Thursday, September 27, 2012

Irrepressible Library

I am really ready to start bashing my head against hard objects, except that would slow me down even more from reading ALL THE THINGS. I really don't know what to do with myself. I don't get through as many books as I'd like to, even though I am always reading. I give up on a lot of books, plus I'm just a slow reader, plus I get distracted easily.

I really don't know how I have time to breathe right now. I work full-time, I have my EMT course which takes up all night Tuesdays and Thursdays and has a freaking large textbook to read the other days, plus I'm trying to really crack down on my writing (I'm not going to let it get pushed to the side because of my class!), which leaves me just the train ride for reading. =/ Not to bemoan my situation, but that's never enough! \end{rant}


Currently reading:

A Matter of Blood - Sarah Pinborough (The Forgotten Gods #1)
I started reading this a while ago and got 70% of the way through, then put it down for god knows why. I'm reading it from the beginning again, and this time I can really notice how clean and crisp the prose is and how brutally plotted it is. Every scene is doing 3-4 things. That's a champ writer, people. This isn't available in the US yet (I think it's coming here Fall 2013?) but you can order it (and should, because it's awesome) from Book Depository.

The recession has left the world exhausted. Crime is rising; financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt to The Bank, a company created by the world's wealthiest men. But Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he's haunted by the deeds of his past, and he's got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve - not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies. Then Cass Jones' personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide—leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it's time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself—only to discover that all three cases are linked... As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: What disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind The Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones? (Book Depository)

A surprising amount of Mainstream Fiction:

The Timekeeper - Mitch Albom
I admit, I've never read Mitch Albom before. My best friend loves him, and even Phil has read The Five People You Meet in Heaven (I loved the movie). His new one looks awesome and might be purchased, despite my kibash on hardcovers, and the fact that I bought a hardcover last week and it only turned out ok and I hate myself a little for buying it (Every Day).

From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper—a compelling fable about the first man on earth to count the hours.
        The man who became Father Time.
        In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.
        He returns to our world—now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began—and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.
        Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
Several people, including Phil's Ma and several coworkers, have come to me and said OMGYOUHAVETOREADTHISBOOK. I admit, it sounds really good. I hope I don't ugly-cry at the end, because I don't know if I can handle that kind of emotional turmoil right now. There's a copy available at the library I plan to snag.

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
        Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
        Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him—allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
        And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.
        A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.

The Casual Vacancy - J. K. Rowling
I was a bit worried about this at first, not that it would be bad, but that I just wouldn't enjoy it. It's been getting great reviews so far, so I'm excited to read it. Not sure when I'll get to it, but I'll most likely buy it on my nook.
The Sex and Unicorns Interview
Lev Grossman's Review

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
        Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
        Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
        And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
        Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
I know! I KNOW. I can't believe I haven't read this book yet. Once again, I read a few chapters and then gave it to my best friend to read because it was so amazing and she had to read it RIGHT THEN. Of course, then I didn't have it to read myself. (I don't know why I thought that made sense at the time.) She has since informed me that it is one of her favorite books and I need to get my ass moving on it, and here's my copy back.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
        Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

And last but not least, the Fantastic Fantasy:

Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #1)
I am SO EXCITED for this book. I had my name on the waitlist at the library as soon as it was in the system, and I don't have it yet! *sad* I'm supposedly at the top, so hopefully soon! I can't wait!

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
        A DYING LAND
        The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
        The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
        Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
        But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1)
This is another book that's been on my list for a while. I keep reading five pages, putting it down for three weeks, reading five more pages, putting it down for three weeks... that's no way to read a book. By all accounts this book is amazing and the rest of the trilogy gets even more amazing, so it needs to happen.

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. (BN)

Swan Song - Robert McCammon
Not much to say about this one, except that it sounds amazing. I discovered it on EBR, and they have good taste (damn elitists).

In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth’s last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity: Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets. Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station. And Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels alongside Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with Swan’s gifts. But the ancient force behind earth’s devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army, beginning with Swan herself. (BN)

Brood of Bones - A. E. Marling
This has been on my TBR pile for a while. I am... strangely intrigued and simultaneously grossed out by the premise. I've been waiting to buy it until I'm ready to read it, and lo! It's free for Kindle today! I feel guilty downloading it for free when I was planning to purchase it anyway, but if I like it I will probably buy a copy for my Nook to read it properly instead of on my phone with the Kindle app.

Cursed with endless drowsiness, Enchantress Hiresha sleeps more than she lives. Since she never has had a chance to raise a family, she sometimes feels like every woman is pregnant except for her. This time, she is right.
        From virgin to grandmother, all the women in her city have conceived.
        A lurking sorcerer drains power from the unnatural pregnancies, and Hiresha must track him by his magic. Unfortunately, her cultured education in enchantment ill equips her to understand his spellcraft, which is decidedly less than proper. The only person uncivilized enough to help is the Lord of the Feast, a dangerous yet charming  illusionist. Associating with him may imperil Hiresha's city, yet refusing his help will allow the sorcerer to leech godlike power from the mass births.

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey (Expanse Series #1)
Another high on the list! I haven't fallen in love with a space opera since the Revelation Space trilogy by Alastair Reynolds, so I'm excited to fall in love with this one. It's been getting great reviews (and the second is out already, so I need to get my ass in gear).

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.
        Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
        Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
        Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Gojiro - Mark Jacobson
I thought I would include this one since I'm kindof also reading it. A coworker gave it to me because he loved, loved, loved it, so I'm giving it a go. I'm about fifteen pages in, and honestly, it's really hard work. Not giving up yet though! I have no idea how he found it, but evidently it's a cult classic. The description cracks me up.

This remarkable first novel combines the manic energy of monster movies and comic books with a serious and sad look at the post-nuclear world. At center stage are two friends. One is Gojiro, a 500-foot-tall lizard who has swollen to his extraordinary size--and acquired the shrewd brain of higher life forms--as a result of an atomic test. Then there's his comrade Komodo, a human victim of Hiroshima. A mystical and telepathic bond unites them; they make a home for themselves and other radiation victims on a volcanic island in the middle of a ``roiling petrochemical sea.'' But Gojiro becomes a movie star, setting out with Komodo for Hollywood at the strange request of a film producer (whose father was involved with the Manhattan Project tests that produced Gojiro). They soon uncover a plot to test new atomic weapons that, in the best comic book tradition, threatens the world. The plot is fast-moving and fun, but the bulk of the book consists of long, philosophical dialogues between the austere youth and the wisecracking monster--whose hipster jargon is a perfect imitation of the late rock critic Lester Bangs. The novel's beauty lies in the way these often hilarious conversations strike a poignant note while the ``mutants'' try to come to grips with the horrors of their lives. (PW)

And there you have it! Now can you see why I feel so overwhelmed? And these are only the books that are competing for the top "Read Immediately" spots.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Every Day

I bought this Friday, and had it finished on Sunday. I rarely ever do that, but it's always nice when I do. This is a quick little story that has a simple plot but will leave you thinking, mostly about gender identity and societal constraints. Those are big ideas for such a little book. I've never read David Levithan before, but he has a lot of books, including the coauthored Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green. I picked it up pretty much solely because of my love for John Green. (I wonder how sick Levithan is of being compared to JG. Those are big shoes to fill.) You can follow Levithan on his Twitter (which appears to be devoted to another of his books, The Lover's Dictionary) and his website. There is also some crazy pen-name action going on.... info from his website: "David Van Etten is actually three writers: Chris Van Etten is a full-time writer for ABC’s One Life to Live; David Ozanich is a freelance writer and playwright; and David Levithan."

A summary, from BN:
       A has no friends. No parents. No family. No possessions. No home, even. Because every day, A wakes up in the body of a different person. Every morning, a different bed. A different room. A different house. A different life. A is able to access each person's memory, enough to be able to get through the day without parents, friends, and teachers realizing this is not their child, not their friend, not their student. Because it isn't. It's A. Inhabiting each person's body. Seeing the world through their eyes. Thinking with their brain. Speaking with their voice.
       It's a lonely existence—until, one day, it isn't. A meets a girl named Rhiannon. And, in an instant, A falls for her, after a perfect day together. But when night falls, it's over. Because A can never be the same person twice. But yet, A can't stop thinking about her. She becomes A's reason for existing. So each day, in different bodies—of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, walks of life—A tries to get back to her. And convince her of their love. But can their love transcend such an obstacle?

The first thing I had to realize about this book is that it was not, in fact, written by John Green. Seems obvious, I know, but they are two different people with two different writing styles, and it's not fair to compare them. That being said, I don't know if I would have picked this up if not for Will Grayson, so comparisons are inevitable.

This was a quick book and I read it in 2½ sittings. The plot was simple. He wakes up in a different body, and he can't stop thinking about Rhiannon. The science fiction part of the book was cool. The romance was tried and true. But I would have just liked.... more.

Since A does not identify as a male or a female, the book raised some really great questions and unique problems to their relationship. I loved all the gender identity stuff. This book had a very strong love-who-you-love and anti-label approach, which I completely agree with. It's a great book for teenagers to read, especially those who are having a hard time figuring themselves out, but like I said before, it shied away from some of the big problems. Such as: the religious nuts who demonize him when his story leaks. The free will issues. Levithan touched on the problems around a relationship with a person who changes physical form every day (and I absolutely loved that Rhiannon was not perfect and had her qualms, no matter how open minded she tried to be). Everything seemed like it was scratching the surface.

Maybe it's because I normally gravitate toward thick books that have plenty of time for all the explanation in the world that I feel this way. I certainly understand if Levithan only wanted to focus on the romance, but lets be serious, no one in real life can only focus on the romance. Everyone has to deal with other issues, it would have been great for the characters to deal with other issues as well. Gender identity is a sensitive topic among teens, and this could have been a really great, emotional book for all that. But my emotions were never pulled while reading this, and I guess that's the biggest point I'm trying to make.

Also, the ending. *SOME NON-SPECIFIC SPOILERS* I mean, was this supposed to be a happy ending? It read that way, and it felt like it, but I don't think so. How is that honestly supposed to work for Rhiannon? She would be basing everything on physicality, which was the opposite of what this book was trying to say, that it's the inside that counts. It all felt rushed, and Levithan used that pesky first-person narrator is suddenly censoring their thoughts to the reader trick, which I noticed right away.

With the way everyone raved about this book on Twitter, I expected more. More depth, more story, more ending, more everything. After the first chapter I knew it wasn't going to be JG-awesome (there I go again, but I can't help myself), but even looking at it critically after reading it I'm just not that impressed. It was a great idea, though.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Name of the Wind

I read it again. The whole thing, over the weekend. And after all the books I started and stopped within a chapter or two, this one grabbed my attention immediately. It sucked me in and I was happy and I didn't want to stop reading, so I didn't. I had the weekend to myself and didn't write as much as I wanted to, but that's ok. Reading is still a requirement of writing, and it reminds me why I want to do it in the first place. I'll admit it had me a little down at times, because how can I ever write something that compares to this book? By working my ass off, I guess. It gives me something to strive for! It's hard when all you have is a partial first draft and you can't help but compare your work to the published masterpieces. But anyway, this book was just as amazing as I expected it to be, which is why I wanted to read it. This is read number six or seven, but surprisingly the first time I've read it this year. Surprised I lasted this long. I'm reading The Wise Man's Fear now, which is only my first reread. I've been holding out for the mass market, but I have seven months until that is out so now is as good a time as any. By the time April rolls around it'll be time for me to read these again anyway!

The best part about reading is going back to the books that really resonate with you. Sometimes I have to remind myself it's ok to read something again. New books are great, but favorite books have power.

Update 9/11:
I just saw this article on A Dribble of Ink, and while I read about PR's new fantasy deal a little while ago on Publisher's Lunch, I couldn't believe how he so nonchalantly dropped the name of Day Three, The Doors of Stone. I haven't seen that mentioned or announced anywhere yet, though it does make sense. And for the record, I do believe Pat when he says Kvothe's story will finish in the third book, and I don't think the new series will be in the Four Corners world. As to whether or not it has a satisfactory, "hero beating the odds" ending, I have no idea. I can see it going either way. Also, OMG Day Three has a name!!!!

P.S. That fan drawing above is amazing and I don't want to post again to move it off the top of my blog. *g*

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Snippets: I'm a bit passionate about this stuff

The Hugo Awards were announced! Among Others by Jo Walton won best novel, which I was really happy about because I loved that book, even though I think Seanan McGuire deserved it more for Blackout and I wanted her to win.

Even more interesting, the mass market edition for Wise Man's Fear was finally announced!!! Seriously, I looked this up at least 2-3 times every month. Now, instead of my hopes getting squashed because there was no new information, they are squashed because I have to wait until April 2nd. Which realistically means I may be able to find it March 28... I've been waiting to re-read this book because it just isn't the same on the Nook. Re-reads especially deserve pages and paper and ink, a physical form my heart-strings can attach to. Yes, I am passionate about this.

The Powers That Be have created possibly the best book trailer ever for Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.

I Am What I Eat by Susan Dennard, Part 1 and Part 2. Eating fresh and healthy food is really important to me. In college, when I was cooking just for myself, baked potatoes and cheese and vegetables became the staples instead of meat. I devoted my required speech class to the meat industry and how going vegetarian reduces global warming. (Seriously. Did you know that the cattle industry in South and Central America releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire transportation industry?) I love healthy food, and I crave it, and I really do feel so much better when I eat healthily. You can really tell a difference in your mental and physical states when your body can focus on things other than filtering out all the awful chemicals and processed fats in packaged foods. One of my favorite breakfasts is yogurt, granola, cinnamon, and fresh blueberries. You can EAT YOUR FILL and not feel like SHIT afterward. I avoid fast food whenever possible, but I do eat it occasionally. I usually regret it afterwards, no matter how good it tastes. I don't exercise regularly (I think running is uber boring) but I love being active, and I go to yoga once a week (it makes Mondays AWESOME), but I'm not huge on the exercise scale. And another big thing I do is drink as much water as I can stomach throughout the day, and always when I am eating. If I cave and grab a soda, I think of it as a snack and I never go for a diet. I don't count calories. This got a bit out of hand. \end{rant}

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Rook

I first heard of The Rook by Daniel O'Malley in Alex Adam's Terribleminds interview, where she named Myfawny Thomas as a strong female lead. After that I thought about it for a while, I kept hearing good things about it around the interwebs,  it stayed at the top of my TBR pile, and I finally picked it up at the library. Truth be told, I almost returned it without reading it. I picked it up on a whim and read the first five pages. AND THEN I WAS FREAKING HOOKED. And by the way, Myfawny Thomas? Totally badass.

I don't know much about Daniel O'Malley, but you can follow him at his blog (which he doesn't seem to update too often) and his twitter. (The best parts of his twitter are the little info-bits in his replies to other people, which unfortunately are not featured in your general feed.) His bookpage has a hilarious book trailer that will make a lot more sense if you've read a chapter or four, which *also* happens to live on his bookpage! (Lucky you!) It's out in hardcover now, but the paperback is out (in the US) October 16. And if it means anything to you, Lev and Austin Grossman, Charlaine Harris, Chuck Wendig, Jaye Wells, and Katherine Neville have all sung it's praises. And I completely agree with them.

A synopsis, from BN:
       Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization and this person wants her dead.
       As Myfanwy battles to save herself, she encounters a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and an unimaginably vast conspiracy. Suspenseful and hilarious, THE ROOK is an outrageously inventive debut for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime.

At first, I was turned off by the language. This is not a poetic book by any means, and the books I've been reading lately have all been of the well-written, snot-nosed sort. And I'm sorry to say that it put me off for a minute, and I am ashamed. Because this book turned out to be SO AWESOME. As in I'm pretty tempted to crack it open at the beginning and start all over again. It kept me so engrossed I read it last weekend in the hotel room during our ANNIVERSARY trip, people. I'm not entirely sure what that says about me. (We also watched a Shipping Wars marathon while eating take-out Thai food. In New York City. I don't know what that says about us. But hey, ten years, we must be doing something right.) But don't let the simple prose turn you off to this book, because honestly by about page seven I was completely pulled into the story.

Jaye Wells summed it up best when she said this book is "wildly inventive and startling hilarious. Part Bourne Identity, part X-Men, and with a hefty dose of Monty Python, this genre-bender is a refreshing addition to contemporary fantasy." Katherine Neville added Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, and War of the Worlds. Honestly, they all fit. This book is just a heap of fun with lots of action.

The main character, Myfawny Thomas, left letters and notes for herself (her new self) to keep her functioning in her job. Because if the traitor found out that she had lost her memories and outed her, she wouldn't be able to figure out who it is and fix the organisation. Because things are happening that need fixing, and Myfawny has to keep up. It's really interesting to see how the other people reacted to Myfawny not acting exactly like she normally does, that is, meek. This new Myfawny is snarky and doesn't put up with any bullshit, and people are taken aback by her. But I really loved all the characters who reacted well to this, and hated the characters to were taken aback. I'm pretty sure O'Malley planned every bit of that.

And that part where I said Myfawny is badass? Yeah. That. She's like a mix between Rogue and Sentry and Katara, and her ability to think outside the box with her new body and mind takes her all kinds of places that the old Myfawny would never have been able to handle. I'd say that I'd love to be the Rook, but I'd be dead in an hour.

And the people, the weirdness! Every character had an interesting power, not to mention a unique personality. There was Gestalt, the person with four bodies controlled by one mind, who could kick ass and send the bodies to opposite ends of the earth doing independent tasks without breaking a sweat. There was the quietly powerful Alrich who seemed to be made completely of potential energy and did things like walking on snow all Legolas-style, and I'll admit I was a tad disappointed when I finally figured out what he was (blame popular media), but he was still awesome. Myfawny had a history with each character, and it was great to see her interacting differently with each person because of their histories, what she had read from old-Myfawny's letters, and the little she knew of them since her awakening.

A fair warning, this book has a ton of info-dumps. Now, I am not opposed to info-dumps if they can keep me interested. Mira Grant's Newsflesh Trilogy has a shit-ton of completely undisguised info-dumps that are fascinating, so I had no problem with them. The dumps in The Rook are disguised as the letters from old-Myfawny and take up a significant portion of the book, and other than my annoyance at reading pages and pages of italic text, they were just as interesting as Grant's. We find out the background of the other characters, and more about the Checquy (the supernatural CIA Myfawny works for). They serve as short stories within the main narrative. Sometimes they disrupt the pacing, but I always liked them. I may have gotten bored once or twice, but it was always short-lived. Mainly they set the scene for whatever is happening currently, and it makes it funnier or more dreadful, depending on the situation. They were great, rounded out the characters nicely, and the book wouldn't have been the same without them. Actually, it would have been pretty empty without them. There are enough action scenes throughout the book that make the info-dumps a nice breather for the reader, and they all you to process all the weird that is going on.

A small gripe: the denouement. Granted, this is a pet peeve of mine, so perhaps other readers won't have a problem with this. But after the huge climax at the end, I want that book to wrap up in five pages or less. This book had several chapters of Myfawny getting back to headquarters and tying up loose ends and diplomatic negotiations when I've already been waiting for her to collapse from exhaustion for several hours. These things need to be cleverly tied up during the climax, and it's not necessary to touch base with every significant character while setting up for the next book.

But the best part about all this? There's going to be a sequel! While I'm not entirely sure what direction he is going to go in, I am really super freaking excited. I am so reading that book. And buying this book, so I can read it again. Daniel O'Malley, you have one lifetime reader right here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Draft 1: August 2012

Sometimes, I just want to get online and bitch. Other times, I actually think I'm doing ok. Sometimes I don't want to talk about writing at all. Now that I've finally got my ass moving and working on Marshmallow's story, I can finally give you updates! Instead of flooding my blog with meaningless posts, I've put them all here, and kept it as an ever-growing draft post in Blogger to post at the end of the month. I held the posts back mainly because I knew they were going to be depressing and full of all my insecurities, and I don't want to have a depressing blog. But I am posting them because it helps me to see the insecurities of other writers, and to know that I am not the only one out there who thinks this is a horrendously depressing, wrist-slitting hobby/occupation to dream about, and that maybe I'm not crazy after all. And now, the ramblings of some crazy bitch who thinks she can write: