There are many things to emphasize in storytelling. Some writers are great at creating unique, fleshed out characters, while their tone may seem uneven. Other writers start with an amazing premise, though their plots may wander.
Then there’s Laini Taylor and Patrick Ness, who wrote Strange the Dreamer and The Knife of Never Letting Go, respectively. Whatever other areas may be overlooked in their work, their writing takes center stage.
Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer is gorgeous. It’s almost like poetry with its descriptions and metaphors. It’s highly polished and absolutely beautiful, even when describing ugly things.
Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go, however, is anything but gorgeous. If Dreamer is polished, Knife is stripped down, raw. It’s the blood and meat of human emotions and perceptions.
But both books are excellent at what they do, and both styles fit their stories so well. Dreamer‘s polished language and Knife‘s raw writing show just what a range writers have to play with their language, and both are examples of how an emphasis on writing can involve the reader in a unique way.
No spoilers ahead.
Desert elves! Color schemes! Assassins! Memory scars! Kickass characters! Fear! Hallucinations! Determination! Evil sorcerers!
These are all things that make this reader very happy, as I discovered while reading the newest short story, Colors of Fear, by Hannah Heath. I’ve followed her awesome blog for a while now, and am thrilled that she published again.
I see a lot of confusion over what to call reading ages, both online and in real life. Most people know the term ‘young adult’ (usually shortened to YA), but what does that cover? And how is YA different from ‘middle grade’ or ‘children’s fiction’? And are there more categories?
The reading world is constantly changing. Terms that were used get phased out, and as public interest shifts marketing has to create new age ranges to cater to demographics that may not have existed before.
So then how do you keep the terms straight?
That’s where Harry Potter comes in. The Harry Potter series covers multiple age demographics, which is fairly rare. It’s a great tool for seeing just where those technical ranges fall, so you can know what to call your novel and so you can sound super educated when you’re talking about books.
Just to be honest here, YA contemporary lit isn’t my thing. Why? Because I don’t like reading about something I might live through- it seems like a waste of time. But I do like to stay current with my reading, and I appreciate John Green’s youtube stuff enough to check out Turtles All the Way Down. I’m not the target audience, though.
Although there were many aspects to the book that didn’t do much for me, there were two things I loved. First was the emphasis on mental illness. The portrayal of Aza’s OCD really helped me understand it better.
But what really stood out to me was Aza and Daisy’s friendship. Neither girl was the perfect friend, but perfect people don’t exist. The girls accepted that and didn’t give up on each other.
I think writers often get so wrapped up in putting words into their computer that they forget how gorgeous the final product can be. All they see is words and a blinking cursor, no beauty in sight.
But in a finished book, there will be touchable, textured pages, an illustrated, colorful cover, and solid, unmovable words. As any book-lover knows, these things are beautiful.
It can be easy to lose sight of the final product, especially during writing slumps. Sometimes you need a particularly lovely book to remind you of the potential of words on a page. Leigh Bardugo’s collection of short stories The Language of Thorns is just such a book.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The third Beaumont and Beasley has arrived! (Okay, it’s been out for several weeks. I’m a little behind) You can read the synopsis for The Stroke of Eleven on Amazon and check out Kyle Robert Shultz’s website. You can also see my reviews for Book 1: The Beast of Talesend, and Book 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch.
Does anyone else get stressed when there’s a book with a gorgeous cover, because they worry the story won’t hold up? This is definitely my favorite cover of the series so far (because colors), but that means heightened hopes, which means heightened apprehension.
I didn’t need to worry.
The Stroke of Eleven is just as good as its predecessors, even as it does so much more. Not only is this moving the main story forward, but it also expands the world and hints at further stories.
No spoilers ahead.
The Traveler is the first book in Lost Empire trilogy by E.B. Dawson (check out her website!).
This book was so good, people. The characters were excellent and unique, the story and themes were captivating, and the world was intriguing. You can’t get much better than that! Check out the synopsis on Amazon.
No spoilers ahead, so if you’re trying to decide whether to read The Traveler or not, you should and here’s why.
Viria is amazing. All the images are credited to her.
Okay, here we go. Spoilers ahead.
I’m not a fan of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Honestly, I’m not fully sure why. I had issues with how it expanded the world (for the same reasons as in The Kane Chronicles), how it tied up (or dropped) most of its plotlines, and the lack of lasting consequences (especially with character deaths). Or maybe I was just too old when I read it. But the main issue I’ll address is the female characters. Yep, this is the ‘strong female character’ post every blog needs.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is one of the best books I’ve read, and I don’t say that lightly. Both the story and the characters are compelling, and even though it’s a prime example of genre fiction it still has several strong themes.
One of the biggest things that stood out to me was the twist at the end. It changed my whole expectation of the world and the morality the author was operating under, and it explained a theme that had been building, unnoticed, through the book.
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is a wonderful book. The writing is beautiful, the story sucks you in like a movie does, and the characters are engaging and loveable- especially Kvothe.
It’s good that Kvothe is loveable, being the main character and all, but I was actually surprised by how much I liked him. He’s the ‘more clever and skilled than everyone’ character that can so easily be flat and boring. His ‘flaws’ are a fiery temper- which is often a praised character trait- and pride, which is well-founded due to his talent. To top it all, his eyes change color based on his mood. In short: Kvothe is a Mary-Sue.
But despite the general hatred for Mary-Sues, it works.