But I can’t do it.
It’s been humorously said that books you like are easy to discuss sensibly but that books you love are impossible to discuss with any coherence.
We laugh but there’s a lot of truth in that.
There are some stories that seep so deep into your soul that talking about them feels like peeling up your skin and exposing your inner self for all to see, like dishing up your heart onto a platter for philosophers and pheasants both to poke and prod. No matter how hard you try to put that pulsing heat in your heart into words it comes out in a muddled plop of emotional goop. You want so badly to convince inquirers of how good that story is but feel that all your attempts at describing it fall short of the work’s depth and that your attempt to confine a soul-cry to a few words on a page is horribly irreverent and somehow kills the magic the story held in the first place.
There are stories that transcend their own telling, that weigh more than the words that carry them, having life and immortality outside the book’s firm binding.
Only a few books are like that for me and you’ll probably never see a proper review of them here, only scattered references and comparisons.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of those.
And The Wingfeather Sagas is another.
Some books compel me to talk, but these drive me to a secret corner where I can quietly curl up and cry at such beauty, the warmth in my heart spilling down my cheeks instead of through my pen.
And I am content. These stories will not have the same effect on all, stories rarely do. There will always be critics quick to point out in them long narratives that drag, “meaningless” digressions, plot twists that aren’t so twisty, writing either too thick or too thin, characters flat or unengaging, endings less than tidy or overblown, but when a story births in a soul and breathes, such things matter little and are quickly rejected, minimized, excused or forgiven.
Among other things, the Wingfeather Sagas are about the supremacy of identity, of the everythingness of a name, the hidden strength of weakness, the valor of humility.
It’s about the beauty the Maker brings from broken things and the high cost of healing. It’s about love that embraces the claws and fangs. Hard love. Self-emptying love. That will not let go. That will not give up. No matter how often the object of love tears at your flesh–and your heart. It’s about faith and hope and a “pinprick of light” that overcomes the darkness against all odds. It’s about wandering and finally finding home.
And that’s all I will say–spoilers you know, and it’s all I can say right now, lest my full heart bleed onto this page.
My reading of The Warden and the Wolf King in pictures: