Thursday, December 27, 2018

Discussion: What themes are you drawn to?


As I mentioned in my last post on The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes (find it here) the character of Desidora gave me an idea for a blog post. It worked out and also coordinates with a reader suggestion for discussions. I'm wondering if there are specific themes within stories or characters that you are drawn to?

I've realized over the years that I'm really drawn to death-related themes and characters. I have no idea why this is. It's not really a new thing for me. Even as a young kid I was drawn to the more morbid things. Growing up I wanted to be Lydia from Beetlejuice (my favorite movie, by the way.) My mom would jokingly call me Wednesday Addams when I got especially morbid. There's even a show with two seasons and a movie that I got obsessed with called Dead Like Me it has Mandy Patinkin (Princess Bride, Criminal Minds) and Ellen Muth who star as Grim Reapers.

I thought that I'd give some examples of books and characters that I've been drawn to, starting with Desidora from the Palace Job. Now let me start by saying that while she was my favorite, she was definitely not the main character of the story. What interested me about Desidora is that she began as a Priestess for the book's God/Goddess of love where she did matchmaking. She was then pulled to become the god of Death. Throughout her scenes in the book, there's a constant struggle between her two personas. On the note of serving Death Gods, one of my favorite books is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers where the main character is a nun within a convent that serves the books God of Death. I may have to reread this one sometime.

Another Death Character I've been drawn to is Terry Pratchett's character Death in the Disc World series. If you aren't familiar with Disc World, there are about 40 or more books, and there's really no specific reading order. You can read them chronologically or by a list of themes/ characters, one of them being Death. I've read the books involving Death out of order, and I'm most drawn to him in The Hogfather. I don't think I have a blog post for any of these books to link to, but the general idea is that Hogswatch is the Disc World's version of Christmas, and the Hogfather is their version of Santa Claus. The Hogfather has gone missing, and it's up to Death to take up the robes and save Hogswatch. It's highly entertaining.

If you've been reading my posts recently, you'll know I've gotten completely addicted to a series by Neal Shusterman. The series starts with Scythe and is a futuristic Science Fiction where we've conquered death and illness with science and the creation of the Thunderhead. However, for population control deaths still need to happen, and an elite organization called the Scythedom is in charge of "gleaning" the population. The Scythes are supposed to be above corruption and uphold a specific code of honor.

Going further back, there were two series that I really got into that involved two female characters as grim reapers. The first being Death has a Daughter by Candice Burnett. You can check of my review of the second book in the series, Death's Dilemma, here. In this series, Cendal is the first female Grim Reaper and must deal with all that comes with that prestige. There's also a series that starts with Graveyard Shift and is by Angela Roquet. In Graveyard Shift we follow Lana Harvey who is a subpar Grim Reaper in Limbo City, which is a modern collective of all of the afterlives. This one is a humorous paranormal novel that features a lot of different paranormal characters.

I'm not really sure what it is about Characters centered around death themes that grabs my attention so much. I think in a lot of the instances I've mentioned here it's the fact that they are often something more than just an agent of death (or death themselves). Or maybe I'm just a morbid little freak. I don't really deny that one, to be honest.  I'd love to hear what themes or characters you are drawn to in books in the comments below. If you have topics of discussions, you'd like to see me tackle feel free to let me know! I've got a list going that I'm going to try and get through in 2019.

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