That blogging urge, it comes and goes. But why have a blog if I don’t actually blog? So let’s talk books, specifically books I’ve bought and read recently:
Diana Peterfreund’s “Morning Glory”: The first book I’ve bought via my Kindle! I did the Kindle sampling thing, and liked (surprise, surprise), so hit the Buy It Now button. Seconds later, the entire book was on my Kindle. So the same way I remember Catherine Asaro’s “The Ruby Dice” as being the first ebook I read, “Morning Glory” is now the first ebook I’ve downloaded wirelessly onto my reader.
I know, I’m a geek. Moving on swiftly…
It’s slightly strange reading a book knowing that it’s a novelisation – I read a scene and then wonder how it gets played out on screen. I think it’ll wear off soon, I’m only a couple of chapters in at the moment. Ms Peterfreund says on her blog that “Morning Glory” has a similar, snarky tone to her Secret Society Girl series – I’m tending to agree at the moment.
Estara asked if this was similar to her Twelve Houses fantasy books – answer is yes, IMO, though this reviewer thinks “Troubled Waters” is less action-packed. Certainly I thought this book was more akin to Twelve Houses than her previous two YA fantasy releases (“General Winston’s Daughter” and “Gateway”), which – and I’m not sure whether this is because they were specifically YA books or not – were more “issue” books to me. Don’t get me wrong – I liked them, but I felt the way the messages in the books were conveyed was just a bit too heavy-handed. Do YA books have to include a message? Discuss*.
Back to “Troubled Waters”, I tend to love elemental-type magic systems, so was fascinated by the elemental/corporeal blessings incorporated here. I’m stating my bias upfront, because I don’t know whether another reader would find the emphasis on the blessings slight overkill, but it worked for me. And it’s Shinn, so yes, there’s a rather lovely romance.
Jennie’s review @ Dear Author is pretty reflective of my thoughts, though I probably found Zoe more sympathetic from the start, and would grade the book a notch higher. I would so love to read more stories set in this world, though we may have to wait longer as I think her next project is an urban fantasy (I am very curious about how this will pan out, I suspect it will be a very good read).
Something else: In the short book intro on her site, Ms Shinn mentions her favorite scene, which was actually one that stuck in my mind – it’s interesting she says
It doesn’t do anything to advance the plot, but it’s just so sweet, and it really illustrates the power of the blessings.
Completely agree, and when reading it, I actually thought that scene would make a great short story or teaser for the book.
The worlds and writing styles are very different, but the plots are essentially similar: Young girl/boy slowly discovers his/her place in the world with the help of conveniently-placed friends and conveniently-discovered skills (albeit the Lackey story is spread over three books as opposed to the one book for Shinn). What I was pondering were characters – how Ms Shinn avoids Zoe falling into the Mary-Sue trap, whereas Ms Lackey’s Mags so obviously is one. Oh, and if you’re talking heavy-handed messages, Lackey is the writer for this.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it sounds as though I’m picking on the Lackey book, but it was a decent read, even though I really shouldn’t have bought the hardcover. I am a complete sucker for white Companions and anything Herald-related. And even the annoyance of Mags’ dialect being spelt out all the way through (“… ye’ll be wantin’ me t’ find ye a silk‘n’velvet blanket ‘cause wool just don’t show off yer coat good ‘nough” – ack) didn’t negate the secret thrill of meeting one of Vanyel’s descendants in this book.
Err okay. Must. Grow. Up.
*That was slightly tongue-in-cheek. Only if you really want to. I’m well aware this is a topic raised now and again in blogland.
My personal take? Books are like food. You have M&S Percy Pigs on one end (i.e. zero nutritional value, but you know, still good) or umm… blueberries (superfood!) at the other. I’m inclined to think YA books tend to be more heavily-clustered at the superfood end (oh, this is a bad analogy and I am really not sure where I am going), but better a good message than a bad one.