Moonheart by Charles de Lint

One of the things that I’ve come to love about Charles de Lint is his ability to capture the essence and spirit of the fantastic and to portray that perfectly to the reader in a way that brings out a glow like a child discovering magic for the first time. With Moonheart, de Lint once again has captured my heart and brought me on a journey that I loved every second of.

Moonheart is a very complex story. There are many interweaving story lines which works very well with the theme of Native American souls, spirits, and connectedness. It begins as the story of Sara Kendell. Sara co-owns a wonderful little antiques and book shop in Ottawa called The Merry Dancers. One day, while unpacking one of the boxes from an old estate, Sara discovers a painting of two Native American men, and a medicine bag which contains a gold ring, a bone disc with a quarter moon on one side and a stag on the other, and a feather. The contents of this box are what goes on to form a truly amazing and epic story.

Sara lives with her uncle, Jamie Tams. Jamie is more of a friend to Sara and is the co-owner of the shop. Jamie is also the owner of Tamson house where they live. Tamson house is a wonderful thing. The house is a character in itself. It’s a giant house encompassing an entire city block and has had numerous occupants coming and going throughout the years. It’s an old house with all of the wonderful features of an old house. There is a courtyard in the middle of the house that is more like a park with beautiful gardens. Here’s where the twist comes in. The house exists not only in Ottawa, but in the Otherworld as well.

While at a diner one day, Sara is approached by a stranger, a musician, named Kieran Foy. What eventually ensues brings her to this Otherworld. The otherworld is a beautiful, rich forest untouched by mankind. It is inhabited by Native Americans who practice ancient magics and follow ancient ways. The contents of the medicine bag tie Sara to this world now, and we soon learn that fate had it arranged that way. When all of the inhabitants of Tamson House are spirited away to the Otherworld, the battle against an ancient evil, an ancient feud begins. The ancient evil is a being named Ma’lek’a and it’s allies are the Tragg’a and both are truly horrifying creatures.

This only begins to touch on the story. I could go on for pages and pages describing this wonderful book to you, but I recommend that you read it yourself. There are many wonderful characters in this book, and I came to love so many of them. Blue, Taliesin, Hengwr, Tucker, just to name a few.

I love the cover art for the book. It was done by David Bergen and sums up the feel of the book perfectly! Bergen also did the cover art for Greenmantle, I believe, another great book of de Lint’s. There’s also a highly desired version of this book with art by Charles Vess which was published by Subterranean Press. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of that.

It took me a long time to read this book. It’s definitely not a sit down and read it quick book. It was much like reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to me. Very rewarding, but I couldn’t plow through it. I loved it though, and it has definitely secured me as a de Lint fan. All of the de Lint themes are here…magic, Native American folklore, music, the power of bonds and ties in humanity. De Lint’s writing is wonderful. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages that I feel sums up the feel of the book:

Tonight he stood alone, his back to the Bearstone and his gaze searching the shadows that lay in amongst the pines, waiting for the one he knew would come. A trembling touched the air, soft as a breath across the strings of his harp. The scent of pine resin and sea were swallowed by the heady odor of apple blossoms, rich and pungent as they are in the spring. Sometimes his grandsire came in the shape of Taliesin’s own craftfather – old Myrddin, black hair greying, but still tied back at the nape of his neck, golden eyes deep with dreaming. And sometimes he was the green man in a cloak of oak leaves and mistletoe, face like a fox, narrow and brown. Tonight he came as a stag, brow heavy with twelve-pointed antlers, his reddish-brown coat gleaming in the starlight, his eyes heavy with riddles.

“Are you content?” he asked the bard.

Taliesin inclined his head respectfully. “Content indeed.”


Truly Bizarre Side Effects

I’ve discovered a side effect to Topamax that is really strange. We’re talking Michael Jackson strange here. I can no longer taste carbonation in soft drinks. I first noticed this last night after I went to Burger King. I ordered a Coke with my meal. Before I pulled a way, I took a sip and told the lady that it tasted flat, could she please give me another one. She went on to tell me there was nothing wrong with the Coke, but she could give me something else. So I huffed and puffed and asked for a root beer. That tasted flat too. So I told her. She tasted it from the machine and said it was fine, so I sped off in a dramatic fashion. Now…I noticed that I noticed the feeling of carbonation when the drink hit my throat, but not in my mouth…it just tasted flat when I first took a sip.

So today, I went to Subway with a friend for lunch. I got a Coke there and what do you know, it tasted flat! But once again, I could feel the carbonation in my throat. I don’t know if the Topamax killed the nerves on my tongue or what, but it’s a very disquieting sensation! Bookfool left a comment the other day saying that she tried Topamax for her migraines and that it made everything taste bad…maybe this has something to do with that. Needless to say, I won’t be drinking Coke’s anymore for now, because they all taste flat, which will definitely help with the 10:4 challenge! Isn’t this one of the weirdest side effects?