Bullying is not a laughing matter. Bullying sucks the life and joy out of anyone who is unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end. I have close friends who were bullied in school. I have close friends who have children who are bullied – in one case, a friend’s child was so horribly bullied that the child had to be removed from school for the sake of safety and is now home schooled.
I was bullied in school. Whether it was being punched in the stomach till the wind was knocked out of me, on the ground gasping for air while the kids laughed, or first day of 8th grade when six girls dragged me into the bathroom and made me strip to prove I wasn’t a “stocking stuffer.”
Every year, when the first day of school rolled around, the teachers would always have us write down a list of the books we had read over the summer. My list was usually pretty long, and the teachers assumed I was fibbing. No one spends their entire summer vacation reading thirty or forty books. Well, it sure beats the hell out of being around people. That was my thinking.
Fantasy literature was one of the genres I would immerse myself in during those summers where I sat up in the oak tree in my parent’s yard, reading till it was time to climb down and eat lunch or use the bathroom or feed the dog or . . . . I would escape into other worlds where I would become the story’s protagonist, fighting my way through one adventure after another, eventually becoming the hero – frightened of nothing.
In real life, I was still afraid of the dark.
Author Greg James (who also writes horror fiction under the name G.R. Yeates) has launched a new book that addresses what I was just talking about – A Young Adult Fantasy called The Sword of Sighs (The Age of the Flame: Book One). Here is my review:
Greg James wrote a line in THE SWORD OF SIGHS that I think encapsulates the heart of this richly woven fantasy: “Strength is not merely proved by how much blood one has spilt, how many foes defeated, or how many battles won. Sometimes, living day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute is a truer sign of one’s mettle.” Sarah Bean is a bullied teen. That alone is its own nightmare and the author conveys the fear, helplessness and horror of living with that day-to-day, hour-to-hour experience so many young people experience – and can identify with – in a writing style that packs the emotional punch it should. Running from one group of bullies in her home town, she finds herself thrust into a bizarre, unfamiliar, hostile world filled with fantasy, magic, and creatures born of darkness and pain far more dangerous and isolating than the world Sarah Bean was abruptly removed from. The Sword of Sighs is the first in a fantasy adventure series about one young girl’s strength, bravery, and discovery of her own unique power as she triumphs through one nightmare battle after another.
Personally, I’d climb up the oak tree in my parents’ yard to read this one, and the next and the next.
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