Dust Bowl Sue

Sue grew up in a loving home, but she wanted to see the world.

The problem was she was surrounded by vast wastelands.

She often contemplated running away.

*

One night she packed as much food, equipment and water into her bag as she could.

As soon as her parents had fallen asleep she left on her journey.

The coolness of the night gave her comfort.

It eased her on her way.

*

But Sue had not thought about the sun.

As soon as the day broke the sun scorched her skin.

She saw nothing but dead lands ahead of her.

The dust blew in the wind.

It cut and blinded her.

*

She soon began to camp during the day to get out of the heat, and travelled by night.

After a few days, her food and water supplies were running low.

Heat and exhaustion had driven poor little Sue to near madness.

She saw things.

Evil things.

The devil tempted her with oases full of cool, sparkling water.

She saw her loved ones waving from afar.

Her flesh withered and her bones stiff, but onwards she staggered.

Her will was strong; she would not give up her soul.

*

But what of poor Sue now?

Is she nothing but dust?

Does her soul wander the wicked wastelands from which she could not escape?

Some say her cry can be heard in the howl of the winds.

Others say she’s feasting in a faraway land.

We’ll never really know what happened to Sue, or know the true extent of her nightmarish journey.


Stephen Riordan. (27/4/14).

A Dance With The Fay

A girl of little years was often overlooked by her parents.

She was a lonely soul, so one day she went down to the forest.

Among the trees and bushes, a merry folk of people appeared,

For the girl was mature in the field of the heart.

A much older man or woman might have walked past the sight.

But they invited her to dance, and so she did all day until the sun set.

And then she died.

*

Now, many a rumour has gone about surrounding the truth of her disappearance.

“Drowned in the river the poor thing,” some villagers would remark,

But only a day before they’d have barely batted an eyelash at the girl.

Some say she ran away.

Others to this day swear they’ve heard whispers in the forest without footsteps to match them.

But the truth remains is that she entered into the world of fairies,

And she was freed of the cruelty of humans with their constant bickering.

*

When old misers warn of the dangers of stumbling upon a fairy fort, they only have it half right.

One will only be cursed if one learns the ways of the fay and chooses to continue their life as a human.

The curse will be doubled if this human shares the information with another.

Of the cursèd, they experience lifelong misery and misfortune.

They also say never accept an invitation to dance with the dead or the fay.

What men have failed to share is the advantage of locating a fairy fort.

A human will be transformed into a fairy and given eternal life in the land of the fay.


Stephen Riordan. (1/3/13).

James Carstairs

Note: Major spoilers for The Infernal Devices trilogy (2010-2013).

Ok, I just want to point out first that this series was brilliant and I really enjoyed it. Good plot, great characters and story arcs, beautiful writing & setting. I had a few issues with certain things but the main problem I had was of the death of Jem, or rather what happens after the faux death.

I feel as though I should back track. Jem Carstairs is an extraordinary, philosophical character with extreme depth. His health is always teetering on the edge because of his terminal illness. He has an addiction to Yin Fen every since he was poisoned by a demon. It debilitates his long term health yet if he stops taking it he will die, so it is keeping him alive also. Jem has come to terms with his short life expectancy and is very mature for his age (17). He has had to think a lot about death and the beyond because of his illness.

Jem’s story arc in this series is intense and great. He has an extraordinary friendship with Will and his love for Tessa is short but strong. There love is brilliant and fragile and it’s powerful. It’s a joy to read because Jem loves intensely and he sees the world from a certain perspective.

Jem himself is from Shanghai and he’s obviously influenced by eastern philosophies and religions. These sensibilities are brought up throughout the series and are discussed between the characters. Jem has a Buddhist perspective on life and death. Jem loves Tessa and they get married. In Clockwork Prince (2011), he says that “they will stay together on the Wheel” and that he “will love [Tessa] in the next life, and the one after that” (492). Clearly he’s referring to reincarnation. He believes that their souls will meet again and again in the next lives. This is one of the ideas that I really love and it’s explored in my favourite book by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004). Now, at the time I had massive admiration for Jem’s character. He was dying but he really believed that they’d meet again in the next life. It took a lot of belief and maturity to do that and I respected him immensely for that.

In Clockwork Princess (2013), Jem is on his death bed and he is at peace with departing this world. We are all sad to see him on his way out, as are the characters.

Will reflects on Jem’s ideology after Jem dies. He says of Jem, “you say we are born and born again.” He then reflects on his own Western sensibilities:

“I say there is a river that divides the dead and the living. What I do know is that if we are born again, I will meet you in another life, and if there is a river, you will wait on the shores for me to come to you, so that we can cross together” (325-326).

Clearly, with the story arc, this provides the reader with a departure. I know his death is painful and the readers and characters mourn his death. It is a great loss but we must remember the Jem who lived his life to the fullest. He was an intense person and a great character. He is a powerful character who was unafraid of dying, as by his philosophical beliefs. The characters mourn and the story seems to move forward naturally. This is all presented quite beautifully. I know it’s morbid to say that about death but with the reflection of his life over the past 3 books, it feels like a relief to see him not suffer any more. It feels like a natural conclusion to his arc.

My problem is that… he comes back. He’s turned into a Silent Brother. I hated that decision by Cassandra Clare, the author. I don’t think Jem would have done that. I think it’s selfish and it’s character defamation. She always does this, she can never let go of a character. It’s so cowardly. Jems story arc was beautiful and his death really rounded it off, but bringing him back to life… ugh no. It just contradicted all of his beliefs and everything he’d been saying the past 3 books. So what, that was all bullshit? Did those endless philosophical paragraphs mean nothing? Should I just forget about all of that? Jem was content with going off to the great unknown, to the next life and yet he goes back on his beliefs. No Cassandra Clare, just no. He wouldn’t have done that. I know being that close to death would put things into perspective and change your mind but come on, it was a beautiful way to put a character to rest, especially with all that he had being saying.

And when he came back as Brother Zachariah, I hated him. He wasn’t Jem any more. He was this unemotional, cold being. Not even human, Just so unfeeling and almost zombie-like. I didn’t like it at all and she ruined his character for me. What frustrates me is that she only did it so Tessa could have someone to be with for another few decades. Seriously pissed me off.