Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht: Read, Part 4

We return to Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey, still waiting to see what fate has befallen Liam after his transformation into a beast to save himself from his attacker. Further, people have just spotted Liam’s father, a puca, and his mother together in suspicious circumstances.

To catch up or review our reading of this novel, see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.



Chapter 7

Home again, Liam finds life difficult to adjust to and Kesh impossible to forget. He escapes the strain and noise of his mother’s house to meet Mary Kate, who, since his release, he’s been sleeping with. On the way, his step-father and her father stop him with Mary Kate. Liam declares that he intends to marry her if she’ll have him, and his step-father and he almost get into a fight. But the dark beast inside him threatens to emerge at every step in the argument until his step-father backs down and storms off. Mary Kate accepts even though Liam insists on waiting long enough to find a job. When Liam gets home again, he mother has his things packed in a laundry sack and informs him that he’ll go to confession.

Reader Comments: Liam is going to marry Mary Kate, yay! He deserves a little happiness after all he’s been through. Though, I’m terribly afraid things will not work out for them.

Writer Comments: In a book as dark as this, for many readers, it’s important to give little doses of relief, the “Honey,” if you will. Leicht does it here with Mary Kate’s enthusiastic defense of Liam and agreement to marry him, Liam’s success in driving off his step-father without resorting to violence, and Mary Kate’s father welcoming him to the family.

Liam goes to confession with Father Murray, but Murray abruptly halts the confession and, instead, takes Liam home to feed him a hot meal and help him work past his emotional demons. In the process, Father Murray proves himself far from a traditional image of a priest. By the end, Liam sleeps soundly for the first time in months.

Reader Comments: Having been to Ireland, this scene was particularly nice. Even aside from Leicht taking Father Murray and breaking the stereotype of a priest, she includes the whiskey and the cursing, both prominent Irish elements, at least as far as my experience goes.

Writer Comments: This scene is crucial to Liam’s emotional journey. For all he had to suffer in Long Kesh, to rise to the role of protagonist, he must also move beyond those horrors or, at least, begin to face them. Yet Leicht does not dwell. She gives the parts of the conversation and action that are new, such as Father Murray’s unexpected behavior as a priest, she summarized and alludes to what we already know. Rehashing the information would become tedious, so she finds ways to keep the scene interesting while not repeating.

Chapter 8

Kathleen goes to the graveyard and calls Bran. He comes and she gives him what Father Murray discovered about the coin: It’s English from 1554 and depicts Queen Mary. She gives a brief history of the infancy of the war between Protestants and Catholics and who Mary was. Bran isn’t sure how the information helps, but he thanks her anyway and warns her that he’ll be gone for some time as his people battle against the fallen.

Reader Comments: I so want these two to end up together. Patrick, Kathleen’s husband, is an arrogant putz. I suspect that’s exactly what Leicht wants me to think.

Writer Comments: Here, if the subtitle, “A Book of the Fae and the Fallen,” is any indication, Leicht highlights her world’s primary conflict, the war between these two sides with humanity apparently ignorantly caught in the middle. One of the biggest reasons I had trouble not rushing onto the next chater in favor of finishing this commentary, is because of all these conflicts. Leicht weaves them in so thoroughly that there is ever unanswered questions and worry over one character or another, just as it should be.

I hope you enjoyed Part 4 of our read of Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey. We’ll pick back up next Monday. Until then, I hope to see you back on Wednesday and Friday for further forays into books, the speculative, asnd life.

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