Tag Archives: fantasy

Reading Challenge 7: A Book by an Author You Love

Everyone has their favorite authors. Or at least, most people do.

In the past, I remember hesitating when people ask me who mine is. In class a professor would go around the room and ask and I’d find myself frantically searching for someone in my mind. Most often I just settled with Rowling. I got a scathing look or two, but to be honest I didn’t know what else to say. Truth be told, I feel like in order to name someone as your favorite author you need to have read more than one book by that person. And I skip around enough that I don’t usually return to the same person twice, not since I was a kid at least.

However, after this past year I have an answer. Still not what I’d love to give sitting in an English class, but I nonetheless have fallen head over heels for Rainbow Rowell’s writing.

Anyone following my blog probably already has heard me rave about Fangirl, and maybe Eleanor and Park as well. Now, as an English major I cannot sit here and say “oh she’s the most fantastic writer on the face of the planet, and her prose are just fantastic!” because it wouldn’t be the least bit true. But I can say I love her stories, and that her characters never fail to connect with me, and that I have always enjoyed popping open one of her easy to read books after a long period of boring or challenging classics.

So, it came as no surprise that when Rowell announced she was writing a companion book to Fangirl, I definitely had a bit of a well…fangirl moment.

In Fangirl Rowell creates a fictional fantasy series. I know that sounds redundant but it is. If you try to find Simon Snow and the Mage’s Heir on Goodreads or at your library it won’t be there. Nor will any Google searches of Gemma T. Leslie get you anywhere. Essentially instead of picking an actual fandom, Rowell created her own…or perhaps better stated she parodied one of the most famous. In Carry On, Rowell explores the fictional fictional world she created by telling her own version of Simon Snow’s story.

Simon has been having a rough year. He just returned to Watford School of Magicks after a long summer. He’s still trying to figure out how to deal with the Insidious Humdrum, a strange being who is stealing magic from his world and happens to look just like his eleven year old self. To make matters worse, he and his girlfriend have just broken things off, and his nemesis and roommate Baz is missing. Simon is thoroughly convinced Baz is just trying to mess with him, but with questions about the Humdrum weighing on him and plenty of classes, he doesn’t have much time to think about it. That is until a ghostly visitor appears with a quest that will alter his final year at Watford.

While I initially started this book thinking “ooh a sort of take off on Harry Potter how delightful!” I quickly found that this story is really its own. Sure, a reference to the Normals or to Ebb the goatherd who’s never left Watford since graduating or to Simon’s status as Chosen One due to a prophecy might cause a few chuckles. But the story quickly diverges into its own set of adventures and questions.

I would again by no means classify Carry On as complex, but it’s enjoyable. I loved the variety of characters and thought it was particularly inspiring how Rowell creates magic based entirely on the words you choose. As a writer I cannot help but love the thought that words have power and that we give them power by how we use them. Words are a kind of magic whether we’re mages like Simon or simply Normal, there’s no denying that what comes on a page or out of our mouths can change the world.

I’d definitely advise Fangirl lovers to pick this one up if you liked the excerpts of Leslie and Cath’s writing. It was a bit different from Rowell’s other stories, though as I think most of the summaries say it’s every bit as romantic and heartwarming.

Who is your favorite author or at least an author you love? Have you ever felt embarrassed about your taste in reading? Do you think words have power? There’s a few to start with but feel free to add your own questions or comments.

Here is a book challenge I did not make. Click it to find the original source.

Here is a book challenge I did not make. Click it to find the original source.

Past Entries:

1. A Book You Own But Haven’t Read

2. A Book that was Made into a Movie

3. A Book You Pick Soley for the Cover

4. A Book Your Friend Loves

5. A Book Published this Year

9. A Book with a Color in the Title

15. A Book of Poems

17. A Book that Will Make You Smarter

22. A Book with Pictures

24. A Book You Loved…Read it Again!

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Braving a New Frontier- First Page Review

I’ve decided to try this, partly as a means of getting out a post this week, partly as a means of putting more writing out as always. So let me introduce an idea I found searching through other blogs called First Page Review:

“The idea is simple. Sign the linky list, linking your own blog post that contains the first page–NO MORE than the first 1,000 words of a WIP, a manuscript, or a novel, published or unpublished.
This month-long blog hop is meant to answer one simple question for each participant. After reading your first 1,000 word, would a person continue reading it?”

I had trouble deciding which work to choose from, but I went back to my classic first work, one of my earlier novels I finished, a kind of pseudo-biograpy fantasy romance loosely entitled Tale of the Rose. So I present the Prologue and a brief bit of first chapter. Read, give me thoughts, and of course post your own responses to First Page Review if you so desire. I look forward to reading other people’s works.

Untitled

Prologue

The duke waited rather impatiently outside of the room. He fiddled with his hands, playing with his fingers, as he attempted to take his mind off of things. The stillness of the hallway was haunting, and it reminded him all the more of the fear that he was feeling. His heart pounded softly, and he swallowed. For a moment he closed his eyes, breathed a deep breath of the musty air, and slowly settled down. The world around him came to a gradual stop. He was just regaining his confidence when the door opened.

“My lord.” He spun to see who was addressing him. The doctor.

“How is she?”

The man’s face was grim. He closed the door softly and came to where the duke was standing.

“Not well, I’m afraid.”

A lump settled in the duke’s throat. “What does that mean?”

“She…is…well…”

“Answers man! Give me answers!” the duke shouted.

“She will not live to see tomorrow,” the doctor whispered before lowering his head, almost in a feeling of shame.

The duke stood there, his whole world crumbling around him. He felt as though his heart was being taken from his chest. His body shook as the sense of complete helplessness set in.

“There’s nothing you can do?”

“Nothing,” the doctor answered, shaking his head. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” the duke whispered as tears began to stream down his cheeks. He turned his head away feeling humiliated by his sudden overwhelming emotions. The darkness of his mood made the day blacker than before. This was a day of ending, of loss, of sorrow, of pain and above all of death.

“May I see her,” the duke mumbled.

“Of course. She would be delighted, I’m sure.”

Hesitantly he opened the door and peered in. His eyes adjusted to the brightness of the open windows. He blinked several times, trying to make out what he most wanted to see against the beautiful blue light of the sky. There upon the bed lay a woman, pale against the light sheets. However, as he stared at the obvious death that was already taking hold, her eyes sparkled.

“It’s good to see you,” she whispered.

“I wanted to come sooner, but they wouldn’t let me.”

“You needed to calm down,” she said. She smiled at him and that one motion brushed his worries away with a carelessness that startled him. Her beauty even in death was magnificent.

“You’ll get better…” he tried.

“No,” she said softly. “You know as well as I what the doctor has said. It’s my time.”

“I don’t want to lose you,” he whispered.

“But you won’t,” she said. Her eyes glittered again and he examined her, thinking on how much she had changed, and yet how she had remained the same throughout her life. Her beautiful hair was now turning silver, her face wrinkling from so many smiles, and through everything hope still shone from within her.

“You won’t lose me,” she repeated. “This is only the end of one adventure and the beginning of another.”

He opened his mouth to protest but she cut him off.

“Now, now, none of your stubbornness,” she clucked. “Now, do come be the dashing knight I know you are and sit beside me. I need you to escort me home for the final time.”

He shook his head, still trying to make sense of everything that was happening. Slowly he sat down beside her and took her lined hand. For the first time he noticed that her left arm was wrapped firmly around a book.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Only a story. I just finished it today,” she whispered.

“Was it good?”

“It was excellent,” she laughed. “The most wonderful I’ve ever heard. Please, won’t you read it to me…so I can hear it again.”

He took the volume in his hands and slowly leafed through the pages. They were all handwritten. His eyebrows raised themselves and yet he obeyed her wishes and flipped to the first page.

“Where do you want me to start?” he asked.

“The beginning,” she whispered, settling back among the goose feather pillows.

Obediently he thumbed at the pages, skimming the first lines he was to read. With a soft exhale he cleared his throat and began to speak. Words filled the small chamber, causing a smile to flutter across the woman’s lips. Paragraphs of beautiful words flowed into the world. Lines and lines of writing came to life before the two of them. And this is the story that was woven.

Chapter 1

I stood at the window, gazing out upon the dark scene that filled my view. My brown eyes tried to take everything in, and yet they seemed unable to do so. The room lit quickly as a bolt of lightening hurtled to the earth before disappearing in front of my innocent gaze. The rumble of deep thunder echoed within the stone walls of my home, and the sound of it was that of an army storming a castle. Chaos erupted before me, and I stood there, a small speck in a vast and terrifying world.

Another flash erupted, and I trembled, feeling awed by the power of it all. Such power, such terrible and horrible power. It never occurred to me that the flash of lightening, the rumble of thunder, and the awesome terror of a storm could all be representations of the world. All pieces portraying the chaos and awful horror that was so present in every city. I was only a child, a four-year-old child, and this before me was the world I would soon know, but would never fully understand.

A crash echoed behind me. I thought it only thunder until I felt hands rest upon my small shoulders and realized the door had opened.

“Katherine,” my father murmured. I glanced up, craning my neck backwards to try to get a glimpse of the six-foot tall man who cherished me more than anyone else.

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1000 words are up! Hope you found it enjoyable or at least interesting. Post some constructive criticism if you’d like to!

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