I was going to make that my review. Just that. But please, I could never limit myself to just that where this series is concerned. It’s too much fun to try and analyze it, for me not to give it my full and undivided love and attention.
Years ago, I read a book by the late Joseph Campbell titled The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Originally published in 1949, Mr. Campbell set out to formulate a template for the hero’s journey, one in which the name of the hero doesn’t really matter because he is every one. What matters is the journey itself and how the protagonist of the story progresses through his or her quest, suffers all the trials and heartbreaks, dies the spiritual death, is purified, is reborn, and ultimately achieves a oneness of body and soul to collect the boon at the journey’s end. Now, that’s not to say that Joseph Campbell originated the concept of the monomyth, only that he named it and drew the lines to show the archetypes and alchemy of that journey. Since I read this, as well as his book The Power of Myth, I have to say I’ve never looked at another book in quite the same way again. In fact, I think I quit reading altogether. Now I just obsess.
And Jacin is my latest obsession. Jacin himself is a template. He is a trinity. He is the hero with three faces who has died a thousand small deaths. He is Fen and Jacin and Jacin-rei. He is Incendiary and Catalyst and Untouchable. And somehow, some way, this deadly beauty must find a way to tie all he is together and make peace with the scar that is his soul so that he may be reborn yet again. But now, he must carry on with this journey alone, to discover how to be human—not again, but for the first time. For the first time, he has given someone the gift of his name, his true name, because somewhere deep inside, he knows his name will be safe on the tongue of the one to whom he’s gifted it. The name is not insignificant, in spite of what one would have Jacin believe. Jacin has received the talisman, the unspoken promise of protection against the danger through which he is about to pass, that will help him in his quest, until the one who gifted it to him can return—I hope as the ultimate gift for Jacin.
Jacin has learned that in order to gain, he must also lose. That’s the Balance of Fate in the world in which he lives. If Jacin wants and hopes and needs and reaches out, it can be destroyed, so he’s learned not to allow himself the impulse. He has learned that he cannot want, because if he wants, he hopes; if he hopes, he feels; if he feels, he is vulnerable. If he’s vulnerable, he can no longer hide in the shadows because the shadows are no longer a part of who he is. He is exposed, raw, frightened, in pain, and once again a target and a tool in a deadly game between the gods and the banpair, the energy vampires who feed upon the power of emotions, and Jacin is their all-you-can-eat-buffet.
Sometimes the best way to describe what something is, is to describe what it isn’t. Jacin isn’t whole. He isn’t crazy, nor is he sane. He isn’t untouchable, nor is he unlovable. He isn’t perfect, nor is he invincible. He has been touched and he has been loved, but he isn’t ready to accept that he is worthy of either, nor does he know how to get to that point of acceptance yet. He isn’t a fool, nor is he free. He has not discovered that his life has meaning because he has not yet discovered the meaning of his life. He isn’t the Ghost, but he isn’t quite human either. Jacin isn’t your archetypical hero. He must fly to fall and fall to fly–to do that, he must let go.
”It is yours to reach for the light.” Jacin must find the light to escape the shadows. And I hope its brilliance is enough to burn away the damage of all that he’s endured. I hope that light is incendiary.
Buy Koan (Wolf’s-own #3) HERE.