Friday, October 15, 2010

Blood From Stone by Laura Anne Gilman

Blood From Stone by Laura Anne Gilman is the sixth installment in the adventures of Wren Valere: thief, friend and business partner. The books can be read as a series, in which a single story line is interwoven throughout the novels, as well as the different story lines that separate them, or they can be read alone, and only the novel's specific story is told. This novel is different than the others in the series because it is told through Wren's experiences and Sergei's therapy sessions, as well as brief interruptions in which other characters' thoughts are revealed. The novels previous did not hold transcripts from Sergei's therapy sessions. Blood From Stone is the story that answers questions about P.B.'s past. P.B, another main character, saved the life of Wren Valere on more than one occasion, and now it is her turn. Though she is normally a thief for hire, she decides to take on P.B's case because she believes it will not be too difficult. He wants the papers that hold the secrets of his creation. P.B. is a demon. The good kind, that is, for Blood From Stone is based in a world where demons live amongst people who's magic taps into electricity, like Wren's. The job is not as easy as she first thought. Adding to the stress in her life is her relationship with Sergei (the reason he is in therapy), the revelation that the mentor she thought was dead was actually alive, the aftermath of the battle of the century, in which she almost lost her sanity and her life, and the sudden interest the federal government was taking in her and her not-so-legal occupation.

It used to be that whenever Wren was under stress she would "box" away her anger in her mind, always telling herself that she would deal with it later. But, after almost losing her partner and her friend, she realized she had to face the things that scared her the most. That means taking an interest in and making an effort to help Sergei in his therapy sessions. When P.B.'s life was put on the line, both she and Sergei were forced to re-evaluate the meaning of friendship and their relationship with the demon. Wren and Sergei began to work through their problems and Sergei and P.B. tried to get over their differences.

Discussion Questions

1.) Wren grew up thinking that she was different, because no one was there to teach her about magic. When she finally met her mentor, she felt like she was given a second chance at life. Then, he left her. She grew up to be successful in using her magical powers and possibly saved the magical community. Is it true that someone can grow from the pain of loss, or is that loss crippling? Could she have been more successful if she did not have the hurt of abandonment fueling her every action?

2.) Throughout the series there was always a certain level of prejudice between Sergei and P.B. By the end of the series, they were trying to work through those differences. Is it realistic that once someone has a negative impression of someone else that they can just get over it and, if not become friends, than at least become acquaintances that can tolerate each others company?

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