What do you do when your main character is ridiculously prideful, a workaholic, and cheats on his wife? How do you get audiences to root for him? Is that even possible?
We’re talking about Hamilton, if you couldn’t tell. He’s
a bit of quite the jerk, but audiences still cheer for him. Why? Well, there’s several reasons, but a big one is that they hate the antagonist even more.
How do you know that people will hate your antagonist enough to make up for your antihero? There’s a foolproof way to guarantee hatred in an audience. People loathe hypocrites. And Thomas Jefferson is one giant hypocrite.
There’s tons of buzz about diversity in today’s books. Whether you think this is needed or not, you would probably agree that characters should be different from each other. After all, no one wants a cast that’s exactly alike.
The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo is pretty diverse, in the popular sense of the word (including disabilities!), but something that really stood out to me was the diversity in culture.
So I finally conquered my (rational) fear of e-books and my (irrational) aversion to self-published works. With this new world of possibilities open, I started with a short story called Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath (who happens to be an awesome blogger).
There’s a lot packed into this little story- most of it good. One thing that really stuck out to me was its allegorical aspects. Before getting into that, though, I’ll give my non-spoiler thoughts.
It’s no secret that it’s hard to end a story. Just look at the number of sequels that are released. Why complete a story when you don’t want to let go of the characters? When you still have more ideas for it? …When you could keep making money off it? Maintaining quality, that’s why.
Logan is the first real ‘end’ in the superhero franchises, excluding standalone trilogies like The Dark Knight and Spiderman. There’s a lot to learn from its willingness to let go of such a popular storyline.
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is a super fun YA fantasy heist book. It’s about six teenagers and their attempt to infiltrate the most secure prison in the known world: the Ice Court. If they succeed, they’ll be rich for life. If they fail, they die.
Let’s be clear here: I loved this book. There’s lots of great things about it, including the surprisingly fresh characters and the multiple cultures and settings. However, it definitely falls short in some areas, including handling multiple points of view.
So: I saw Hamilton.
It was so amazing, and there’s no way I can do it justice, but here’s what I got: (my fellow soldiers will tell you I’m a terrible shot) *ahem* Art is awesome.
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, is a phenomenal YA historical fiction book. It follows four young adults from different countries during World War II as their paths converge to the fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff.
In 1945 the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff sank in the Baltic Sea (the sea between Sweden and Latvia/Lithuania/Poland/etc.) while carrying around 10,600 passengers and crew. The majority of these were civilian refugees fleeing the approaching Red Army. Up to 9,400 people died, making it the largest loss of life of a single sunk ship, even greater than the Titanic, which is far better known (thanks, Wikipedia!).
Salt to the Sea‘s four main characters end up on this doomed boat as they flee from their past. (Spoilers ahead)
There are a million and one things I love about the musical Hamilton, but Aaron Burr is near the top of the list. I love his two main songs (“Wait for It” and “Room Where It Happens”), I love how unique of a character he is, and I love what a contrast he is to Hamilton.
(Warning: song lyrics are used. Anyone who doesn’t want to have Hamilton stuck in their heads should stop reading. But really, who doesn’t want Hamilton in their heads?)
The game is afoot! Unfortunately, the game stumbled a bit. (Spoilers ahead)
I went into Rogue One expecting a romance.
Really, who didn’t? There was a girl and a guy for main characters, so obviously sparks would fly.
Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned. (Spoilers ahead)