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The Secret Books of Venus by Tanith Lee

 

All four books are set in Paradys, an imaginary city based on real life Paris, France. The Book of the Dead has vampires and cross-dressing. The Book of the Beast is my favorite (and if you only read one book in this series, you’ll want to read this one). This book follows demon possession in an old family of Paradys. The demon is awakened in a victim when they have sex for the first time and the demon can be passed to a new victim via sex. Our protagonist happens upon this curse by accident and… gets possessed! Can he be saved? Or will he die passing the demon on to a new victim? The Book of the Dead is a collection of tragic short stories. This one tends to be most readers least favorite and I think that’s because not everyone prefers short stories in general and not all short stories are created equal. I enjoyed a good portion of them but I have to agree that this is my least favorite in the series. The Book of the Mad is kind of hard to summarize. There are two dimensions of Paradys connected by a maze of ice. One dimension is deliberately crazy and the other dimension has crazy people but it isn’t really socially acceptable. At the center is this mysterious uncle who built the ice maze.

This series has some fantastical elements but it is mostly in the gothic horror genre. I recommend this series if you like (or are just in the mood for) the darker, lyrical side of character driven literature.

Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee

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Biting the Sun is set in the future. Most of the land is an inhospitable desert except for a few cities carefully maintained, mostly, by robots. The heroine of this tale is living like a regular teenager. She’s dying to change bodies, has a robot pet that falls on her at regular intervals, gets married by the hour to have sex in floating bubbles… that sort of thing. But she isn’t really satisfied with that existence and she tries a bunch of new things seeking a purpose in life. Unfortunately, she spectacularly fails each time.

This book discusses the concepts of gender and love, even the nature of the human soul. Everything is so crazy in this futuristic world and yet it was easy for me to connect with the main character because she’s trying to figure things out and there isn’t an easy answer. It gave me a lot to think about and there were times when I wanted to cry but it also made me laugh out loud.

I highly recommend this for fans of sci-fi (or if you want to add more sci-fi to your life that isn’t dystopian). This book makes you think, as good sci-fi should, but it’s also entertaining and tends more to the positive side of human existence (without ignoring the bad).

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tanith Lee Book Covers

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The Tanith Lee fun begins with this Top Ten Tuesday (created by the Broke and the Bookish) theme: cover freebie!

First, I love the covers by Kinuko Craft. They immediately make me think of fairy tales and epic stories.

Then I love these covers for the individual books of the Secret Books of Paradys series. They are creepy and sexy, just like the books.

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And this is one of the new covers for the new editions of this series. It kinda freaks me out, to be honest, but I do like this Impressionist-inspired style.

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This cover is super pretty and I just bought this book today… Yay!

Weekly Pieces: May Plans!

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May is kind of a special month…

I’ll be doing multiple posts about Tanith Lee because she’s my favorite author and May is the anniversary of her death and writing posts about her books makes me feel better. She wrote over 90 novels and 200 short stories. I’ve read a significant chunk of them at this point but luckily I haven’t read them all. And some of her less recent work is being republished which is very helpful.

My Retro Reread for May is The Gods Are Thirsty by Tanith Lee. One of my top ten historical fiction books of all time, it is set during the French Revolution.

I’ll be editing my second draft and working on other projects I’ve thought of.

It is also the two year anniversary of my blog!

Thank you for joining me so far!