Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee.

The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee
Wold Tower, Wolf Star, Wolf Queen, Wolf Wing

All her life, Claidi has endured hardship in the House, where she must obey a spoiled princess. Then a golden stranger arrives, living proof of a world beyond the House walls. Claidi risks all to free the charming prisoner and accompanies him across the Waste toward his faraway home. It is a difficult yet marvelous journey, and all the while Claidi is at the side of a man she could come to love. That is, until they reach his home . . . and the Wolf Tower. -from

The Claidi Journals are not new in the slightest. The first book was published sometime in 2001. Nor are they considered classics, so to review about them is a little strange. However, I just finished the fourth book (which was published in 2003) a few days ago. But I thought what the heck! These books needed a little more love, because they rock! The Claidi Journals follows the life of Claidi, a servent living a harsh life in a house catering the nobles. She doesn't know what life lies beyond this House, other than a desert that the nobles say is filled with death. But one day, Claidi gets a chance to find out for herself what really is out there. And she takes it. This is where her journal begins.

My absolute favorite thing about these books is the character of Claidi. She is just so different from any heroine that I have encountered before in a book, and I love Tanith Lee for that. While my favorite books include butt-kicking won't-stop-for-anything types of heroines that know exactly what they are doing and execute it amazingly, it's hard for me to connect with those types of girls. People like that don't really exist in the world (at least, no one I know). Claidi could be me; she could be my friends; she could realistically be a part of our world. Most of the time she has no idea what the hack is happening to her. She doesn't come out with amazing karate chops that stun her attackers instantly when people are kidnapping her. She just goes along with it, panicking and trying (and failing) to find out what is happening to her. She attempts to fight back, but fails because she has no experience in fighting. The intricate plots of sinister people, even the people she loves who come up with plans to save her, baffle her. She humorously records all that is happening but is the last one to figure out what is going on. I love that because I am usually very slow on the uptake as well; I can relate.

The Wolf books are filled with many twists and turns, which Claidi writes dutifully in her little journal but never fully understands until much later. Because confusing things happen constantly but the narrator can't explain them very well, you as a reader have a hard time understanding what actually is happening. Many times I didn't understand what has occured even after Claidi figures it out. And she is supposed to be the slow one! I had to go back and reread the passages to puzzle it out. Tanith Lee creates her own world, with its own people, laws, and religions within these books, and some of these are very strange and hard to imagine. Sometimes when someone gives an explaination to Claidi's questions, the explaination is too confusing for her to understand so she just gives up and writes a vague answer. This can leave a lot of Why?s left over in your head when you finish the books. Claidi is bailed out by the strangest thing, and when she gets an answer as to why, it really doesn't make sense. It just seems like the author made up something to save Claidi. The Whys are always followed by a Because, but sometimes the Becauses need to be explained as well and they're aren't.

The Claidi Journals might possibly be my favorite books to reread. There are so many plot twists, that when I read them again I forget about so many little things. Almost everything surprises me again, even though I have already read it. I highly recommend these to fans of fantasy, who don't mind a crazy adventure in a made-up land which may or may not make complete sense all the time. Sometimes you just have to accept that something happened, and leave it at that.

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