Tag Archives: book

Stormdancer

pressStormdancerUSI recently read a book called Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. It caught my attention because it’s Japanese steampunk and what could be more glorious than Japanese steampunk?—I mean seriously!

After reading it I have to give it 3 out of 5 stars. I liked it a lot, but there were elements that stopped me from liking it as much as I hoped.

Setting: The setting was fantastic! There’s rich, colorful world building, it’s something you can really sink your teeth into. The story is set in the Shima Isles, which would likely translate to Feudal Japan in the real world. But Shima has airships, Iron Samurai, and chainsaw katana. All of which is fueled by lotus flower, a plant which poisons the land and has turned the skies red. It’s a fascinating setting and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Story: The main character is 16 year old Yukiko. Her father is Masaru, the Black Fox, the Shogun’s Master Hunter. They are sent on a mission to capture a Griffin—a creature of legend, a Thunder Tiger, that is said to be extinct—for the Shogun. Failure means death.

     To everyone’s surprise they find a griffin in the heart of a storm and manage to capture it. Masaru clips its wings to control the beast, but soon after the airship is torn apart by the storm. The crew abandons ship, but Yukiko can’t allow the Thunder Tiger to die like this. They end up stranded in the wilderness. Yukiko has an ability called the Kenning, which allows her to touch the mind’s of animals. She discovers that the Thunder Tiger has a very unique mind. Yukiko and the Thunder Tiger are forced to form an unlikely alliance in order to survive.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in a story full of corruption and intrigue.

Characters: I liked the characters. Yukiko’s character is forced to be the responsible one in her family, her father is a lotus fiend and makes a habit of smoking and drinking himself into stupor. Her relationship with her father is complex and interesting. She’s relatable and has strong potential. Yet I wasn’t entirely satisfied with her character arc. I didn’t feel like she did enough on her own, it seemed like she was always getting help from someone else and I wanted to see her stand on her own more.

There’s a cast of fascinating characters, many I became quite fond of, sadly most of them didn’t get as much page time as I would have liked.

Style: The author likes to paint a picture for the reader, sometimes this is a far more vivid picture than is necessary. The descriptions are often weighed down by elaborate metaphors and similes. While many of these helped add to the atmosphere of the setting, it bogged down the writing in places. The author also did a fair amount of character hopping. This doesn’t bother me as long as the changes are clearly marked, but there were times when I wasn’t sure who’s mind I was reading from. My final peeve with the writing was that during intense action sequences the author switched from third person past tense, to present tense, which was obviously an attempt to make the action more immediate, but I found it jarring and annoying.

Conclusion: I loved the setting and enjoyed the book, but not as much as I hoped. I have started reading the sequel and so far I’m enjoying it more than the first and I’m hopeful that it will rectify some of my complaints. Because I truly love the idea of the books and there’s so much potential there. So despite it’s imperfections I still encourage anyone who likes dark fantasy, steampunk, or Japanese culture, to give these books a shot.

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NaNoWriMo Is Coming!

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Well it’s October, AKA Panic-And-Outline-Your-Novel-Month. November is just around the corner and while the rest of the world may associate November with Thanksgiving and pumpkins and the early start of the Christmas season, we writers associate it with NaNoWrioMo (The National Novel Writing Month) where we lock ourselves away, ignore the world, and stress over our respective novel projects for a month.

I’m not too panicked this year, I’m planning on re-writing the novel I wrote last year. So I at least know what I’m going to write. Still it will be a challenge trying to figure out how to fix the numerous problems in this novel. I am excited to get back to the novel, though. I really want to get it polished.

So who else is doing NaNo this year and what are you planning to write? If anyone would like to add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy my username is Lady_Of_The _Pen it’s always fun to meet new people and encourage each other during NaNo.

Best of luck to all!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

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Two Worlds

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Life can be challenging for writers and artists because we live in two worlds. We live in reality where we work our 9 to 5 jobs, we do chores, we run errands and spend time with family and friends, we live like most everyone else. But for the creatively minded we live in a second world as well, one that often seems to conflict with reality, we live in our heads, we live with our dreams and our imagination. We want to spend our days creating new masterpieces, but most of us can’t do that. Instead we spend a majority of our time doing the things that need to get done. We must settle for doing the things we want to do in our sparse free time, a time that we divide between: errands, chores and spending time with the important people in our lives, and sometimes by the time we have free time all we want to do is sleep. It’s hard to live in two worlds at once.

Sometimes it feels as though our dreams are being weighed down by a giant millestone called Reality. Unfortunately reality isn’t going to go away. The only thing we can do is make our dreams strong enough that they can bear the weight. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s the price we pay for living in two worlds.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

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The Emperor’s Soul

 

 

I recently got a bundle of e-book for $12 and Brandon Sanderson’s novella, “The Emperor’s Soul” was among them. I highly recommend this short fantasy book. The writing is beautiful and rich, the characters are fascinating, and did I mention the magic system is brilliant?

The story’s about a woman named Shai who is a Forger, a person who rewrites an objects history in order to transform it. The story starts with her being in prison awaiting execution, having been caught trying to replace the Moon Scepter with a forgery. But then she is offered a unique challenge that might save her life; to succeed she will have to create her masterpiece.

The story is wonderful and it is written with a unique understanding of its characters. I believe it is the finest piece of writing I’ve read from Brandon Sanderson thus far–I admittedly haven’t read that many, but it is excellent.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

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Writing your Novel from the Middle

This is an amazing book that I highly recommend investing in. It discusses starting your book from a “Mirror Moment”in the middle of your story and working from there. But his strategy is very simple and can be used by all types of writers and at any stage of the process. It’s a valuable tool to help focus your story and know what it’s really about.

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Word Cloud

Word Cloud

A little teaser for Train to Everywhere.

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February 25, 2014 · 10:40 am

Editing

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I use a purple pen.

Editing has never been my strong suit. I used to just celebrate if I managed to finish something and basically felt that I was done and eagerly moved on to the next project. As I’ve gotten older, more experienced as a writer, and more serious about getting published the realization that I actually have to edit what I write has weighed heavily on me.

I hated the idea of editing. “I should be done.” “I don’t want to change things,” “I barely want to proofread,” “I just wanted to work on my next great idea.”

The problem is I was constantly chasing after my newest greatest idea and leaving a trail of decrepit stories in my wake that could be made whole with a lot of love and attention.

Over time I’ve slowly learned me lesson. I managed to get to a point where I didn’t hate editing, then almost enjoying it. This year I’ve made it my focus to edit my novel from last November instead of moving on to something else and I’m actually starting to enjoy editing. It seems so overwhelming when I first start and I can’t imagine how I’ll do it. But then I start reading and I start making little notes, which turn into longer notes and suddenly I’m cutting out scenes and putting in new ones and I’m getting excited. Excited that I’m making the story better, that I’m learning to understand my characters and their motivation and what the stories really about.

So I seem to finally be getting the editing thing, which is good, considering I’m hoping to publish this story.

I hope you guys have had a less rocky path to understanding the importance of editing. What are techniques and strategies you use in your editing? (I hope that didn’t sound too much like the teacher at the end of a children’s Bible story.)

~~Lady of the Pen~~

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