Frost-bitten…

c4kijjlweam0uyvTo celebrate Valentine’s day (a very commercialised holiday), I thought I’d do a post on my favourite author—Jeaniene Frost—and my favourite literary couple.

 

Ms Frost is the author of the widely popular Night Huntress series. I was hooked from the first page of book one. Granted, I have a soft spot for all things vampire. Hey, I spent most of my teens watching Buffy the vampire slayer, so I can’t really help it. However, it’s the great voice and the loveable characters that really grab your attention with this series.

 

I can honestly say the Night Huntress books are one of the rare instances where I love both the male and female characters equally. To me, that’s pretty damn special. So many books have one great lead that draws you in and makes you want to never leave their world. Ms Frost managed to write two of those characters. In one story.

 

Okay, so who is our leading lady? Drum roll please… Catherine Crawfield. Cat to her friends. The Red Reaper to her enemies. And Kitten to one very special man. This is one tough woman. Besides the fact that she killed her very first vampire at the tender age of sixteen, Cat is a force to be reckoned with. After a difficult upbringing, she grew to be a strong woman, completely capable of taking care of herself. She’s independent and can kick some serious butt. Her arsenal doesn’t end there. Cat is also fully equipped with a sharp tongue, and she is certainly not afraid to use it.

 

Now these traits are very important when creating a bad-ass vampire hunter. And there’s the fact that she is very beautiful. However, that’s not the end of it. Underneath all of her hard-core bravado, Cat is really a softy. And I just love that. Oh, and let’s not forget the great sense of humour. Even while ridding the world of the evil undead, Cat still has time to make jokes and sharp one-liners.

 

Then we have our leading man… Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell III, AKA Bones. From bones he rose, so bones he became. Now, in order to keep up with Cat, Ms Frost had to create a great male character. Otherwise, Cat would have eaten him for breakfast. Bones is top notch. This is a man who takes crap from no one. Talk about a bad boy. As if being a fanged undead creature of the night wasn’t enough, Bones is also a bounty hunter. And that is only in his afterlife, never mind how he spent his human years.

 

Bones is not only deadly but also super sexy… and then some. But make no mistake, this isn’t your strong, silent type. Bones has a sharp tongue to rival Cat. Which is a good thing, given the amount of arguing these two do in the beginning of their relationship. He is seriously badass and the last person you would want to meet in a dark alley. But, he will do anything, and I do mean anything, to protect the ones he loves, especially his Kitten.

 

Neither of these characters is perfect. Cat has bad days. Is moody. Swears like a sailor. Makes stupid decisions. Often acts and talks before thinking. Bones likes to get his way and will do whatever it takes to ensure he does. He has been known to steam-roll over Cat—and anyone else in his way—in order to do what he thinks is best.

 

This is what makes them so endearing. Perfect people don’t exist, so why should perfect characters? These two are gritty and flawed, but that’s why I love them.

 

~Raven

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Mythology Monday… Persephone

It’s February !!!

 

Since we’ve entered into the commercial month of love, I thought for this round of Mythology Monday, I would focus on Persephone. Now, as with all mythology, there are different versions of her story. The abduction of Persephone. The rape of Persephone. I confess, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic, so I favour the happier version over The rape of Persephone. And again, since we’re less than a week away from Valentine’s Day, let’s try to keep things cheerful.

 

Daughter of Zeus and Demeter, I find Persephone to be a rather interesting goddess. Technically, she resides over both life and death. First, she was goddess of spring—the season of renewal and life. Not even summer can compete with the abundance of fresh beginnings that take place during spring. Then, she was abducted by none other than Hades, keeper of the Underworld, where he presides over the dead. Uh, talk about star-crossed.

 

The story goes…

 

Hades fell in love with Persephone and conspired to steal her away from her mother. While the young Persephone was wandering a field, gathering wild flowers, she was abducted by Hades. Demeter was not paying enough attention to her daughter—as she was a grown woman by then—and Hades swept her away into the Underworld.

 

Demeter discovered her daughter was missing and went in a frantic search for her. The goddess even disguised herself as an ugly old hag before she found where Persephone had been taken. Furious, she goes to Zeus to ask for his help. Little did Demeter know that it was in fact Persephone’s father, Zeus, who gave the young goddess to his brother, Hades, as a bride.

 

When Zeus refused to help, Demeter withdrew her role as goddess (residing over the harvest and agriculture) and buried herself in her grief. The world was plunged into famine, forcing Zeus to step in and save the day. Zeus convinced Hades to let Persephone go so that she could return to her mother on Olympus.

 

However, Hades offers Persephone a meal before she leaves and the young goddess relents enough to eat a few pomegranate seeds. Up to this point, she had fasted. You see, if she ate anything, she would have to return to the Underworld and, as such, to Hades. Thus, Persephone would spend two-thirds of the year with her mother and the remainder of the year with her husband, Hades, in the Underworld. As a result of her mourning, Demeter refused to let crops grow during the part of the year Persephone is with Hades.

 

The obvious correlation with this myth is the change of season, where part of the year is barren and the other full of new life. Some, however, relate it to a young girl becoming a woman. I mean, you have to wonder. After all the time Persephone spent with Hades, refusing to eat a scrap of food, why, oh why, would she relent just before she makes her escape?

 

I think, perhaps she grew fond of her husband-to-be and knew she would never be able to return if she didn’t take a little bite of some fruit. Look back carefully, it is the only choice the young goddess makes in the entire sordid tale.

 

Zeus basically gives her away in an arranged marriage and Demeter refuses to part with her daughter. While you could argue that she was looking out for her as any good mother would, I find myself wondering if it wasn’t for her own selfish purposes. Would she have let Persephone stay with Hades if the young goddess chose to remain with him? Would she have given her daughter a choice in the matter? Maybe Persephone knew she would never have a choice. Either her father would force her to marry Hades or her mother would force her to remain by her side forever. Eating those pomegranate seeds was her way of choosing for herself.

 

What do you think? Choice, coincidence, or was it merely that Persephone was hungry? Either way, it certainly makes for an interesting tale.

 

~Raven