In Reviews 38,
we looked very quickly at 3 series of Military Science Fiction novels by Jack Campbell for the way his Hero, Black Jack Geary, strives to create the Happily Ever After conditions that do not exist in his universe (yet).
His motivation is fueled by his love of his wife (a hacker called Ninja for a reason) and his children. Geary sees a future for them all, as a strong family, and pours all the skills and strength he has into crafting that future.
Though in both his life segments (before suspended animation freezing, and after being awakened), he has lived in awful conditions, he has always driven himself and others toward better conditions.
Today let's look at another best selling author, Keri Arthur, who is as good a writer as Jack Campbell (which is saying a lot) but is world famous for her Romance treatments of various topics -- dozens of novels to her byline, she's perfected her "Voice" and style.
We touched on "Voice" of a writer recently:
The Souls of Fire series is about a supernatural person who is a Phoenix -- literally rising from her own ashes.
The most fascinating concept introduced in this series is the co-binding of a male and female in the Phoenix process.
In Ashes Reborn,
the male counterpart of the Phoenix duo, Rory, is just now Rising, after a magical ceremonial summoning him from the core of fire. He is in dire need of a roaring fire and a lot of privacy for sleeping off the effects of rebirth, for days or weeks.
Meanwhile, the female of the duo, Emberly, is after the one who ordered Rory killed. She got the shooter by firing the building where the shooter perched to fire at Rory (and her). But there's more to the story.
In this Fantasy universe, we also have Vampires and other supernatural creatures.
It is a complex universe, with 4 novels extant. There is a plague virus derived from Vampire blood, and the world knows enough about the supernatural creatures to have a Paranormal Investigation Team. That team has plenty to do in a world with dark witches, other powers, and all the tangled power politics humans everywhere generate.
These novels are a spectacle waiting to be cast onto your living room big screen.
The most interesting thing Keri Arthur is playing with here is the Immortal Phoenix's love life. The only ongoing Character in her existence is Rory, but she always falls for someone -- and this time, it's beginning to look serious when Sam finds out what Emberly is and how that relates to Rory.
So the Relationship dynamic among these Characters turns on thematic issues of Trust. The Phoenix pair have to trust their lives to each other to pull off the rebirth trick, and have to keep that vulnerability from others. Sam is one of those others. Now Sam knows.
And they can only hope the Phoenix fire has beaten the Vampire virus.
Keri Arthur is one of the writers who delivers a steady stream of engrossing novels that have a recognizable Voice telling the tale. But she also has the skill to bring you into the middle of a series and hit the ground running without being confused.
Part of the trick is that the universe Keri Arthur crafts for you is familiar but unique at the same time. You know the Phoenix legend, then she gives it a twist.
This is what Hollywood is always looking for -- "The same, but different."
The Souls of Fire series should be studied for the world building as much as for the entertaining read about people (supernatural or not) striving to become better people, and make the world hospitable to the Happily Ever After ending.
This is the key ingredient in enticing those who can't believe in the Happily Ever After to read Romance. Agree the world as they know it can't sustain an HEA -- but we can fix that. Fixing the world is what heroes do.