26 August 2014

Summer of H & h: A Review of The Graveyard Game, Kage Baker

The summer of H and little h is coming to a close. Months previous I made the auspicious decision to take a sabbatical from my career. June, July and now August have been my momma months. Days of sunshine, dinosaurs, leaves, spiders, rocks, feathers, and the ever perfecting art of raising a son have overflowed my soul with gratitude. I am also dead tired, this kid rises at 5:40 like a machine, stopping only when it is bedtime. There is no ideal picture of a family. Having experienced both sides of the coin, the working mom and now the stay-at-home-never-stop mom both have its advantages. The working mom has a life. The stay-at-home-never-stop mom does not. HA, seriously, kids are heat seeking missiles that seem to find you even when you are hiding deep in the vegetable crisper, under the romaine lettuce. Don't ever ask a stay-at-home mom (or Dad) what she/he does all day because she/he has the legal rights to punch you in the face.

Moving into to this new chapter in my family's life I need some comfort books to get me through. No one said I had to be a big girl about this kindergarten thing. In these times of flux, I find myself perusing my book shelves, looking for a rereading distraction. I looked Dune right in the eye but was in the mood for something less duney, and a lot more funny. Not a lot of jokes cracked on Arrakis, have you noticed? 

When in the mood for whimsy, I instantly think Kage Baker. And so with her  fourth book in her Company series, The Graveyard Game in hand, I spent the past weekend with an old friend. Book four focuses less on Mendoza, our herroine, the immortal cyborg whose epic affairs of the heart have so tragically led her astray for thousands of years and more on her friends.  Mendoza is missing. Rumours abound, but no immortal has seen our protagonist for centuries. Worried enough to forgo their own safety, her friends Joseph and Lewis are about to embark down paths that may lead to their own destructions.

Dr. Zeus Inc. augments children from doomed fates into immortals, who for the rest of time fulfil their Company programmed missions. In a sense, these books are treasure hunting at its finest with a twist of sci-fi to give it spice. What places the series on my favourites collection is the black humour sprinkled throughout that adds depth to the sense of doom that is implied chapter by chapter. Kage was a master at world-building and a marvel at creating people we cannot help but like, prickles and all. Of all the books, The Graveyard Game personifies Kage's ability to build layers to her overarching story-line. This book meanders from the main thus highlighting the complexity of the world she has created. No story is one note, no piece of history is accurate, there are myriads of light to each perspective and what better way to play out the level of peril Mendoza is in but to showcase it through the eyes of her friends.