Beautiful People: August 2016

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Beautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer a series of questions about one of their characters.

This month I will be focusing on Queen Cressida, the mother of my protagonist from my epic fantasy work in progress.

Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

Queen Cressida

The avatar creator used to make this image is found here: http://www.dolldivine.com/rpg-heroine-creator.php

This isn’t exactly right as in the story itself Cressida isn’t nearly this thin and the clothing designed in this fictional word would have a different cut than the one shown here, but it’s the closest I could get in an avatar generator.

Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

I can’t say that I’ve ever described Cressida’s appearance in my story itself. I don’t tend to write a lot of description, and have a tendency of focusing on personality traits when I do. That is especially true of this story since the story is told from the first person point of view of a mind reader who cares far more about people’s thought patterns than how they look. Here are snippets describing the queen’s personality:

(Note: These exerts are from an unedited draft.)

From part one:

“I stand by my mother’s side pouring her wine with eyes down-turned. It’s a struggle not to acknowledge mother’s thoughts. To pour her wine and move along. Mother is a queen. She can’t afford to associate with servants. Not even the one who happens to be her daughter.”

From part four:

“Baby, she [Cressida] has never called me that before, or at least not that I can remember. Part of me wants to say that she should be sorry. That my mother should have stood up against the persecution of Sifters and recognized me as her daughter. Queens are supposed to make the rules after all, but right now, arm in arm, it’s hard to be mad at her. I want to forgive.”

What is the first thing people might notice about them?

They’d notice that the way Cressida carries herself is imposing.

What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

Queen Cressida has a scar on her upper arm from an assassination attempt.

How tall are they? What is their build? (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

Cressida is slightly taller than average, though people in this time period are on average a little shorter than modern humans, so she might be short by modern standards. Cressida is slightly overweight, but this is considered attractive in her society.

What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

Cressida has very upright posture. She almost never slouches. Cressida carries herself in a way that suggests privilege and control.

Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

I don’t think Cressida has had a day free from her usual routine since she was in her teens. She’d probably wear the same thing she does any other day because she’d expect to have something in need of her attention at any moment.

Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

Cressida often wears a beaded crown similar to the one pictured above.

Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

No, not to her face anyway. No one wants to bear the consequences of insulting the queen.

Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

Cressida wishes she didn’t have wrinkles. She doesn’t like the signs of age that are starting to appear on her body. If she could change anything about her appearance she would get rid of these wrinkles.

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A Torch Against the Night 4 Stars

25558608Title: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes book 2)

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher, but opinions are my own.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: *This is the second book in a series. This review will be spoiler free, but the synopsis isn’t. Those who haven’t read the first book might be interested in my review of An Ember in the Ashes.*

Lila and Elias must work together in order to free Lila’s brother from the most secure prison in the emperor. Along the way their own freedom will be threatened. They must free Lila’s brother while trying to avoid being captured or put to death themselves.

Thoughts: The second installment in the An Ember in the Ashes series proved a fast paced, engaging read.

My favorite part about this book was the author’s use of tension. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next particularly since it seems Tahir has no problem with killing characters off.

One think I would have liked to know going into this book is that this is not a finale. I heard somewhere that this series was meant to be a duology, but it is most certainly not. I ended the book very confused as to why everything felt so open ended, but learning this book is the second in a series made a lot more sense.

I still felt the magic system wasn’t fleshed out all the way, but there was more of it mentioned in this book than the first one. It was nice to see more magic in this book, and I hope there will be more of it in the books to come. The magic system doesn’t strike me as particularly original, but it’s still a change from the element based magic systems that seem to dominate recent fantasy releases.

My main gripe with this book is similar to the one I had for the first book in the series. That is to say I didn’t find the story sticking with me long after I read it. 

Rating: This is a great book for people looking for a fast-paced read or need something to get out of a reading slump, but I didn’t find it particularly memorable, so it gets 4/5.

4 blue jays

July 2016 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)

In the month of July I read three books.

Reading

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Short Synopsis: A young zombie might be the only hope left for humanity.

Thoughts: Really liked the beginning and seeing the world through Melanie’s eyes, but the second half felt too much like a traditional zombie novel to set it apart for me.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: Seventh book in the Chronicles of Nick series.

Thoughts: This series is starting to feel way too drawn out, but this book was still a quick, enjoyable read.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

19063Short Synopsis: Young girl in Nazi Germany discovers the power of words.

Thoughts: Thought this was a very good book overall. I really came to care about the characters. I had a hard time getting into the story at first, and felt death’s narration was a bit overdone at times though I liked the metaphor overall.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I wasn’t as productive with writing as I would have liked to be in the month of July, but still managed to write 10,000 words.