, finished and came back to happily for several years after its release. As the remaining books of the series were released (Bearing an Hourglass, With a Tangled Skein, Wielding a Red Sword, Being a Green Mother, For Love of Evil, And Eternity, and finally Under a Velvet Cloak), the wash, rinse and repeat process would ensue. I know I reread at least one book from the series every couple of years. In fact, now close to – if not past, some twenty years after my reading it for the very first time, I think I’m ready to enjoy On a Pale Horse again.
Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality world is set in a future, but parallel earth where magic is as accepted as technology. Thanks to various mythologies we are familiar with the personification of the concepts Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature etcetera, all of whom are immortal. The twist here is that the beings that hold these positions only do so for certain amount time depending upon their “office” and they are very human indeed. For example Chronos (Time), lives his life in reverse to the rest of the incarnations, his future is actually their past and holds office only until the day he is born. Thus, if he is say 49 years of age when he takes office, he can only hold the office for 49 years and then must pass the job to his predecessor. Each incarnation’s struggles/exploits with themselves, with the world at large and with each other as humans and as office holders to these supernatural positions make for some very interesting reading. Imagine God as an office that you’re voted into. Gives you a little something to think about there doesn’t it? I concede that the world, society in general, has grown much more sophisticated in the passing years since these books were written. Purposely a little light-hearted at times, yet still thought-provoking, the books may not hold up to the more jaded, serious-minded adults, depending on literary tastes, but many will still delight in them.
The Kushiel Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey is a different animal. The novels are split into three sets of trilogies. In publishing and storyline chronological order are Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, Kushiel’s Avatar – the Phèdre Trilogy, Kushiel’s Scion, Kushiel’s Justice, Kushiel’s Mercy – the Imriel Trilogy and Naamah’s Kiss, Naamah’s Curse and Naamah’s Blessing – the Moirin Trilogy. It is set in a detailed, fully developed alternate world very akin, but not quite like our own medieval past. This is a world of alternate religious, lands and people hold some similarities to ours, but not. Not one of the heroes or heroines is perfect, not even close it. What is moral for our world takes on a different context in this one. With “Love as thou wilt” as a blessed precept of course there are some damn good sex scenes tossed throughout, but the protagonist lives are very much full of war, political intrigue, magic and of course love. Carey creates faraway lands with their own characters, flavors and intrigues that excites and frightens, that draw you in always wanting more, but never becoming so far out of reality as to disdain believability and that is what works for me. In spite of their amazing adventures the characters here remain so very real.
I discovered the series when the second book was released. As I read Kushiel’s Chosen, I quickly became so enthralled with the characters that I bought Kushiel’s Dart because I just had to know the details of how it all began. It was not that I curious and wanted to know about the characters …I. Had. To. Know. I have missed many a train stop as I became entrenched in the stories.
I love the Kushiel Legacy series so much, that not only do I have the physical books at home, but I also have the digital versions as well. I can now pull up and re-immerse myself into the world of the Kushiel Legacy whenever I like. If you love the Songs of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series, trust me, go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick up Kushiel’s Legacy to tide you over until R.R. Martin finally sits down and finishes the next book.