Going Over the Rainbow: Show and Tell

Alice talked to Bert about her feelings for Charlie. Bert informed her that Charlie’s asexual, so whilst he might be open to a romantic relationship, he’d not be likely to respond to sexual flirting. Maybe she should try another tactic to get Charlie’s attention.

Source: Going Over the Rainbow: Show and Tell

This is a reblog. If you would like to ‘Comment’ or ‘Like’ this post, please go to the original post to do so.

Some excellent resources and advice in this article to better display characters’ sexual and romantic orientations!

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Going Over the Rainbow: Show and Tell

Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

In a new series entitled Y.A. for Grownups, The Atlantic Wire posted an article exploring The Ongoing Problem of Race in YA. Like the title states, race in YA isn’t a new problem, nor is it g…

Source: Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

This is a reblog. If you would like to ‘Comment’ or ‘Like’ this post, please go to the original post to do so.

Anyone who knows me, or has read my reviews for books, knows race-diversity is a huge thing for me. While I strongly advocate for the diversity of all sects of identity, race has always been a big one for me, and it’s hard for me to explain why that is. Anyone who knows me also knows I love YA books. It’s probably the genre I mostly find myself moving towards in bookstores and libraries. I find great imagination in this genre and a richness in other genres (like fantasy and horror) within YA. So this article really hit home for me, as I’m becoming more and more aware of the sad lack of race-diversity, the lack of support for race-diverse books, and the poor attempts at race-diversity by well-meaning authors. Please take a look at this, and other resources like this, if you are a white author, or an author of colour attempting to write a character of a different race.

Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

Entry 8: Shutter (Shutter #1) [RECOMMENDED]

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Author: Courtney Alameda
Genres [according to Goodreads]:
Fiction > Young Adult
Fantasy> Paranormal > Ghosts
Fantasy> Paranormal > Vampires
Fantasy> Supernatural
Romance
Horror
Thriller
Published/Publisher:  February 3rd 2015/Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 384
Format Read In: eBook

Summary from Goodreads:

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

My Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]:

“Helsing didn’t lose to the dead. I’d never botched an exorcism. The cross might be inked under my skin, but I had the family name stamped on my soul. In my failure to stop the entity, I’d put the city at risk and let everyone down: my crew, the corps, the victims, the survivors. My family, my father.” – Micheline Helsing; Shutter, C. Alameda

What I Liked

Wow! What a book! Exciting roller coaster from start to finish. Excellent pacing, with enough momentum to keep me interested. Excellent diction, too. I feel like my vocabulary has greatly increased after reading all the wonderful descriptions of settings and scenes. Everything is so well written and easy to follow, even during action shots, and the descriptions of the wounds inflicted on the characters feels so real. Not to mention the description of the hideous monsters! Honestly, it’s the stuff of nightmares and that’s PERFECT. The use of camera shutters to capture ghostlight was very clever (though it definitely had me googling camera parts and what happens when a picture is taken)!

I also enjoyed the characters a lot. For me, the strength of a novel comes from the strength of it’s characters and how well the author can make me care about them. And I found myself caring a lot for Micheline and her boys (my heart stopped when they went looking for Oliver and found him possessed). It was really heart-wrenching to hear about her past and how it had effected her and her father, and it was nice to see some focus on the strong platonic love she had for Oliver and Jude and not just on her romantic feelings with Ryder as well as, of course, her familial love for her brothers and mother. I like seeing the day saved through matters other than ‘true love’.

It was interesting to see the protagonists fail so much during a novel, when authors tend to have them fail once, spectacularly, before having them win, but it isn’t until the last part of the book that Micheline even makes the right choice, which is a great way of keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The ending was really great, too! Having Micheline’s beloved mother be the weapon for the main villain, and a terrifyingly real weapon at that, was pretty nerve-wrecking to me, with the previous chapters filled with loving memories of their time together when her mother, and brothers, was alive. Way to play with my emotions, Alameda! And I really liked Luca’s handmaidens; not quite sure why though (maybe ’cause they reminded me of the nurses from Silent Hill???).

The world-building was great and very intricate without loading up so many details. At times I was quite lost when the different entities and technologies were explained, but I could appreciate the complexity of the world of Helsing Corps nonetheless. I haven’t read Dracula (it’s on my list) but I am a sucker for the tellings of the descendants of the legendary vampire hunter, so that definitely kept my attention, especially when we also get to focus on the descendants of the Harker’s and Stoker (I really liked the concept of Stoker not only being the author but also being a member of Helsing’s original troupe).

What I Didn’t Like

I’m about to start nitpicking, folks. Not a huge fan of the “badass gunslinger girl hates girly things and criticizes/is baffled by said girly things” trope because it’s rather boring, though it’s at least not riddled across the book. Then again, not many named female characters to begin with, who actually engage in the action, for Micheline to huff at. Didn’t totally care about the romance or how ~forbidden~ it was. Also, getting real tired of PoC being called exotic and compared to food, and of white characters wishing they had the ~pretty~ features of their PoC companions; unfortunately, diversity in the books lacks substantially (only two are named: Ryder and Bianca). It doesn’t appear anyone is LGBT+ either, or diverts away from The Usual features.

What I Hope to See in the Coming Books in the Series

I’m not sure if there will be a sequel though it’s been hinted in the book, but if there is one, I’d like to see more of Bianca (who is effortlessly set up to be a strong and intelligent fighter in the short slips of her we see) and her relationship with Jude (it’s becoming a thing of mine to adore side pairings rather than the main pairings, which is introducing me to a world of pain). I hope we get to see more of the world outside of America and what the other sections are like, and we get to know more about the Drakes. Of course, more diversity wouldn’t hurt, and learning more about Luca, where he came from, if he’s really Dracula and more about this Draconic cult.

RATING: 4/5

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Entry 8: Shutter (Shutter #1) [RECOMMENDED]

Entry 7: Slags and Embers (The Soulscape Code #1)

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Author:  Brian Lindow
Genres [according to Goodreads]:
Fiction > Fantasy
Published/Publisher: July 4th 2015/CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 446
Format Read In: Paper back

Summary from Goodreads:

Think Avengers + Inception colliding in Assassin’s Creed with a Narnian glaze and you’ve just about got it…

What if you discovered a metaphysical realm inside you — much like the physical world — where everything you did transformed the real world around you in real time? In the supernatural world of Cupél, this realm — called The Soulscape — is a powerful reality that has given rise to Twinmark Abilities, Soulstone Engineering, and Blood Alchemy.

700 years ago, three men sold their souls for a throne, becoming neither dead nor alive. Heroes have risen, armies have assembled, and nations have combined to destroy them. All have failed. Those who brought light, life and truth into the world – Forges – have been hunted into hiding or extinction by those who bring darkness, death and deceit – Rifters – and now the Immortals are bored. Dividing the world, the Immortals use their subjects as pawns in chaotic games, but a single event has threatened their rule.

Four young renegades have chosen to stand against them.

Garyk
A resurrected assassin with a new mind and old reflexes, who’s past may kill him before he eliminates his target.

Sarai
A caged princess bent on escaping the lies in which her parents have swaddled her, but the truth she seeks is not the truth she wants.

Rase
A cunning spy who believes he knows how to end the Immortals, but his desire to replace them blinds him to what it may cost.

Daeden
A peaceful blacksmith turned bounty hunter to unravel the life of the very Immortal he works for.

In this decaying world, their collision could have only been orchestrated by gods or demons and their success will require them to go deeper inside themselves than they have ever gone before.

My Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]:

What I Liked

The world building, while still utterly confusing to me, was pretty incredible, and one of the most intricate I’ve seen in awhile from a fantasy. The world they live in is so vast and complicated, and the rules are so well thought-out; it’s very evident what kind of effort and care Lindow put into his work. He was also kind enough to put more explanation at the back of the book, but try as a might, I just couldn’t wrap my head around all the rules (I guess that’s what I get for reading a book so slowly). This, though, did not stop me from appreciating the depth of the world and how much the author wanted to convey this world to his audience. The characters were greatly diverse personality-wise, and the descriptions of the settings were very intricate and detailed. I thought the whole time that Rase would be among the heroes so imagine my (pleasant) surprise when he takes on (at least from what I can tell) the main antagonist against the protagonists. I wonder if he’ll become an anti-hero (though I’m not sure how I’ll forgive him for killing Timo!) since he’s been chosen. I think Daeden is my favourite so far, and Wink is so cute!

What I Didn’t Like

I felt like the dialogue most of the time was awkward; I just couldn’t believe the words, however emotional they were, coming out of the characters mouths. Everything seemed to be overly dramatic all the time and it lost is vigor very early on. Also I felt like everyone cried a little too much? Or like, they cried during moments that didn’t make sense. I’m forever bothered by the fridging trope so having Rachel die for Garyk’s character advancement was not all-together pleasant to me. The book moved a little slow for my taste, too. In terms of diversity, other than Daeden and Cassie being PoC and Cis being mixed race, there wasn’t much other than The Typical, which is not a huge clip for me as this is only the first book in the series, and thus, it’s hard for me to poke at this issue until the whole series is released. The only discrimination featured was that against slaves.

What I Hope to See in the Future

I can’t wait for the four characters to really meet up and to see how their chemistry builds. There were a few women, though only Sarai got some real action; her mother, a powerful Immortal, was killed (even the Shadow Master was allowed to live in the end), Rachel was fridged, as was Tam and Celeste, and Cassie and Sis were used as bargaining chips. We got a whiff of some interesting femmes–Neva and Alyxx—so I’d like to explore them, and since this is only the first book, I hope Lindow fleshes out Cassie more, especially, as an emotionally strong character (no need for a sword and fighting skills to be tough) and less as a piece of Daeden’s development. More diversity, as usual, and more explanation of the world that they live in and this other world mentioned right at the end, this other realm of Illander.

My Rating: 3/5

 

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Entry 7: Slags and Embers (The Soulscape Code #1)