It took me a long time to re-read these books. I did not realize how long till I looked at the publishing date. Changer was published when my son was born, and Changer’s Daughter (first published under the title Legends Walking) was out the following year. The next year I had another child, and steady reading was no longer part of my life. That wasn’t the only reason I took so long in re-reading these books, prized among my favorites.
The reason? After 20 years I could still hear Arthur typing on his keyboard, and see the flowers Shaharazad put in Louhi’s hair. The two book series had such vibrancy to it that the characters remained so very present in my thoughts for that long. For over 20 years.
Note: American Gods by Neil Gaiman came out not long after, and was similar in using old gods as new characters. While I enjoyed it, it didn’t resonate with me quite as much. (Not to knock his excellent book, mind you. I love Neil Gaiman’s work. Neverwhere is among my favorite books and some quotes from that book echo quite as much).
This is perhaps the shortest retrospective because I don’t quite have the skill to explain that how both subtle and vivid Jane Lindskold’s work is. Her writing engaged my trust so that the careful opening of Through Wolf’s Eyes was worth reading, even as it was different enough from Changer to give pause. I trusted her as a writer. When the duties of motherhood relaxed enough, I looked for her books. Hers were among the few writers I searched for from those early days of the late 1990s of avid reading (I still haven’t quite reclaimed that ability to inhale books like valuable oxygen).
Among the favorite books I discovered:The Breaking Wall series was absolutely fascinating; her Artemis Awakening books on audio the reasons I fell in love with audio books; Honor Harrington: Star Kingdom series with David Weber was a fabulous romp; Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls has got to be one of my favorite urban fantasies, and when my beloved friend and fellow writer Kathryn Hinds passed, the book Asphodel was with me, and poignant to the extreme in those long hours in the waiting room to see if yet another surgery was successful or not.
The reason I fell in love with Jane Lindskold’s work were her complex plots, her entertaining characters, and settings so vivid I could feel the hot winds of Africa and imagine New Mexico, though I’d never been. Some of the scenes in her books are so vivid that memories of her work almost feel as if they were mine—with sound, and color, and echoes of where was that, then? As if I had seen them myself and been present during the events, and had to remember where I’d been when it happened. And that was just Changer and Changer’s Daughter.
If you have not yet met her books, I encourage you to do so. I still have to catch up on the Firekeeper Saga, and after rereading Changer and Changer’s Daughter, I’ll probably have those scenes in my memory in my mind for a while (in fact writing this, I was having memory echoes from Changer’s Daughter of Africa), so I’ll reread some time in the next 20 years.
Truly, Jane Lindskold’s work is among the best out there, with a long history of writing, and plenty of books and styles to choose from!