Who is Rachel Griffin?

From a recent official Tempest in a Teardrop Book Club Irregulars meeting transcript.

Q: Christmas is rapidly approaching, and rather than recommend useless items such as the “I’m With Her Election Night Victory Commemorative Boxcutter,” I think we should focus on books, video games, or movies we like and think our readers might be interested in.

Codex: Good idea! We should start with the Rachel Griffin books by L. Jagi Lamplighter.

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin (Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 1) by [Lamplighter, L. Jagi]
Glyph: I love those books!

Q: So who is Rachel Griffin?

Codex: It’s Lady Rachel Griffin, actually, because her father, in addition to being an influential investigator for the government, is also Lord Griffin.

Glyph: She’s a cute half-Korean 13 year old girl who just started as a freshman at the Roanoke Academy. She is constantly defeating her mortal enemy, boredom, by going on adventures, missing sleep, and not doing homework. Homework, as we all know, is bad. So bad, in fact, that it is Not Good.

Codex: Nice try, but she does homework. In fact, magic spells don’t come easily to her, so she has to work extra-hard to learn them. Her ultimate goal is to find out everything there is to find out, because she loves secrets. Her dream is to become an adventurer-librarian, like her hero, Daring Northwest.

Q: Wait. She does magic?

Codex: Yes. The school is officially called the Roanoke Academy of Sorcerous Arts. The Wary, folks who are aware that magic exists, have their own society hidden from the rest of the world, who’re called the Unwary. Illusions are used to protect their way of life.

Glyph: They are still aware that the non-magical world exists, but they often get confused or misinterpret things. For example, they might explain Star Wars in terms of magic, not science fiction principles.

Q: Star Wars can be explained with science fiction principles? Do they at least acknowledge the prequels were terrible?

Glyph: Of course. No amount of magic could possibly convince anyone otherwise.

Q: Got it.

Codex: But there is so much more! Rachel has an eidetic memory, and —

Q: I’m sorry, a what?

Codex: A memory capable of perfect recall. Once she sees or hears something she can relive the details, as though they were occurring again right in front of her.

Q: I see. And she remains sane?

The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel (A Book of Unexpected Enlightenment 2) by [Lamplighter, L. Jagi]

Codex: Spoilers! Her memory gives her a talent that nobody else seems to have. She can see through the illusions that protect the world. In fact, she can see that even the Wary who cast the illusions, have illusions upon them that they are unaware of. This makes the workings of magic very, very interesting in the context of the Rachel Griffin Universe, but — Spoilers!

Glyph: Oh! And she is best friends with Sigfried, who grew up in a London orphanage, where he was bullied and never had enough food. Siegfried is one of my favorite characters!

Q: That sounds like me. Was he consigned to the drawer with the irregular tableware?

Glyph: Of course not. He eventually went on to make friends with a dragon, and takes his revenge, not by burning the orphanage into charcoal, but by living fun.

Codex: She has other friends, of course. Some are hilarious, and some are annoying, but they are all memorable. It’s not like she could forget them, at any rate, and neither does the reader.

Q: Is there a romantic angle we need to warn some sensitive readers about?

Glyph: There is romance, but it isn’t the mushy kind.

Q: As your father, you have no idea how comforting it is to hear you say that.

Codex: An additional angle is the reason the Wary are magical. They are all descended from mythological creatures and old gods. The author pulls from folkways and cultures the world over for her story.

Q: Interesting. Once again, it doesn’t sound like these books have anything in common with Dr. Seuss books. How many stars are we subtracting for that? Half?

Glyph: None! She should have stars added for that!

Codex: Besides, there is a Lorax-like… person. But — Spoilers!

Q: Okay, fine. But is there a spork in the story? As you know, in CURRENT_YEAR all imagination has been removed from the world so I can only read, relate to, and like stories that feature characters of my particular identity type.

Glyph: Um, no. How could she possibly include a spork?

Q: Easily. I can even write the scene, which is a poignant commentary on the plight of my people and will enrich the Rachel Griffin universe.

The Dreaming was terribly difficult to navigate under optimal conditions, and it was a minor miracle that Rachel Griffin and the rest of the Die Horribly Debate Club had managed to keep their hands clasped as they burst into the clearing.

Their eyes locked with a Minotaur, and everyone froze.

The horned beast was monster-spreading on a white ribbon-backed tea chair under a dainty white tea-table. A cracked German beer stein seemed out of place on a doily cloth. In one hand he held a can of Elf Giblet Stew, and in the other a titanium spork, freshly dipped but motionless, its journey halted on the way to the fiend’s half-open mouth. The spork had eyes. It looked terrified.

The moment seemed to last forever. A giblet dripped off the utensil, falling onto the Minotaur’s denim vest, joining escapees from previous meals. Rachel and her friends began to back away. The Minotaur slowly resumed its dinner. The last memory burned into Rachel’s brain was the spork silently mouthing “Help Me” as it disappeared into the gaping toothed maw of the creature, its unbrushed teeth scraping every last bit of Elf goop from the scratch-resistant surface.

“Sometimes a dream is just a dream,” her P.E. teacher,  Mr. Chanson, had told her. Rachel shuddered anyway. She’d seen how full the can had been. The spork’s ordeal was just beginning, and all she could recall at that moment was his tine-y, scared face.

Codex: That’s… not bad, actually. Still, it isn’t like Jagi is going to read this, so nice try.

Glyph: Yeah, good one, Dad. Besides, the King of Magical Australia probably has talking sporks.

Codex: Oooh! I love Magical Australia. It’s hilarious.

Q: Fine. So we’re concluding that the Rachel Griffin books are five stars, well worth reading for any age group, and would make a great Christmas present. Despite the fact that it neither has Seussian rhythmic prose or the presence of sporks.

Codex: Yes. Go! Buy! Read!

Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland (The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 3) by [Lamplighter, L. Jagi]___

The Spork Speaks — Tempest in a Teardrop — tempestinateardrop.com

20 thoughts on “Who is Rachel Griffin?

    1. Yes, please appropriate the culture of my people and bring awareness to our plight. Most folks only care about us when they are camping or at a KFC restaurant. A heart-wrenching scene would involve the secret ongoing war between who gets second place behind the knives (the coolest cutlery) – the forks or the spoons. As a hybrid, I am shunned by all and must take solace with the stranger tableware you normally only see at Thanksgiving. Cake knives, melon spoons, that sort of thing.

      Why yes, I did have electroshock therapy to cure my overactive imagination as a child.


      1. I have found a spot for a spork cameo. Actually, I found a spot for a brief Quizzer and Codex cameo. We’ll see what can be done about the plight of your people in later books.


    1. Yes. You know when the scary elves (the “teind to Hell” kind) have an uneasy meeting with the main character, the virginal priest-sorceress of the Unicorn, Prospero’s daughter and her hard-boiled, tough talking gumshoe side-kick (an airy spirit slave of these magicians who’s picked up some LOVELY American revolutionary habits viz aristos) AT SANTA’S WORKSHOP at THE NORTH POLE, and it all works–? You have a hefty slice of awesome book in your hands.

      The covers are a bit of a distraction because they set you up to expect one kind of story (mythopoeic, girly-fantasy-romance) and while those things are present in the tale they take second base to exciting adventure in an alternative Shakespearian-themed “hidden magic in the modern day” world.

      Go find a library copy right now if you don’t believe me. I’ll wait.

      You can come back and thank me later, TiaT commentors 🙂


    1. J.K. Rowling is wonderful at building up characters so annoying you celebrate their deaths. This does not make me popular within my household. I am assured that Rachel Griffin is much, much better.

      I greatly enjoy Bellatrix LeStrange in the movies, though. Partly this is because the name Bellatrix is so bitchin’ (do the kids still use that term?) and partly because Helena Bonham Carter just *owns* the role.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good sir, I must inform that this particular “minotaur” (I am not THE Minotaur) that I do not dine on Elf stew[1], nor do I own a titanium spork (I had considered such, but I met someone who had one who was wayyyy too into the thing and it rather put me off the idea). I will admit that my dentist would prefer I brush more often than I do, but this is mainly forgetfulness rather than ignorance of couth.

    I had not considered a denim vest. Perhaps I should? Though the vest thing seems… well, what’s the utility of the thing, really?

    [1] As Sgt Schlock say, “Food that talks isn’t food.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was technically Elf *giblet* stew. Being mercifully unfamiliar with the manufacturing process, I am not sure which part the giblet comes from. Presumably, though, it doesn’t speak. I can understand your reluctance, regardless of this fact.

      As for the dentist, tell him you’d have more concern if they didn’t spend an hour scraping the natural protective layer food gives us off our teeth before telling us how “nice” they are.


  2. I did know elves where considered fowl. Foul, perhaps in cases, but not fowl. “Giblets is a culinary term for the edible offal of a fowl, typically including the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs.”

    My current dentist is far superior to the dentist(s) I encountered many long years ago who, I suspect, were secret (or not so secret) sadists. I used to dread seeing a dentist, now it’s a chance to sit back and mostly relax. It’s not quite Star Trek’s “wave a humming oversized thimble around and it’s done” but it’s no longer the Ordeal it once was.


        1. Maybe Q just thought “elf giblets” sounded like a funny expression, or maybe he was making fun of food companies and their ridiculous marketing labels, or maybe he was very cleverly calling elves “chickens”, or maybe he didn’t know that “giblets” commonly referred to only avian species.

          We’ll never know for sure.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry* to inform you that I logged onto the Oxford English Dictionary online, and it turns out that “giblets” are not specific to fowl (though that is one alternate meaning) but to wild game.

      Now the question is, was the elf in season?

      (*for values of “sorry” = “not at all.” I live for obscure etymological pedantry)

      Liked by 1 person


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