With some delay, I’ve decided to look back at the books I’ve read in 2019 and the favorite lines from those books.
The first book I’ve read was James Harrington’s Drakin: Orphans of Haven – a mix of fantasy and post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi which had several touches on ethics. And a reminder that vengeance rarely helps anything.
He was young then, all ready to go out and avenge his family. He paused for a moment, looking back on it now, he realized just how stupid the whole thing was. He wasn’t avenging anyone. He just wanted an excuse to continue killing dragons, like most of the people who had joined the security corps.Drakin: Orphans of Haven
And the presence of mad scientist with low (or maybe no) morals led to an inevitable one-liner that was then touched in the third book as well. War never changes, I guess.
The other doctors grouped together and quickly raised their hands. One fell to his knees, “Please don’t hurt us! We were just following orders”
“Just… following… orders…” Nayeli hissed in disbelief. “I know human history. That phrase has been used to justify too many tragedies!”Drakin: Orphans of Haven (first quote)/An Empire of ashes (second quote)
During most of the first half of the year, I was reading D.K. Holmberg’s ‘The Lost Prophecy’ series – which had several lines about the price and balance of power – but also about knowledge.
“Time is never wasted teaching those who truly wish to learn,”
“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge. There are those who seek power for the sake of power. There are those who would abuse both.”
The Magi had kept what they knew away from the world, and that separation had allowed another power to emerge, one that was dangerous and had nearly destroyed everything they were.
Balance cannot be maintained by hiding from the world. Power must be used by those who have it, for others will seek to claim it from them.
“There’s a cost to everything. The only question is whether we’re willing to pay it.”The Lost Prophecy series
Especially the third and fourth quite were something that reminded me of one thing I consider crucial in stories: the balance of power. Shifts in power are a sign of dynamic story and something that can strengthen the role a faction plays in the story.
I finished the year with Shae Ford’s ‘Fate’s Forsaken’ series, which also had a few nice lines. One of them being a timeless truth: the obvious sign of tyrannical regime is targetting people who can’t be fooled by those lies. And some other wise lines.
He knew for a fact that a roomful of thinking men was more dangerous to a King than any army.
For every wicked man that fell, a good man would be allowed to live freely.
Fear can’t kill you. Oh, it can freeze you. It can scare you into giving up — but it can’t kill you. What kills you are all the little things you didn’t do because you were too scared to do them. It’s the regret that gets you in the end.
All men are mighty, when they know they’re bound to win. It’s when a man’s made small that you see him for what he truly is.
I would no sooner tell you what you would have to do to gain my trust than I would tell my vendors what I could afford to pay them. Because you would swindle me, madam.
The knowing that you’d ridden a good many miles out of your way not because you needed anything, but because you simply wished to speak with me. You wished to spend your time with me. And time, my dear, is our most valuable possession.Fate’s Forsaken series
Though the last two quotes are from the prequel I’ve read in 2020, I’ve decided to include them. Before I leave this series, a highlight that comes from the same series – but from the author’s afterword, not the story itself.
Love is frustrating. That’s the horrible, wonderful, messy truth of it. We read books like this because it’s so unlike reality that it allows us some reprieve from the harsh light of truth.Shae Ford
Esther Rabbit touched this in her Lost in Amber book – from an alien’s PoV.
Lilou hopped onto her bed, eager to watch yet another episode of Friends. She rocked at deciphering humans, thanks to Google and Netflix…
…Initially frustrating for Lilou, she was now hooked on TV shows—not on the plot, but on the way humans chose to select their angles and make decisions which would determine a certain outcome—mostly positive—which heavily contradicted the same actions in real life, all while eating popcorn.Lost in Amber
Because no matter whether it’s books, movies, TV series, or whatever… finding joy in sometimes visibly unrealistical decisions of our heroes is what we do. And there’s nothing wrong with it.
So, wishing you all some good fun with reading in 2020.