From the very beginning, you need to realize that this series is not done. The author, C. L. Stone, apparently has so many more adventures for our favorite characters to go on. This series has gotten it’s hook in me, and I just can’t seem to shake it. Though at times I roll my eyes, and at times it’s a bit juvenile, you must remember that I am a 31 year old lady with two small children, so to say that there are parts of me that I have forgotten as a teenager would be a rather obvious statement. Quite frankly, I am envious of the authors who seem to nail exactly what it was like during that incredibly delicate and turbulent time that we’ve all experienced. I’ve tried and tried and my protagonists just end up sounding snotty, or just too damn good and rational to be real.
So our story begins with a mousy little girl named Sang. Through out the series, many make fun of this name, and other’s revere it. There are some people, when you here their names, you look at them and think, “nope”. Then there are other’s that you can smile and say, “That’s perfect”. Sang, is somewhere in the middle. For such a long time, she isn’t much of anything. But being in the neutral middle ground, she almost becomes like smoke solidified. This entire series is interesting to me, in the sense that the main character shows so many signs and symptoms of being abused. For years. To the point that she doesn’t even see how it has effected her and the relationships she refuses to forge with people around her. It also adds an interesting dynamic to the many relationships she ends up making with her new group. I hesitate to call them her “saviors”, or “rescuers”, because she did quite a lot of rescuing of herself, even if she didn’t realize it at the time.
Sang is a 15/16 year old teenager who has been shackled to her home for a significant portion of her life. Her sister, an absolute total twat, has also been kept at home, but likes to pretend Sang is invisible. But to be fair, Sang tries to be invisible. Life is simpler for her to haunt through her own life, drifting quietly from one situation to the next. Sang seems to have learned from a young age that to be noticed, is to be punished. A few times in the first couple of books, Sang is punished for things she either a) didn’t do, or b) had no control over. When we are speaking punishments, we are not talking about being struck, or belted, as bad as those are. No, we are talking about kneeling on rice or frozen peas, for HOURS. Silently. Most people would assume this is being done by the father, but they would be wrong. These punishments are doled out by the evil mother, the woman who runs the house from her sick bed, while the father is off at “work”.
Sang has caught the attention of group of boys. Not because she looks hot, although they all seem quite enamored from the beginning, but because they recognize the lost look to this girl. I believe, even with out realizing it, Sang recognizes it in them, as well. As she meets one boy after the other, all with in three years of her age, she gets sucked in further and further in their lives, only to realize that their lives are not normal. Sweet, naïve Sang, so trusting of the boys, doesn’t know what “normal” looks like. She’s never even had close friends or a functioning family, so when her new friends expect her to run screaming, then look at her in incredulity when she shrugs her shoulders and asks what for supper, she then becomes confused. One thing I always find interesting about Sang is that she is rarely smug about how she amazed the boys. Instead, she tends to spend hours with internal reflection, wondering why she doesn’t react the way they expected. Is she broken? Should she fake the reaction and just make them think she was faking before? IS this the way normal girls would react? She continues to doubt everything about herself, continuously, even when these beautiful boys who have promised to always be by her side tell her she is unique and perfect.
As well as not knowing how to react in social situations, which are usual indications of Asperger’s, but in this situation has more to do with being completely isolated from peers and loving human contact, Sang does not know how to have any physical contact with others. Even the most simple of touches, during normal conversation, innocent hugging between best friends, is new territory for her. Her entire life, all she has know is the touch of force. Her mother forcing her to her knees on piles of rice, her sister biting her when they were younger….not once has she been hugged for a job well done or patted on the shoulder for being a good kid. So when this very close knit group of boys, who have faced many dangerous situations together and therefore know very few boundaries with each other, treat her like one of the team, Sang further realizes how far from normal she is. For a good portion of the existing series, Sang is tense, her stomach in knots, thinking of how to react if one of them reaches for her hand. She immediately stops talking if they hug her. She has to mentally talk herself into smiling if they even stand too close, which happens more times than it doesn’t. As the series progresses, she begins to become more relaxed around the small physical signs of affection. At times, she is even the first to reach for their hands. As time progresses, she even finds herself craving their closeness, which starts a whole new internal battle of “Is This Normal?” for her. But overall, this small wisp of a girl, a warrior and a badass in her own right, still flinches when people move too quickly around her, and at time breaks down when other peers reach out for her.
Back to the kneeling, when upset, and feeling like the boys are upset by her, Sang reverts back to what she knows. During one argument, Sang begins to get overwhelmed, feeling guilt over things she had no control over, boys are yelling all around her, one even yelling at her (he had feared for her safety and misdirected his angry voice), and down she went. She knelt before them, in a completely submissive position. What did the boys do? A lot of men could see this as a girl who just needed a strong man to take care of her. A lot of men would look to take advantage of her in her vulnerable state. Frankly, I was terrified for this character when this story began because I feared this was the story I was reading. But I was so wrong. Instead of telling Sang to get up, or taking advantage of her submissive position, these incredible boys, teenagers, dropped to her side, figuratively. They blamed each other and they blamed themselves, but they all got to her level, and they helped her back up to theirs. They made her aware, every second that they could, that she was an equal. That she was worthy of, not them, but more than them, and more than they could ever give her.
This series has already gone through many ups and down, many believable and unbelievable plot twists, but always, at the heart of it, the love that’s in this book is tangible. Whether it be siblings, lovers, or for society as a whole, there is so much to feel good about in this book, as well as in the series also by this author, “Scarab Beetle”. IF you are interested in psychology, even as just a healthy past time, this book can give your brain plenty to chew on. So many characters and characteristics to take out, turn in your head and look at from new angles. I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for the next books.
*Obviously this is just a slight skimming of the main character. We cannot go into deep detail without some major Spoilers happening. Though no one is reading this blog now, if it is even stumbled on in the future, I’d like to let you discover all the wonderful developments that happen in this series. It’s one of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
As it sits now, we have books 1-10 in the Ghost Bird series and books 1-5 in the Scarab Beetle series. We are anxiously awaiting the late release of book #11 “Black and Green”, of the Ghost Bird series…