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Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Mini Reviews: Shadow and Bone

Another week, another Monday.

Next on Monday's chopping block? Shadow and Bone.

This book was actually the one who inspired me to write my post about World Building. Cripes, the world building and magic system SUCKS in this book.

Why? It has no flaws! Not even joking, the MC, Alina, actually BECOMES beautiful because she accepts her powers.

Oh right, the Grisha, ALL ARE BEAUTIFUL. There are even Grisha who have powers that can make OTHERS beautuful. It is even all the MC talks about. How everyone is beautiful. Except her. She's plain and a stick.

Inherently, I have no issue with this, but there needs something to balance it out. Maybe, Grisha look pretty but eventually become crazy? Maybe, I don't know, if not trained properly, Grisha are a danger to themselves? Anything? Bueller?

As it stands, Grisha are boring. They have special powers, they are beautiful, they are held in high regard in their country. The MC, has the rarest power of them all! Why should I root for them? Why should I worry something bad will happen to them? As far as I could see, the Grisha don't have any obstacles. Sure, there was a mention that guns and evolving technology was making them obsolete, but I never actually SAW that. Nothing from non-Grisha talking about how much better guns/rifles/maps/boats/whatever are than Grisha. The one mention came from the head Grisha, who is suppose to be CRAZY.

So, yeah. World Building: More important than once thought.

Speaking of prettyness, Alina talking about how pretty the Grisha, or palaces, or what-her-face, is. We don't see any training, it's all skipped until the GREAT EPHIPHANY (which I will bitch about in a second). How do Grisha train? I don't even understand how ALINA trains. It seems like all Bagha, her trainer, does is repeatedly tell her to reach inside and get in touch with her power. Um. Some training. No wonder she needed to have an ephihany.

Oh, the great ephiphany. For starters, Alina apparently NEVER KNEW she had this great power. NEVER. EVER. EVER. Didn't know she was Grisha until she exploded saving her best friend. Until the ephiphany reminded her that, oh right, she hid her powers as a kid because she wanted to stay with her friend.

HOW DO YOU FORGET SOMETHING LIKE THAT??????

I wouldn't think having Grisha powers would be something one would forget! Why did the Bardugo go with the 'I diidn't know I had powers' route?? Having Alina afraid of being found out or something would make more sense! Is Alina brain dead? How does she forget magic running through her? How did a child keep such control? How did she not have ANY accidents? THIS IS WHY WORLD BUILDING IS IMPORTANT.

*HEADDESK*

Opinion: Did I not get the memo that world building is not important or something?

Recommendation: Buy something else.

Next week: Something I actually liked, Graceling!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Mini Reviews: Roar and Liv

Aaannnnddd ANOTHER MINI REVIEW.

God I hope people think I'm funny. It's not like I put any real work into these things.

Right, Roar and Liv. Another in the long line of the new trend of writing background stories of characters we the readers don't really care about. Thanks, Meyer

I don't know why I wasted my $1.99 on this. UNLESS I FOUND THE SECRET WHY WRITERS ARE ALL POOR. At least decent ones.

Wait, review. I digress.

Roar and Liv is told in first person. WHICH CREATES INSTANT HATE. Sorry, I have yet to find a first person book that I liked. Personal opinion.

Anyways, it's told from the titular character, Roar. This time around, Roar actually played a good sized role in Under the Never Sky and he was even kind of likable. As least I liked him. Though, I always tend to like the wrong characters (LOOKING AT YOU, DARKLING).

That said, I don't know who was speaking in the short story, but I did not get vibe it was Roar, to be honest. In the main book, he seemed more goofy and playful, the supposed opposite to the MMC, Peregrine. Yeah, the voice in the short story did not match the character in the main story for me. SS voice was more soft and squishy and melodramatic. Almost like...*drumroll* a sheltered girl! Not a guy who has lived in a dying world hiding from deadly storms all his life. He spent more time bitching about losing Liv than...I don't know...coming up with a plan to solve the problem.

Serious, the first half was about about how he loved Liv (and despite the title, we don't actually get any real insight on her) and spent the second half whining about her being sold off.

Yet again, I'm not learning anything new with this story. During Under the Never Sky, I never gave thought about Roar and Liv's relationship. In actuality, UtNS had better short story material, such as HOW THE FMC, ARIA'S, MOTHER DIED. At least that story would have had tension, mystery, and death. Interesting stuff.

I know this is YA and everything, but why do all YA stories eventually fall victim to Romance? Nothing wrong with Romance in of itself, but it just seems like all the YA stories I've read eventually push aside interesting aspects for a silly romance. Really, I think the story of how the MC's mother died would have been more interesting and beneficial for the overall story than, yet again, more romance. Did she died a heroic death? A cowardly one? Anything? Bueller?

*sigh* Guess I'll just have to learn to deal with it.

Opinion: GAH, CAN I GET A SHORT STORY OF SOMEONE DYING???

Recommendation: If you like Romance, go ahead. Just, don't expect Roar to have the same voice as he did in UtNS.

Next Week: Haven't decided. Maybe Graceling, maybe Shadow and Bone. I have a bone (LOL) to pick with the latter...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Mini-Reviews: Isolation

First up!

Isolation by Dan Wells.

Okay, I'll admit, I don't understand the point to this book. I actually really liked Partials, the original story, so much that I'm counting down the days until the sequel.

You see, the story revolves around Huron, a character we barely met in Partials. I jumped between the two books pretty quickly so I still remembered her, though had I taken more time in between, I doubt I would have.

Honestly, I didn't learn anything. Everything about it could have been learned through the main series, maybe via Samm or a newly introduced Partial. An entire 75 page ebook? Uh, no.

I mean, I understand the point to these short stories/novellas more money, damn it to give the reader insight into the world. I just don't think Isolation worked on that account.

Serious, it's all about Huron infiltrating the Chinese Military with intermittent chapters of learning how she was created. Why not use Samm, who was actually a major character? In both Partials and the upcoming sequel, Fragments? I probably would have gleaned the same amount of information.

Opinion: Eh, brought nothing new I couldn't have learned from the main series, if done well.

Recommendation: Save your two bucks for Partials or Fragments.

Next week: Roar and Liv, a short story for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

What? I'm keeping small!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

World Building: The Forgotten Aspect?

Okay, after reading some books within the Speculative Fiction genres, I am left wondering...

...What happened to World Building?

You see, I am a major World Building fanatic. I love WoBu. The book could have a dull premise, a protagonist I want to strangle, an antagonist who makes me rolls my eyes, and the most chemistry lacking love interest in the history of love interests, but got freaking amazing world building that makes me drool at the idea of living in the world? You can tattoo 'FAN' to my forehead. (Just, keep me far away from your annoying as hell protag.)

I'm starting to believe WoBu is becoming the forgotten step child in a lot of stories. There have been a growing number of stories where WoBu is either supremely glossed over or is just executed horribly.

Writers seem to forget that the key to world building is BALANCE. For every awesome pleasentry there needs to be a major downfall. This is what makes a world come alive, and if a world can come alive, I truely believe lots of other aspects will naturally follow.

I've noticed a big complaint in Dystopia lately (other than it's more crowded than the Stanley Cup Final game with a Canadian team in it.) is that a lot of these authors aren't taking time to really develop their worlds. They are forgetting what makes the genre is the rules and ground work of a fallen/broken/overly controlled society, not that the protagonist(s) only feel that way.

I really believe WoBu can make a stroy transcend. I've never read LOTR, but I can basically explain how the world works. Any decent HP reader can name a half dozen flaws in the magic system (I challenge SC to name 100). It can be fun to see the contraints of the world work against a character or work with them. To see the world control and move the plot just as much as the protagonist or antagonist. To see fans talk and dream about walking along the grasses and breath the air of the world, not to meet the characters, but because the world is so alive, the door to it lies just beyond their eyelids.

That is what I crave.

So, how come so many authors skipping over this aspect? Is it time contraints? Lack of talent? Lack of knowledge? Or am I really becoming alone in my belief of the power WoBu can bring to a dull and overused premise?

Maybe I just need to still trudge to find that story that will have the WoBu that will blow me out of the water or maybe I need to lower my expectations.

Or maybe, just maybe, that world I'm craving is at the end of my own pentip.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Full Requests, Reviews, amongst other things....

I'm back!

...I guess.

God, I'm so horrible with this blogging think. I'll admit, I'm horribly boring. My life really consists of doctor appointment and such. Well, my extended family and boyfriend's family are pretty dramatic but out of respect, I don't want to rag on them on the internet.


My in-laws are fucking weird though.

Okay, list time!

1) I GOT A FULL REQUEST, BITCHES. Like, January 11th I got it. I know, nearly three weeks and I mention it here now. I'm a bit slow on this stuff. Damn it, I want March to goddamn well come already.

2) I STARTED WRITING SEQUEL AGAIN. After leeching two chapters from it for the first book's ending. Really hurt my word count (which wasn't much to begin with) but I'm slowly inching back from the hole. God, I'm screwed if the first on gets picked up.

2.5) I'm watching Bridezillas right now. I don't know why. These women are the most spoiled bitches ever. I think I have train wreck syndrome.

3) I have decided I'm going to start something new: Monday Mini-Reviews.

Going to be exactly what they sound like. Mini Reviews of books on Mondays. I'm not going to go super in depth but I'm going more to be silly and amusing. So yes, predict bitching. Sometimes off track. Hopefully I'll come across as funny. Or something.

I do have a little list of books I've read and wanted to review. First on the chopping block?

Isolation by Dan Wells, short story prequel to Partials

Yeah, I'm starting small. So shoot me.

Well, that is all for now. See you all Monday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Querying Hiatus

Yes, I am joining everyone in the big December Hiatus. What can I say? Most agents are taking holiday!

So, instead, I'm taking my time to scrub my manuscript to perfection, with the help of my new CP. Hopefully by January, Shadow's Dawn will be in a better place than before (and maybe I'll wrangle an agent! HA probably not.).

Anyone else taking a hiatus this holiday season? What do you do instead?