The mountains of WNC have been ablaze for the last several weeks--since Trump got elected--and for that same amount of time, I've been fighting off the feeling that the world really is burning down around me. My children haven't been able to go outside and play, because of the poor air quality, and to top it off, our oil heater broke. Winter is coming, and I'm not sure yet how we're going to make it through.
So when a good friend emailed me and another small group a list of things for which she was thankful and recommended that we all do the same, I took it to be a reminder from my higher power--stay focused on what is working and be thankful.
I took the hint and made this list:
1. Our new mattress
2. Hubby's steadfast perseverance
3. Little E's smile
4. S' good heart and strong sense of justice
5. Organization, at all levels
6. Celery juice, fresh first thing in the morning
7. Painting and redesigning our bedroom this summer
8. My mother
9. The writing group:Billie, Eben, Hubby, and Jean
10. Unexpected generosity
11. Hard won peace and happiness
12. A musician in our home (Keep playing guitar S!)
13. My new, perfect sunglasses
14. High Falls and swimming in its cold, clear water
15. Hot yoga
16. Loving my tiny house more
17. Easy laughter between Hubby and I, old love becoming new love
18. My house filling up with friends more often
19. Amber's green beans w/ chicken, white wine, and preserved lemons
20. Praying more regularly and sometimes having it not be about me
21. Falling asleep with my kids
22. The women in my life, their intelligence and laughter
Take a moment and do the same. Try to be as specific as possible with at least some of the items. And make generalities in others. You'll walk away uplifted, I hope. I know I did.
Disclaimer: I love a good heist. So if that genre doesn't delight, then this book isn't for you!
My next favorite element: the large cast of characters. I love meeting new people, and that interest extends into my fiction choices. In particular, "The Palace Job" does a great job of exploring racism and sexism through the vehicle of fantasy, without ever coming off as moralistic or sanctimonious.
Instead, the narrative voice is casual and sly in the way it talks around the racism dark-skinned humans face, as well as elves, dwarves, and fairy creatures. In the Republic, there's more than enough bias to go around. For young readers, like my twelve year old son (he's a precocious reader, so yes, this is a book that grown-ups will love. But there are elements of sexuality that may make for some very lively conversations at home, if your tween or teen is reading it too.) the world of Heaven's Spire provides a great mirror to the "real world" and could be a jumping off point for the difficult conversations many of us have been having at home and in the classroom about human rights and privilege in America in the 21st century.
And lastly, the pacing is incredible. From the first chapter, the reader dives into the story and is dragged forward at breakneck pace until the final pages. This book will read you, so reserve a few hours of time to get on the ride and stay there. I started listening to the audiobook on Kindle and then couldn't wait to get to the end so I started reading it instead. "The Palace Job" ended up being the first book I've finished reading on my phone (Yes, I realize that dates me). Then I plowed through Book 2 "The Prophecy Con" and am just getting starting on the most recent "The Paladin Caper."
This book would make an excellent Christmas present for anyone who loves high fantasy.
In three words: Funny. Smart. Eccentric.
Next three: Buy it now!
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.