Nevernight

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff was such a good book that I ended up writing an essay on it for my second-year creative writing class. A quick look at the blurb and you immediately think “super cliche” (female assassin bent on vengeance, school of assassins, etc) and I thought this too when I first saw it, but I picked it up anyway because I loved the cover.

Honestly, my essay was probably garbage (it hasn’t been graded yet…) but I went into a lot of detail about the characterization of Mia Corvere, the protagonist, and her experiences. I thought the detail that went into her development was astounding (even more so that I was able to identify a lot of it) and that’s what sparked the idea for my essay.

I’d suggest the book to anyone who likes fantasy, specifically in the young adult/ grimdark subgenre. For most advanced readers you might see a lot of the plot mechanics clicking about as the story progresses, but I found the writing itself very good, so it’s still worth the read.

I hope someone else decides to pick it up. It’s definitely one of my new favourites. šŸ™‚

~Erynn

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The Lesser Blessed

I’ve actually been dreading writing this post… because I really don’t know what to say about this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I thought it was kind of interesting, but I guess I can only expend so much energy thinking about a book before I just run out of ways to say things.

The Lesser Blessed is the last book I read for my creative writing class this semester. It took place in Northern Canada, I don’t remember the exact location, but somewhere in the Yukon. So, if you know anything about the Yukon, and anything about YA novels, you probably already have an idea of where this is going.

Rebellious children, drugs, lots of sex, fighting, bad parenting, and the like. Personally, I knew about all this being an issue in the North because that’s where my boyfriend and his family are from. But while they’ve experienced it first hand, I haven’t, so I still thought it was amazing to see knowledge like that confirmed through completely unrelated means.

Otherwise, I guess the book was pretty typical. A boy tries to figure out his life, as a young teen, in high school. The only real difference compared to other stories I’ve read is that the protagonist is Native American, and so many aspects of that are incorporated into the narrative through the language used by the character, as well as by their experiences.

~Erynn

 

Eleanor & Park

This was the second book I finished this semester for one of my creative writing classes. It’s probably my favourite of all the required readings I’ve had so far.

I read it for my second-year class, so it’s YA, but I actually thought it was pretty good. The story takes place sometime in the 80s, the protagonists being 15 or so. The girl, Eleanor, is pretty poor and also the weird new kid in town that nobody likes just because she’s new and weird.

She was pretty weird, honestly, but that was part of her charm. I really liked her character because she ends up being one of those people who isn’t weird on purpose, she’s just weird because of her circumstances, and I guess it kinda resonated with me. I’ve felt like that most of my life.

Anyway, like most YA, it’s a love story, and I thought the dynamics of that was pretty good. There was no love-at-first-sight nonsense, the girl isn’t some “secretly super attractive girl with low self-esteem” and no “super ridiculously hot dude who has a thousand different chicks all over him but he picks the weird girl for god knows why” thing in it, which I really really hate. Eleanor is some chubby redhead and Park is a short, rather feminine Asian. That might be as far as you get from that cliche.

My favourite thing about this, though, was that the two started feeling something for each other without speaking more than a couple of words to one another. And they basically fall in love over comic books. I thought that was super cute. I even recognized a bunch of the stuff they referenced! šŸ™‚

I was a bit upset about the ending, though. It was realistic, but I found it a bit rushed, and that kind of ruined– for me, at least– what could have been an excellent ending. Oh well. There aren’t any perfect books, anyway.

~Erynn

How I Live Now

How I Live NowĀ by Meg Rosoff was the first novel I completed for one of my creative writing classes this semester. It’s a second-year course that switches the genre it focuses on ever time it runs. This time it’s teaching YA, which I guess is kind of convenient because one of my primary projects at the moment happens to be YA.

Anyway, onto the book. I really didn’t think I would like it at firstĀ because at the start the protagonist came off as a little annoying and the novel isn’t structured traditionally, so it was a little difficult to read at first. There’s no actual dialogue, it’s all just a part of the narrative– although it’s not too difficult to tell who’s talking once you get used to it.

I guess I didn’t really like the first half of the book because it was 90% characterization, and since I didn’t really like the protagonist I didn’t care about any of her relationships with other characters. But once the plot started moving, the protagonist changed, she became more tolerable, and eventually, I became interested in her and the overall story. It was an unusual experience because most of the time when I don’t like a character up front, I don’t end up liking them at all.

The book was alright overall. It was a short read and I think with the help of the course I did learn a little from it, so that’s a plus. šŸ™‚

~Erynn

The Mortal Instruments

I finally got around to finishing this series at the end of 2016. I was pretty happy with this since the series had been going on for years, and I think I mostly lost interest a couple books before the last one because I started forgetting what happened earlier on in the series. Unfortunately, that’s just what happens when a series is long and you’re unwilling to go back and re-read the previous books.

I’m gonna try and make this short and sweet because my last couple of posts have been pretty long and I need a little brain break.

Alright, so… I thought the series was gonna end a couple books ago and I guess while it didn’t have to, that’s probably part of what lost me. I don’t remember what happened at all in the last couple books (besides the last one, which coincidentally I have read most recently), and while I think several cop-outs were used in ending the book, I felt like it was rounded enough to be a satisfying conclusion to the series.

One thing I really liked, though, was how since I read another series in the same world a while before I finished this one, I recognized a couple of characters that crossed over. That was cool, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that satisfaction before.

I’ll probably get around to reading the other books written in this world as time goes on, but in the meantime, I’m glad to have the series completed so I can move onto other things.

~Erynn

 

It’s Time to Talk Projects

Some of you might recall that I mentioned some time ago that I’ve put Taichiren’s to the side for now. While putting it asideĀ isn’t a permanent decision, it had to be done in order to make room for some of the other things I’ve been working on. There are only two projects of note, but perhaps they will pique your interest.

The first project is what I refer to as ‘Desolace’, a novel that I wrote in 8th grade or so. Now that I think of it, I’m 100% sure I’ve mentioned it before, but this new version that I’m working on is a much different take on the original story.Ā This is what’s taking Taichiren’s place as my personal project.

Desolace is an adult fantasy/ science fiction novel that is written in the first person point of view, following the character Arianne. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of the first person perspective, but I’ve seen it done well often enough to give it a shot for this story. You see, Arianne isn’t your typical protagonist. She’s the main character, yes, but she isn’t a hero orĀ even an anti-hero. She’s the villain. I think risking the first person POV for this story is well worth the potential that could come out of it.

Talking about Desolace will be my focus over the next couple months, so I’ll leave it at that for now and move onto the second project I’ve been working on. I hinted about this in October last year… it’s a bit of a ‘big reveal’.

Since February last year, I’ve been working on a YA fantasy series with a partner. Isn’t that exciting?! I can’t believe I’ve managed almost a whole year without bringing it up… but, wow, the last year has been incredibly productive. Unfortunately I can’t share any details about the plot or the characters as of yet, but here’s the current status of the writing.

The first draft of the first novel was finished in mid-November, at about 99,000~ words, only aroundĀ 2,000 more than the original Taichiren’s draft. As of this week, my partner and I are sitting down to sort out the intricacies of the plot, so that I can start on the second draft of the first novel by the end of the month. I’ve done a bit of writing for the second book (about 18,000 words, give or take), but that’s been put on hold because of a variety of major plot changes that have brought on the plan to edit the first book early.

It hasn’t been decided how many books there will be yet– though right now we are thinking between 3 and 5. It will depend on how the new plot changes unfold through the first book and how much of the original book needs to be moved into the second. We also haven’t mapped out anything past where I’ve currently written to (besides several vague thoughts), so the length will depend on what unfolds before the story reaches what we perceive as the ending.

Anyway, that’s all I can share for now. I’ll write an update on the second project, which I simply refer to as ‘Drago’, when the editing for the first book beings. Until then, more posts about books, games, random thoughts, and perhaps a bit of Desolace.

~Erynn

 

Clockwork Princess

I must have bought the book whenever it came out, in 2013 or something. I swear, when I made my reading list last year, I thought I’d already read it. I had to double and triple check. It seemed that I’d bought a collecter’s first edition… but never opened it. Oops.

I finally got around to reading it last year, probably in December or so. I’d always enjoyed the shadowhunter books, even if they were very YA, there’s just something about them that appeals to me. That stands for this series as well, The Infernal Devices.

To be honest, I was lost for a little while when I started reading. It’d been a while since I read the first two books, and the opening, considering I couldn’t remember that much about the series of events that led up to the end of the second book, seemed completely unrelated to the story. Later of course, I caught on and went on my merry way to enjoyment.

Tessa, the protagonist, has always struck me as a strange character. A lot more about her history is explained in this book, which is good, but I’m finding it really difficult to pinpoint why I still feel this way, despite having finished the book. It’s not that I particularly think Tessa is a BAD character… I wouldn’t say that she’s ‘strong’, but there’s nothing wrong with that; not all females characters should be written to be feisty and independentĀ because realistically not all women are that way.

It’s very possible that I missed something in the books, or that I just don’t remember things the right way, but I guess what I’m thinking is that I find it odd that she’s so afraid to use her powers. Sure, she might not really understand it and she was forced to learn how to use them against her will, but she’s also been with the shadowhunters for some time at this point, and she quite clearly wants to help them.

Well, that’s my two cents at least. I didn’t mind too much, in the end, Ā because she ended up pulling through in an unpredictable way, even if the ending itself was what I expected. A decent read overall, I’m glad to have that series at a close so I can move onto the next one.

Have any of you read Clockwork Princess? Have any thoughts of your own to share?

~Erynn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

I really have no idea when I bought this book and its sequel, Eona. It would have to be at least two years ago now, quite some time before I moved and added them to my to-read list.

After reading hundreds of YA novels, I’ve really come to expect very little from them. Generally speaking, I find the plots boring, I don’t like the characters, and the romances more often than not annoy me. The worst part, however, is that I find a lot of the Fantasy YA I’ve read over the years are just YA with a touch of fantastical elements here and there, not really a YA story taking place in a fantasy world, like what always want to read.

Though of course Eon, like all books, had its ups and downs, I was quite pleased with the characters, the plot, and the world. I’ll start by talking a bit about the world itself, as that’s what I most often find the least pleasing about YA fantasy.

We look at the world through the eyes of Eon, who is basically a slave in a monarchical society. She has few possessions, even fewer friends, and no place in the world. Of course as her position changes, her outlook on her surroundings changes, but it’s really the evolution of that viewpoint that brings the world to life. It’s difficult to explain this without providing spoilers, unfortunately, but let me try to articulate it in a way that’s similar to what happens in the book.

Let’s say that the story begins in a small, 10×10 room. There are no windows, no doors, and no ways to speak to the outside. This is the extent on Eon’s outlook on life and knowledge about the world around her. Ā But then some time through the story, one wall to her room is knocked down. She can now move from her small 10×10 space and into another room that had been connected to hers all along. As she explores the additional space, she comes to suspect that there is much more to everything than she can see, and so she carefully goes about knocking down the other walls on her own.

Exploring the world like this– through the eyes of a character that really knows about as much about it as you do– was quite fascinating, and I feel that it really allowed the world to build up into something very rich and versatile. Even through the final pages of the book, where I had already guessed what the ending would be, I thought the world was beautiful through both description and discovery.

I’ve decided that I’ll save talk about the book’s characterization and plot for the post on the sequel, Eona, so I’m going to use the rest of this post to talk a bit about the writing itself.

In all honesty, I liked some parts of the writing, hated others. I thought the beginning was a bit slow (although it provided enough to keep me interested in learning more, albeit quite annoyed) and that there was a lot of unnecessary information thrown in here and there. In the end, however, the good outweighed the bad. I loved reading about the dragons, the magic, the characters, and the environment… I found that a lot of words were weaved together beautifully.

So that’s all for now– you’ll get the rest of my thoughts once I get to the Eona post.

Have you read Eon or plan to? What are your thoughts on the book?

~Erynn

The Heir

I read the first three books as they came out and honestly wasn’t too impressed. I mean, the writing wasn’t particularly bad and I liked the world it was set in, but I found the story unbelievable. It interested me enough to keep reading, though, so I guess it’s got that going for it.

The Heir, the fourth book in the series, takes a step back from the original characters in the first three books and gives us a new set to read about. I think the protagonist… whatever her name is… is a decent character, built better than all of the characters from the first three books. I don’t think she’s the best character, either, but it felt like she was closer to a real person than I expect to find in most YA novels.

Well, the novel itself is about the romance. I’m honestly not much of a romance reader, but I find that they’re a good break from fantasy when I need to read something different. I found the romance in this novel atypical, but in a good way. It’s a bunch of cliches mixed together to form something interesting.

Not much else to say about the novel. I’m looking forward to the next one though it unfortunately doesn’t come out until sometime next year.

~Erynn

Heir of Fire

I read the novellas that led up to this series a couple years ago before the first book came out (I believe this is the third book). I loved the characters and there were parts of the story that really made meĀ feel. You have to admire an author when they can consistently do this. It fell a bit short in the second book and that’s why it took me so long to pick this one up– but I’m glad that special little touch was back in this book.

A couple new characters are added in this book and I found myself quite liking them. The only thing IĀ reallyĀ don’t like about this is that both of them are potential love interests for the main character. There already were two love interests! I guess it’s kind of unique, though, because how many books are there with a love X instead of a love triangle? Despite this, the characters were really strong in other ways, so I can’t complain too much.

Learning more about this world’s magic was quite the experience. In the first two books it was “blocked off” in the continent the characters lived in, but in this one, Celaena has gone on a quest somewhere else that still has some use of it. The story had an interesting take on magic, something I’ve never really seen before paired with some of your typical stuff. It was neat.

I really don’t think there’s much else I can say. It was a solid addition to the series, and after the major cliffhanger that was left at the end of the second, a fair amount of answers were given without the lack of new questions. I’m looking forward to reading the next, whenever that is. šŸ™‚

Have you read Heir of Fire? What did you think?

~Erynn