Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pagan fiction

To kick off Pagan Values Month I have put together a list of books that come to mind when I think about Pagan fiction. In no way is this an exhaustive list -- it's just a list of my favorite books with Pagan stuff in them. I'll share a little about the authors, and then list some of their books.

Juliet Marillier

Marillier was raised on legends and fairy tales, and it shows in her works. She is also a Druid, and this too comes through in her writing. Marillier writes historical fantasy, and she is the only writer I know of who fills this genre.

This author catches the heart of Paganism, while at the same time adding in fantasy elements to it. People in her books celebrate the turning of the seasons like Pagans usually do, and do other Pagan stuff, but Druids also occasionally perform grand magic that I am fairly certain modern day Druids do not.

Something I find particularly interesting about Marillier’s books is her handling of Christianity. Rather than taking the stance that Christians are either good or bad, you see a variety. Some of them are good people and don’t care if their friends worship a different deity, while others have no respect for their Pagan neighbors. Ultimately what it comes down to is that people are people. Some are good and some are bad, regardless of what religion they profess to follow.

I don’t think of all of Marillier’s books Pagan, so below I will list those books that I consider to be Pagan works. I do recommend all of her books as excellent reads, however.

The books I list below are written for adults, but I read them in my teens (those that were released in my teens, that is).

Sevenwaters trilogy:

Daughter of the Forest

Son of the Shadows

Child of the Prophecy

Sequel to the Sevenwaters trilogy:

Heir to Sevenwaters

The Bridei Chronicles:

Dark Mirror

Blade of Fortriu

Well of Shades

The Light Isles books:

Wolfskin

Foxmask

Tamora Pierce

I’m not sure what Pierce would think about being on a list of Pagan authors, but the fact is that her characters follow a well thought out pantheon and celebrate the changing of the seasons. Religion is not usually a forefront topic in her books, but it is not entirely in the background either. Her characters frequently pray to the gods for help, and as some titles (such as In the Hand of the Goddess and The Realms of the Gods) suggest, divine interaction does sometimes play an important part in the novels.

It should be remembered that these are fantasy books. In addition to showing traditional Pagan activities, some of her characters practice magic that I am sure any modern day witch would be jealous of.

I have not read all of Pierce’s books, but I have read each of her books which take place in her made up realm of Tortall. I list each of them, in chronological order, below. They are all young adult books.

Song of the Lioness quartet:

The First Adventure

In the Hand of the Goddess

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Lioness Rampant

The Immortals quartet:

Wild Magic

Wolf-Speaker

Emperor Mage

The Realms of the Gods

Protector of the Small quartet:

First test

Page

Squire

Lady Knight

Trickster’s books:

Trickster’s Choice

Trickster’s Queen

Beka Cooper books:

Terrier

Bloodhound

Note: The Beka Cooper novels actually take place two hundred years before the other books, but they were written after the others and I think they are more interesting if you are already familiar with the other books.

Rick Riordan

Again, I am not sure what this particular author would think of being called a Pagan writer. But the fact is that his series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the gods have followed western civilization and Mount Olympus now hovers above New York.

I’m not entirely sure what the gods must think of how they are portrayed in this series, but they are a wonderful way to learn about Greek mythology. The young hero, whose father is a god and whose mother is human, faces monsters out of Greek legend and myth on a regular basis. As he does so the reader learns about the gods, what their stories are, and about Greek mythological creatures such as the Harpies.

I have not read any of Riordan’s other books, so I cannot say how Pagan they might be. All I can tell you is that his Percy Jackson and the Olympians books are page turners filled with excitement, which just so happen to teach Greek mythology. They are young adult books.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series:

The Lightning Thief

The Sea of Monsters

The Titan’s Curse

The Battle of the Labyrinth

The Last Olympian


2 comments:

Diandra said...

Have you read anything by Laurell K. Hamilton? She's Pagan, and many of her books contain modern Pagan life elements - besides zombies, vampires and werewolves (long before they became fashionable again). I could do with less of the grown-up stuff in her latest novels, but I love her stories and her style.

Sarita Rucker said...

No I haven't read her books.

So many books too little time! My eternal lament.