The Fantasy Tropes Tag

The Fantasy Tropes Tag

Today we explore books though fantasy tropes in this tag. I was tagged by Kelly @another book in the wall.

Bluejay Feather

“The Lost Princess”

A book/series you lost interest in halfway through

13152

Maximum Ride

I enjoyed the first three books in this series, but after that I don’t even know what happened because everything got way too wild. The characterization didn’t even seem consistent any more.

I read this in a time where I used to finish everything, so I read up what was then the last book. There is now an additional sequel that I have no interest in reading because the last couple books made me upset and not in a good way.

“The Knight in Shining Armor”

A hyped book/series you were swept up by

33555224

Arc of a Scythe (Scythe and Thunderhead)

Okay, this series isn’t that hyped, but it’s hyped enough that I feel like I can mention it. I love this series so much. This book is one of the most thought provoking YA novels I’ve read (though I think the author’s other series, The Unwind Dystology, may have this one beat). The world is just so captivating and the plot twists are so great that I just love this series.

I ultimately liked book two more than book one. For this reason, I featured the image of book two.

Read my review of book one here.

“The Wise Old Wizard”

An author who amazes you with his/her writing

28449207

Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor’s prose is beautiful and poetic. I want to quote her whole books! But, that would be plagiarism, so I can’t do it. 😦

“The Maiden in Distress”

An undervalued character you wished had a bigger storyline

17675467

Flower — Wings of Fire Series

Wings of Fire is a middle grade series told from dragons’ point of views. While I think this was the right choice for the series, I’d love for Flower, one of the dragon’s human “pets”, to have a spin-off novel devoted to her. Her point of view must be so interesting.

“The Magical Sword”

A magical item/ability you wish authors used less

Resurrection

Okay, so this applies more to certain authors who shall not be named than authors in general. In some stories, resurrection can be an effective plot device, but a lot of authors overuse it to the point of ridiculousness: I wonder if that character who has died twenty times will stay dead? Of course not!

“The Mindless Villain”

A phrase you cannot help but roll your eyes at

“S/he released a breath she didn’t know s/he was holding.”

I see this everywhere. I’ve had to put a few books down because it’s so ridiculous.

“The Untamed Dragon”

A magical creature you wish you had as a pet

22443261

Chalklings– The Rithmatist

It would be awesome to have a moving chalk drawing (AKA Chalkling) as a pet. A nice Chalkling though; I don’t want to get eaten by chalk. Thank you very much. I’m not sure having one of these is possible due to the in-universe rules, but I don’t see that there is anything explicitly against it happening either.

“The Chosen One”

A book/series you will always root for

34002132

The Stormlight Archives/ The Cosmere

I’m going to go with The Stormlight Archives or better yet The Cosmere, the massive collection of books The Stormlight Archives series is a part of, because I love them so much. Yes, I have already mentioned a book by this author in this post, but I’m mentioning his books again because why not?

Rules

  1. mention the creator: one’s peculiar.
  2. answer the questions.
  3. tag as many people as you like.
  4. Have fun.

I tag

Sumeet @Aspire to Inspire

Abbie @Boneseasonofglass

Anyone who wants to do this tag should consider themselves tagged too!

Bluejay Feather

Were any of my choices a surprise? Have you read any of these books? How would you answer these questions? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Advertisements

August, September, and October Wrap-up

August, September, and October Wrap-up
This image is derivative of “Red-blue sunset” By  Adam Ziaja  CC BY 3.0.

These past few months were eventful to say the least. So eventful that I am wrapping-up my reading experience for three months in one post. Seriously though, there is a lot to cover.

I read some books that disappointed, others I loved, went to two author events, and finished the first draft of a novel.

Bluejay Feather

Reading

I read eight books in August, September, and October.

30253091

Title

Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2)

Short Synopsis

A princess proving her worth. A captain on a dangerous assignment. A boy with enchanting music.

Thoughts

I was hoping to enjoy this book as much as the books in the original series, but like the previous book, the characters didn’t seem as memorable, and the story didn’t seem as compelling as the Seven Realms series.

 

Rating

3 blue jays

19105727

Title

Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis Trilogy #2)

Short Synopsis

Akin is the first human-alien composite male, but looks human. This makes Akin a subject of interest to the sterile human survivors of the apocalypse.

Akin must act human enough to avoid their wrath, while remembering his true nature.

Thoughts

I need to read more of Octavia E. Butler’s works. I’ve really enjoyed the two I’ve read so far and can’t wait for the others.

My main complaint is that this was too short, but that has more to do with the style of writing that was popular at the time it was written than the author. Still thought provoking even though it was published about 30 years ago.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

30063453

Title

Amid Stars and Darkness

Short Synopsis

After being kidnapped by an alien, Delaney must impersonate an alien princess or else the entire human race will be enslaved.

Thoughts

I was waiting in a long line at the library and picked this up on impulse as I walked by. I’m not sure I would have read it otherwise.

It’s too romance heavy for my taste, and I prefer more science in my science fiction, but it was otherwise a light, fun read.

If you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, this might be for you.

Rating

3 blue jays

9539

1166599

Titles

The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4), The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)

Short Synopsis

Books four and twelve of the Wheel of Time series.

Thoughts

Some of you are probably wondering if I indeed skipped from book four to book twelve in this series. The answer is that, yes, I did. At the risk of annoying some of the Wheel of Time fans, I must admit my motive for reading this series lies in the fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last few, and I want to read all his books.

I like the other Wheel of Time books, especially book four but not enough to read the eight 1,000 page long books in between books four and twelve.

Rating

4 blue jays
33198183

Title

Darkness of Dragons (Wings of Fire #10)

Short Synopsis

The final book in the second arc of the Wings of Fire series.

Thoughts

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s probably no secret that Wings of Fire was one of my favorite middle grade series. To some extent it still is. However, this book is probably one of my least favorite in the series, though my least favorite overall would have to be book nine.

It came across as a little anticlimactic to me, and I wasn’t a fan of the characters’ resolution of the conflict that’s been building in the last few books. Still, it was a fun read.

Rating

3 blue jays

22295304

Title

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)

Short Synopsis

Sierra must uncover the mystery of her family’s magical heritage before anyone else dies for it.

Thoughts

I wanted to love this book so much. The atmosphere is great. Older seems to have captured an otherwise realistic portrayal of Brooklyn with some magic thrown in.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t capture my attention enough for me to give it a higher rating.

That said, if you’re looking for a detailed, diverse portrayal of Brooklyn this may be the book for you.

Rating

3 blue jays

13612968

Title

The Silver Mask (Magisterium #4)

Short Synopsis

Fourth book in the Magisterium series.

Thoughts

Oh, look, the only book I read in October. *Hides in shame.* If this isn’t an indicator of how busy I’ve been I don’t know what is.

There is something about this series that makes me always come back to it even though there are some less than amazing elements to it. I think it’s the premise. I love “hero destined for evil” stories so much.

Rating

4 blue jays

 Author Events

In the past three months I went to events for Leigh Bardugo and R.L. Stine. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bardugo twice before, but I don’t see how I can go to too many signing events when one of my favorite authors is involved.

Even after attending her events in the past, I still learned something interesting about Bardugo’s writing style. She uses a modified version of the beat structure outlined for scripts in the book Save the Cat. She outlines most of the beats mentioned in the book, but skips a couple because she’s never sat down and read the book to find out what the others were.

Hey, when it comes to writing, the right way to write is the way that works.

R.L. Stine was a first for me. My biggest takeaways from his event were that sometimes life takes us in unexpected directions, that one of the best ways to succeed is to be open to these directions, and that ideas come from unexpected places.

If you would like to see a full post about these events, leave a comment to let me know.

Writing

Total Words Written in August
The words I wrote in August. Graph generated with NaNoWriMo goal tracker.

My months have been so distinct from one another in terms of writing progress that it almost seems wrong to sum it all up in one post like this.

August was a great writing month. During the first half of the month, I averaged around 5,000 words per day. My first draft ended up being 70,000 words. This makes it the longest first draft I’ve ever written, though still shorter than the longest thing I’ve written (90,000 words).

I took a break after finishing my first draft midway through the month, intending to get back to my writing in September.

I started some short stories in September, but the progress I made was interrupted due the disruption Hurricane Irma made to my schedule. I’ve put those short stories on hold for now.

Little writing progress was made in October until the end of the month when I began reading through the draft I finished in August.

Bluejay Feather

Have you read any of these books? If you could meet any author who would you choose? How do you go about revising your first drafts? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

January and February 2017 Wrap-up

I’ve decided these monthly wrap-ups were getting repetative, and so, for the next couple months I’m going to try posting bi-monthly wrap-ups instead.

29550388Title

Talons of Power (Wings of Fire #9)

Thoughts

I liked it, but this is my least favorite book in the series so far. My expectations were high after how much I enjoyed the spin-off novel, Darkstalker. My main issue is with Turtle as a protagonist. Every time I thought he was going to take some initiative it didn’t happen.

Rating

3 blue jays

27904311Title

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)

Thoughts

I enjoyed this, but not as much as the first book in the other series Riordan is writing at the moment. I’m curious to see how this series might interact with Rick’s other series in future books.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

9361589Title

The Night Circus

Thoughts

I liked this, but didn’t love it. It is very atmospheric with an interesting magic system, but I felt the pacing was too slow.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

Title

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay

Thoughts

I read this novella because I was reading a lot about point of view and wanted to read something written in second person (using “you” instead of “I” or “(s)he”). It’s one of the best novellas I’ve ever read. This story has great world building, characterization, and use of this notoriously difficult point of view.

Read it online here: http://uncannymagazine.com/article/youll-surely-drown-stay/

 

Rating

4.5 blue jays

Top 10 Best Books of 2016

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t usually participate, but it just so happened that the idea I had for my next blog post corresponded with their theme, so I decided to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Brook and the Bookish. Read the original version of this topic here.

These are my top ten favorite books I read this year in no particular order.

1916185226228034

The first two books in the Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin are phenomenal. The world-building is some of the best I’ve seen. I liked the first book more than the second, but the second is still good enough to make this list.

I read the first book in the middle of a massive reading slump and with a lot happening in my life, but it managed to get through to me all the same. That’s impressive.

I wouldn’t recommend this to the younger readers of this blog because this is definitely an adult book, but for everyone else reading this who likes fantasy I highly recommend picking these books up.

22299763\

I loved the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crow’s Duology, and the sequel was just as good. I loved the way the cast meshed so well with one another. One perspective never overwhelmed the others. I loved reading from each and every character. The anti-human trafficking message is great as well.

28190254

This book surprised me. I expected it to be terrible, but this prequel is better than the main series. I love the complexity of Darkstalker’s character: how I’m never sure if he is the hero or the villain. It’s something I don’t see a lot of in middle grade novel, but I do wish the author had chosen a name other than Darkstalker.

Darkstalker is a prequel to the Wings of Fire Series, but can be read as a standalone.

16299

And Then There Were None is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This book is a classic for a reason. Agatha Christie knows how to tell a mystery. My only qualms are that I had trouble connecting with the characters because of the distant narration, and I’m quite glad to have read the modified version as opposed to the original . . .

1873942628698036

These two books are very different but technically part of the same series, so I’m lumping them together.

The Bands of Mourning is the sixth book in the Mistborn Series, and you definitely need to have read from at least the first book in the spinoff, The Alloy of Law,  and preferably the original trilogy too to understand what is happening.

The Bands of Mourning has a different tone from the previous books in the series with more focus on discovery, but was still excellent.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella that it’s impossible to say anything about without spoilers except that “There is always another secret,” and you need to have read at least the first three Mistborn books before this one, and preferably most of the books in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe too. I highly recommend Mistborn: Secret History to fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, but no one else because you will be too confused.

23299512

This Savage Song kept me up late into the night, and I read it twice: once in physical form and once in audio because I liked it so much. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of next year.

I love August’s internal struggle as a monster who wanted to be human, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

26836910

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not asked to put it on this list. Opinions are my own. 

The Diabolic had great timing for me. It’s the book that marked an end to the reading slump I mentioned earlier. It also contains some of my favorite tropes. I love space operas and characters from one social group masquerading as a character from another social group.

18966806

I love Morning Star for similar reasons to the book above as it contains similar reasons to the book I mentioned above as it is also sci-fi and contains a character from one group masquerading as a person from another group.

This is the only book on this list I went to the book store to buy because I couldn’t wait the amount of time it would take for shipping to get this book. I was not disappointed.

August 2016 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)

August started with a reading slump. Thankfully, I got out of it during the second half of the month and read some great books.

Reading

26836910Short Synopsis: Girl genetically engineered to have her life revolve around protecting a single person must pretend to be the person she would die to protect.

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

Thoughts: This book managed to get me out of my reading slump. It was so addictive I had a hard time putting it down when I needed to.

I’m also a fan of sci-fi novels in which the main character has to masquerade as someone from a very different walk of life, and enjoyed the main character’s internal struggle of trying to decide whether she could be her own person when she’s internalized that she is less important. Full review to come closer to the release date.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

28190254

Short Synopsis: Three young dragons have choices to make. What they choose will influence their world for centuries.

Thoughts: This is book can be read as a stand alone without reading the series it’s a spin-off from. In fact, the main series contains spoilers for this book.

I wasn’t expecting much from this book since I already knew how it ended and spin-off books have a history of being not that great, but this book surprised me.

My favorite part was Darkstalker (one of the three narrator’s) moral ambiguity. It seems to be becoming more common lately, but it’s still rare to see the main character in a middle grade novel, or novel in any genre really, walk the line between good and evil so closely. I want to like Darkstalker, but part of me thinks he is the dragon equivalent of Hitler.

I have a bit of a problem with the names of Darkstalker and his sister, Whiteout. The names sound like some sort of racist joke, but other than that this story was great.

Rating:

4.5 blue jays

13259262Short Synopsis: Collection of short stories about fictional Martian colonization.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this overall, but at times certain details seemed illogical to me, or not to connect to the story as a whole. It was as though most of the short stories contained in this odd combination of an anthology and a novel were set on the same timeline while a few were set on different ones.

Still, this is probably one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read, and Ray Bradbury’s prose is beautiful.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

13612965

Short Synopsis: Third book in the Magisterium series.

Thoughts: Something about this series has me hooked, but I have a hard time figuring out what it is that makes it so addictive. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the protagonist’s internal struggle, though I can’t go into what that struggle is without telling spoilers.

I’ve read books with similar concepts to this one many times before, but never executed exactly this way. I think it’s the exact set up of the protagonist’s internal struggle, and the reaction of those around him to that struggle that make this series so attractive to me.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

April 2016 Wrap-up and Announcement

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)April was an insanely busy month for me. While I did not accomplish much in the way of blogging I did manage to read six books and two novellas.

Before I begin I’d like to mention the two books I forgot to put in my March wrap-up, but have since edited that post to include. Not because I didn’t like these books, but because I forgot to mark them as read on goodreads until more recently.

Honorable mentions from March

25898435

Short Synopsis: The queen of an alien civilization and a half human, half alien boy must team up to save themselves and humanity.

Thoughts: This book was a light and fun read. The writing was a little hard to follow at times. I sometimes wondered how the characters had gotten from one scene to another, and wasn’t too keen on the romance, but all in all it was a nice debut.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

 

13638125Short Synopsis: Two college students uncover the key to getting superpowers which subsequently ruins their lives.

Thoughts: Very different from the other V.E. Schwab books I’ve read in the A Darker Shade of Magic series. I really enjoyed the way the novels’ two timelines interwove, and how  this book toyed with the traditional concept of good verses evil.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

April Reads

223236592360443525711360Short Synopsis: The second story arc of the Wings of Fire series following a new group of young dragons as they attempt to prevent a prophecy unrelated to the one in the first half of the series.

Thoughts: I like the direction the author has chosen to go with these new characters, but think these books should probably have been considered a spin-off as opposed to a continuation of the original series.

These books are highly addictive, and I look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 blue jays

2480718629105145

Short Synopsis: A novel about a girl trying to win a motor cycle race in order to kill Hitler, and its prequel novella centering around the events in the same race the year before.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed these. I’ve written a full review of Wolf by Wolf which can be found here.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

28698036Short Synopsis: There is always another secret.

Thoughts: This novella is definitely not for everyone. Seriously, those who haven’t at least read the original Mistborn trilogy should stay far, far away from this novella. Those who haven’t read at least the first six books in the Mistborn series, and even some other Cosmere novels not part of Mistborn series may want to avoid this as well.

Beyond that this novella has an unusual structure without a typical beginning, middle, end feel. This is all I can say about the novella itself without spoiling it.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

23253083

Short Synopsis: First book in the Spin-off series to The Seven Realms.

Thoughts: I have a lot of conflicted emotions with regards to this book. The character death at the beginning felt a lot like a plot device, and knowing what I did about this individual from the previous series I found their death a little out of character.

I like our new cast, and am glad it looks like we’ll be seeing more of this world than we did in the previous series. I’d recommend reading the original series before this one if only because I enjoyed it more, but that could change as this series progresses.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo Graph April 2016Last month I participated in the April 2016 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. My original goal was  to write 20,000 words, but I lowered that to 15,000 words halfway through the month.

As the chart on the left shows, I ended up writing a significant amount on the last day of the event to meet my original goal. My total word count for the event was 20,084 words.

 

Announcement

Next week I’ll be attending Bookexpo America in Chicago. I’m very excited for the chance to interact with people who enjoy books as much as I do, get lots of books, see Chicago, and experience this thing people living in temperate climates refer to as “spring.” (I live in the sub-tropics. This is technically in the temperate zone, but it’s just not the same.)

The Dragonet Prophecy 4.5 Star Review

13228487Title: The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1)

Author: Tui T. Sutherland

Published: July 21, 2012

Synopsis: Five young dragons raised in secret are the only ones believed to be able to stop the war between the seven dragon tribes. Locked below ground, knowing nothing of the world above, there isn’t much they can do to help the war effort. When the dragonets of prophecy learn that one of there own is threatened, they escape into the wider world where they will be forced  to face their destiny.

Thoughts: This book was my favorite middle grade fantasy novel I read in 2015. Admittedly, I only read eight middle grade novels last year so I’m not sure if that’s saying much. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I really enjoyed this novel.

Dragons have always been a fascination of mine. When I was younger I went through a phase where I was obsessed dragons, and dragon books in particular.

Part of the reason I rated this book so highly is due to the fact that had I read it while being a member of the intended audience there is little doubt this could have become one of my favorite books of all time. This is something I take into consideration while reviewing middle grade books.

As it was, this book caused me to start sketching dragons the way I used to all the time when I was around twelve.

I try to go out of my way to find books written from nonhuman perspectives. It seems often that when authors try to write from the perspectives of aliens or mythological creatures they often fall into writing about creatures that appear to be whatever the author claims they are, but act human.

There are reasons for this, primarily relating to the fact that its easier to make someone care about someone else if they have something in common with that other person/creature, and the fact that it is easier for the authors to write from a perspective closer to their own. However, in the rare instances when inhuman perspectives are written very well I really enjoy them. I felt that the way the dragons narrated this novel was one of these rare exceptions.

In spite of my praise for this novel’s choice of perspective, it was not without flaws. The plot is fairly standard for a fantasy novel. It involves a mysterious prophecy in which our five main characters are the chosen ones destined to save the world.

What readers should know: For a middle grade novel this book is fairly violent as it involves dragons who act like dragons. There are minor human characters killed by dragons and dragons killed by other dragons.

Rating: This was an enjoyable middle grade fantasy novel.

4.5 blue jays