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This collecting of unlikely allies into community — often in ways the various factions had never before envisioned — is nicely done in the Cassandra Palmer stories as well. Off the top of my head I remember one incident where Cassie had vampires, a ghost, some rogue White mages, three witches, and even some fae, […]

I should note clearly here I'm not trying to show how Harry is "bad" and everyone else is "good" — because I think all four of the heroines I'm discussing extensively are good reads. What I'm trying to do with them, however, is clearly demonstrate, through comparison and contrast, what is to me a new […]

Another curious case in point: the shadow of Lasciel the Temptress (an ancient and evil Fallen angel) seemed to succumb surprisingly quickly to Harry's sometimes, er… questionable "charm"! Even if we assume a shadow has nowhere the power and persuasiveness of the actual entity, I still found myself thinking that Butcher could have done a […]

I find this fascinating for a number of reasons, not least of which is it matches my life experience, and seems to be reflected in the female heroines of which I read this last summer — but, curiously enough, not the male one. Having read all the books one right after another, I find I […]

In his favor I should note Harry has more than once gone out of his way to help family, and rescue both lovers and those weaker than himself. He's done this even when he knows it may mean his death — even when it caused a war. I find that heroic. As Harry noted himself, […]

On the other hand, heroically doing the right thing is important to Karen Chance's heroine, Cassandra Palmer. Perhaps because she remembers what it is to be small and helpless before immensely powerful forces, at one point Cassie refuses to leave behind prisoners who are trapped before the lethal onslaught of an upcoming natural disaster. She […]

Oddly enough, in Midnight's Daughter (Karen Chance's story of a "dhampir" or half-vampire), Dorina Basarab is specifically a killer — a bounty hunter for the vampires, in fact. Yet, despite her clearly acknowledged violent and murderous tendencies, and her extraordinarily rude mouthiness, the author's light touch has somehow taken this potentially unpleasant character, and made […]

I believe it's reasonable to therefore conclude that personal independence is at the very least a necessary marker on the Heroine's Journey. Further, the struggle to accomplish financial (or, in some cases, physical) independence can make for a more interesting story — one where we can more easily identify with our heroine. If I'm remembering […]

I will make one personal caveat before I start: despite much screeching and near-hysterical insistence that "man" automatically equates to (or conflates with) "human," the delightfully fascinating Language Log and Grammarphobia have conclusively proven (through both common sense and examination of historical literary precedence) this is not actually the case. That being so, it amuses […]

In the end, however, I found myself as turned off by Murdock's supposed "heroine's journey" as I was by Campbell's vision of women. This is due to the shock of my biggest disappointment with the book, and the reason I cannot recommend it: the author's explication of the "breakthrough" moment where the heroine realizes the […]

Bestiaries depict mythical, moralizing animals, but are also potential allegorical sparks that can bloom into brilliant mental bonfires. My bestiary is this mythologizing animal's fascinated exploration of beauty & meaning in the wonder of existence -- in the hopes of inspiring yet more joyous flares of intellectual passion.

Enjoy!

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