Saturday, May 12, 2012
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
This is an amazing novel. I think Science Fiction boasts more "important" novels than are credited by many non-genre readers. When i say important, I mean the novels which deserve to be taught in school literature classes, ones that should be required reading. This is one for the change makers. Is it a surprise that such an acclaimed Pagan and activist would produce a work which so perfectly balances yin and yang? This, I believe, is this novel's strongest attribute. It is at once a utopian and a dystopian tale. It is a brilliant in-your-face environmental cautionary reflection by Starhawk, and by the end of the story, you will feel as if you have taken a long journey. The characters of The Fifth Sacred Thing are well composed, although one weakness in this category, I feel, was that less attention was given to the primary villain than what I think the book deserves. Starhawk's characters are so real and multi-dimensional and sympathetic, that I found myself stressed out for them during the story's conflicts. Another strong point of this novel which I'm sure will attract a slew of readers, is that it is, not surprisingly, imbued with Earth-based, Goddess-based, Feminist spiritual wisdom and ritual. This is the magik of the book! We are taken on a journey in which those of us who stand to learn more about the way things really are, have this very opportunity. I was delighted and inspired by Starhawk's infusion of life lessons into a very exciting story. However, there is a little too much supernaturalism within the story at times for my taste, and I felt that it overshadowed the gravity of the plot in places. While I didn't mind the four to five-page explanation of the utopian political system, some readers might find this to be a bit over-written. And at times, I found myself having to re-read to remember what the character's relationships were. So, while I did find that some of the writing in this novel can be a bit heavy or confusing, overall I enjoy her style and twisting detail. I do find Starhawk's take (at least here) on non-violent resistance to be possibly naive, and felt that some of the invading military reactions were somewhat unrealistic. The ONE HUGE MAJOR FLAW in this novel are the annoying hippie pagan excuses for eating animals and their reproductive tissues which are presented. To this I say, "Come on, Starhawk; you should know better." Overall, this novel is quite good and well worth the effort. I recommend it highly to everyone - even younger readers.