Latest Reads

Spoiler alert!

A couple weeks ago, I read Lexa Hillyer’s debut YA novel Proof of Forever, which is billed as this generation’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I found that proclamation not to be true, perhaps because Sisterhood was one of the best YA books I ever read, and I read it as a teenager. Unfortunately, I’m reading Proof of Forever as a cynical adult, so it doesn’t quite meet the standard Sisterhood set. Yes, the same theme (the power of friendship) is there, but Proof of Forever falls victim to the same clichés that abound in many recently published YA novels: the drunken party, the incredibly touching and sentimental loss of virginity (/sarcasm), the token LGBTQ characters, and finally, the death of one of the main characters à la The Fault in Our Stars. Sometimes I really wish I could meet an editor from one of the major publishing houses and ask them why they continue to publish what is essentially the same book over and over. I suppose the answer I’d receive is “because it sells,” but the cynical part of me wants to believe that it’s more than that.

Because I am suffering from a lack of A Song of Ice and Fire in my life (the books, not the TV series), I picked up a different fantasy series, which was published around the same time. Lord of the Isles is the first book in David Drake’s Isles series, and so far, it’s proving to be decent. It sure ain’t Ice and Fire, but it has its own merits. The four main characters are going on an epic quest to reach their destinies, which is perhaps the greatest and most prevalent fantasy cliché, but it’s a cliché that I love, so it’s enjoyable. The author is doing a good job of making me worry about whether the characters will reach their destination in one piece, and I’m hoping that the villains’ use of powerful magic won’t kill any of my favorite characters. I’m only about halfway through the book, so I’m not sure whether I’ll read the rest of the series, but it seems promising so far.

The Thursday Three #10

  1. The works of John O’Donohue were recommended to me by one of my blog readers, so I found Eternal Echoes (nonfiction) at the library. It’s about how our hearts are always restless and our human need to belong, and it’s written almost like poetry — I could probably write a separate blog post on the good quotes I found. I especially liked the parts about angels and fairies; it’s so important to keep some of the magic and mystery of life alive inside you, so you won’t get beaten down by the real world.
  2. Sometimes I hear a song, and it immediately makes me start thinking about one of my characters. As the song plays, I start to see a mini-movie featuring that character in my head… then I realize that the song was released in 2014, which is 12 or 13 years after the story takes place and after my character faces the particular problem that I based the “mini-movie” around. Even so, the images that I get in my head can still help to advance that character’s path through the story.
  3. This is a useful site that can help you determine exactly which genre the fantasy novel you’re reading (or writing) belongs to. The subgenres of fantasy (kinda like the subgenres of rock and metal) have always confused me, even though when I read or write, I don’t pay attention to genre. Having a list of genres (and example books in each genre) still helps to classify your own writing when you are thinking of pitching it to someone or just practicing writing synopses or query letters.

Disorganized Thoughts and Opinions on A Storm of Swords

Please don’t read this post if you want to read George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords and you don’t want spoilers. Because this post is full of spoilers.

  • All of my favorite characters survived this book!
  • I’m actually somewhat glad that Catelyn died; from the beginning of the series, I never liked her because she wrote off Jon Snow because he was a bastard. But it looks like she came back as a zombie. Ugh.
  • Shae was obviously going to betray Tyrion, and I wish he had realized that sooner, even though I think he knew it deep down.
  • I wanted Sansa to fall in love with Tyrion, but of course, things never end well for the dwarf, and Sansa is way too superficial to see past appearances.
  • Davos’s POV bored me at first, but as the book went on, I started to like him more and more.
  • I’m glad that Samwell Tarly had a POV in this book; he is one of my favorite characters even though his simpering gets annoying sometimes.
  • Brienne is awesome. I wish she had more “screen time” in the book, and I hope she has a POV in the next one.
  • I started off hating Jaime Lannister, but I actually like him now. Still hate Cersei, though.
  • I have never been happier at a fictional character’s death than I was when Joffrey died.
  • I wish Jon Snow hadn’t broken his vows with Ygritte. I sort of wanted to see him as a very pure, honorable person, which he still is, but even so…
  • It seems like Daenerys did the wrong thing by sending Jorah Mormont away. I really want to like Dany, but at the same time, she gets on my nerves because she has so much power and she’s only a kid. I guess I’m jealous because she has dragons, and I don’t. 🙂
  • I actually like Stannis Baratheon, although I’m not quite sure why. I just wish he hadn’t fallen in with Melisande. (And why does it seem like every fantasy novel has a character called Melisande?)
  • Arya is starting to get on my nerves, and I’m glad she ended up traveling with the Hound.
  • There is a lot of repetition of how ugly Tyrion is, how ugly Brienne is, and so on. We are constantly reminded of how characters look, although I still picture Sansa with blond hair rather than auburn.
  • The character I relate to most is probably Sansa. She’s a bit of an airhead and doesn’t have a ton of common sense, and she pretty much has always listened to authority figures, so much that she doesn’t seem to have a mind of her own most of the time. As much as I want to relate to one of the stronger female characters, I just can’t. If I was a character in this series, I’d be Sansa.
  • Lysa was horribly whiny. I have no idea why she loves Petyr Baelish so much… I find him creepy and gross, but I liked him more when he shoved Lysa to her death.