September was a weird month again. Finished a writing project, fully settled into my apartment, and started classes for the last time. The reads this month were some catch-up reads, but also a few anticipated books.
What I Learned: How to Meander Productively Around Ideas
I took a class whose central tenet was that creativity is a muscle that needs exercising. This book provided a few good tips and tricks on how to do that. Recommended for people who don’t think they’re “creative types.”
What I Learned: Character Introductions
Disclaimer: I’m Junkyard’s critique partner. In this work, we get a singular character introduction. It was well done, as we learned both of Nathaniel pre-piracy and the understanding his reactions and emotions to the situation that lay before him. What was also fun was seeing the main characters from a different perspective.
What I Learned: Upping the Ante
Read in advance as an ARC received at ALA 2017. In book one, the three protagonists were princesses, and in the second they are queens. The ante, stakes, and action in the second book underwent the same ascension. There was much less of a focus on interpersonal conflict and the focus was entirely on selecting the one true queen. Sacrifices were made. Dangerous magic came into play. So much to love in this excellent execution of a sequel.
What I Learned: Heart and Friendship
Read an ARC from NetGalley. Reintgen does a great job balancing an entire cast of teenage characters, but most notably, not having a love triangle or introducing too many nonsense decisions as a result of irrational feelings. A romance did blossom between Emmett and one of his crew mates (omitted for spoilers), but the establishment of the friendship made that relationship more powerful. In addition, all the other interactions were given their time to develop.
What I Learned: Fairy Tales as a Vehicle
Read as an ARC from NetGalley. This book emotionally eviscerated me. The way Romero used a fairy tale about a doll to tell a small story about a dollmaker during the onset of World War II in Poland was so effective. The depth of relationships with the careful introduction of magic created a story for all ages. I highly recommend it for fans of Pan’s Labyrinth.
What I Learned: Diluting a Sequel
I really wanted to like this book as much as the first. The key issue, however, the attention to detail seemed to be lost and much of the depth in both relationships and world-building. It might be something to look out for when extending character development and wrapping up overall story arcs. There were many cool concepts and new characters introduced, but it seemed to distract from the main conflict between books 1 and 2, but also within this work itself.
What I Learned: Ensemble Introductions
The ensemble in this work was small, but there is an art to introductions. One book that I’m finishing next month could have learned something from this little novella. Perhaps it was the small length of the book, but the characters and their stories were well-paced and spaced just enough so that the reader could spend enough time getting to know everyone before meeting new people. Definitely an excellent case study on spacing out ensembles.
In October, I’m starting a new writing project and catching up on some really hype new releases.