Book Review: The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

34017058Title: THE BLOODPRINT
Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
Release Date: 2017
Pages: 425
Publisher: Harper Voyager
My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆(1.5/5)
Review on Goodreads

Ugh. That was painful. Actually, physically painful, and I am so disappointed. This book was one of my most anticipated releases of the entire year. I actually pre-ordered this book! I purchased it! Paid money for it because I was sure I would want to have it on my shelf forever to read and reread! Instead, from the very first chapter I found myself struggling to get through it. This is a novel with great potential that was executed terribly. Let’s go through the problems one by one:

→ It is undeniable that Khan has created an intriguing world, though much of it is based on ours. The parallels between the antagonists, The Talisman, and Daesh/ISIS, are painfully obvious and heavy-handed. The Claim, ancient religious words inscribed with power, is clearly meant to be the Quran. Now, there is nothing wrong with any of this – in any other book I might have relished it – but here everything is so confusing and mashed up together that I had a difficult time following along. The main character, Arian, is a First Oralist trained in the power of The Claim – and yet it is never exactly clear what precisely the Claim is or how its magic works or how Arian uses it against her enemies. Given that Arian’s powers make up the crux of the plot, leaving it unexplained greatly hindered my understanding of the overall plot. This is not the only bit of worldbuilding that was left unexplained, or touched on only vaguely. Khan throws a lot into this book and very little of it makes sense until the very end.

→ Despite the aforementioned, this book also somehow constantly delivers plodding exposition to explain worldbuilding rather than revealing it organically. The narrative comes to a shuddering halt to explain something (and not very well, either). It’s very jarring and is the mark of an inexperienced writer. There is just so, so much telling rather than showing, and it’s not even a little bit subtle.

→ I suspect it is the lack of skill in writing that makes the whole book so very, very bland. From the first chapter, which should have been a harrowing, nail-biting scene as our protagonists endeavor to save a group of women from slavery, is dull. From the get-go I just Did Not Care. And I tried, oh did I try. I wanted to care, I wanted to like this book. But there were no characters I cared about (Arian, the lead, is painfully, painfully bland) and the stakes were established properly to get me to give a damn about anything that was happening. The writing isn’t technically bad, but there’s just no spark to it. This book is lifeless.

→ The author uses omniscient narration, but she does it very, very badly. First of all, it took me a while to figure out it was omniscient narration, because the book at first gives the impression that it’s in third person limited, with most of the POV given to the protagonist, Arian. But there are throwaway chunks and sentences that are in other characters’ perspectives, even very minor characters, that just shove their way into Arian’s thoughts. And then the narrative will flit back to Arian’s POV. It’s clumsy, messy, and confusing.

→ The overall plot was terrible. First off, I’m beginning to think that ~journey~ stories take a supremely talented author to pull off, and the ~journey~ in this book was very badly paced. It’s taken me over a month to finish this book because it was just so damn boring. I literally had to force myself to finish it. And not only was the overall plot uninteresting, but even the few scenes that should have been exciting felt empty because they were written so badly! Big, action moments that should have been exciting were barely given a sentence (sometimes I barely even noticed that something huge had happened). What should have been big reveals were not revealed properly, and so they didn’t deliver any punches.

→ This is clearly being marketed as a ~feminist~ story, but unfortunately even that falls flat. Our two heroines spend the whole book ogling handsome men and having their fates controlled by them. Daniyar is introduced as Arian’s love interest and an extremely handsome man, and the author won’t let you forget it. His beauty is constantly referenced, Arian’s companion Sinnia is constantly talking about how desirable he is, and Arian herself is in love with him for reasons that baffle me, since he’s very much an asshole. This obsession with handsome men and the women in love with them doesn’t just feature with our protagonists, but with various minor characters as well, making the book not only borderline misogynistic but also shockingly heteronormative (there are NO queer characters here).

→ Arian’s companion, Sinnia, is black. The author doesn’t let you forget this either. References are constantly being made about the strangeness of her dark skin, how ~exotic~ she is, how pale Arian is in comparison, how jealous Sinnia is of Arian, etc, etc. And she is the only black character. It was extremely fetishistic and made me very uncomfortable, especially given that Sinnia’s entire existence seemed to be rooted in being Arian’s loyal companion. We are given little to nothing of her backstory, her wants or desires, despite the omniscient narration.

→ I want to touch again on how utterly boring and lifeless this book was. The author just couldn’t make me care about anything in this book. The plot was a fairly straightforward journey, with little to no intrigue or suspense. For me, this book only got mildly interesting in the very last ten pages, when there were two big reveals and twists, one of which I’d been expecting since the last third of the book. And then the book ended on a cliffhanger that I don’t particularly care about because I don’t care about anything in this book.

I don’t have much else to say. I really disliked this book, I nearly DNF’ed it multiple times, I had to drag myself back into reading it, and I’m just so relieved to be done with it.  What a damn shame.

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Short Story Friday

SSF

In an effort to improve my writing I try to read as many short stories as I can. I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me. I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way. This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough of them.

This Friday it’s gonna be four short stories, because I went on a bit of  a J.Y. Yang binge! I have never read their work before but I really like their style and creative ideas! So here we go:

SeptOct16_Issue12LARGE-340x510Not a Miracle But A Marvel by Tim Pratt (Uncanny, September/October 2016): This is a really weird and super fun portal fantasy! I so rarely see portal fantasies in short fiction but I always enjoy them.  This one is happy, wholesome, and hilarious with a light touch of creepy, featuring two poly couples who wander into a fairy ring.  It’s got memorable characters and it’s just so much damn fun.


th_a0580aaeccec739569f2502c0aa86498_lightspeed_68_january_2016Secondhand Bodies by J.Y. Yang (Lightspeed, January 2016): I can’t remember the last time I loved a short story this much.  In near-future Singapore, it is possible to surgically switch bodies. The protagonist, Agatha, decides to exchange her body with another woman’s so she can be beautiful. She ends up falling for this woman instead, but this is no love story – Agatha is a detestable, selfish person.  This story examines fat-shaming, racism, and classism in Singapore through the lens of a deeply unlikable protagonist.


th_a0580aaeccec739569f2502c0aa86498_lightspeed_73_june_2016Four and Twenty Blackbirds by J.Y. Yang (Lightspeed, June 2016): This story is a little less clear cut than the aforementioned two.  It seems to be set in the near-future, in a world that is struggling with an alien virus that targets pregnant women, turning their babies into corvids.  I think.  The protagonist is pregnant with a healthy baby, but she doesn’t seem particularly happy about it, or the state of the world.  I enjoyed this idea! Pregnancy already freaks me out, so adding anything weird to it makes for delectably creepy reads.


27246515Temporary Saints by J.Y. Yang (Fireside Fiction, October 2015): This is short short fiction, so unfortunately there wasn’t too much to read into here, and what a shame! I really love the idea featured in this story, of people, particularly children, turning into saints. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sainthood, though – the saints in this story gain powers but become horribly deformed, growing wings or scales and then dying.  It’s a really great idea and I’d love to see it expanded.

Book Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

15993203Title: THE DARK DAYS CLUB
Author: Alison Goodman
Release Date: 2016
Pages: 482
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
My Rating: ★★★★★(5/5)
Review on Goodreads

I. Love. This. Book. You know when you’ve come to enjoy a book so much you don’t want it to end? I was torn between finishing this book quickly to find out what happens, and reading it slowly to savor every scene. I was hooked from the very first chapter, where the setting is quickly and fastidiously established as Regency England. A fascinating time period, and the skill of Alison Goodman’s research shines from every page! I truly felt like I was in Regency London; Goodman pays close attention to fashion, smells, common foods, popular dances, weather, locations, and so on. It all lends the book an extreme authenticity that makes it an absolute pleasure to read. I feel like I’ve just received an intriguing history lesson on Regency London! When I say this I don’t at all mean to indicate that this felt dry or textbook-like! On the contrary! But as a history nerd I do enjoy all the little details that popped up.

In The Dark Days Club, Lady Helen Wrexhall discovers that there is more darkness in the world than she first thought, and that she is inextricably bound to it. As she is introduced to this underbelly she discovers her new powers and abilities, all under the guidance of the mysterious and detested Earl of Carlston, a man who shares Helen’s powers but is also suspected of killing his wife. He and Helen share a budding but unresolved romance – in true Regency fashion, it is quite a slow burn and for the most part remains within the bounds of propriety. I think he’s a little bit of an asshole, but for me that’s what makes him interesting, that he’s so imperfect – he’s a good person, but he doesn’t have great bedside manner, so to speak.

Helen is a much more pleasant character – bright, curious, kind, but also not the stereotype I expected. She is more realistic than that: not quite rebellious, not quite so eager to shirk the boundaries of normal life and society, merely tiptoe around them. She’s a modern day women magically inserted into a Regency-era world to be the ~Exceptional Woman~. Rather, she is a realistic Regency-era woman who is heavily shaped by the customs of her time and place. She also shares a camaraderie with her maid (who becomes her partner in crime in a way), which was so refreshing to see! Female friendship is always appreciated.

The mythology here is fantastic! Not supremely original, but executed brilliantly, in a way that makes sense but doesn’t overwhelm the reader with too many details. Goodman created such an interesting world here, one with suitably high stakes that kept the tension high throughout the novel. By the 80% mark I was walking around my house doing things with my Kindle in my face because I simply could not put the book down! I absolutely love books that turn into compelling page-turners, and I love books that feel like home, which this book did. I’m a sucker for period drama set in England, and this book hit on everything I ever wanted: high-society drama, historical accuracy, the supernatural, loads of gory murder, sardonic dialogue, and nail-biting mystery!

I’m going to stop babbling because this review is long and effusive enough, but hopefully it has managed to convey the depth of my enjoyment of this book!

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Write Like

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

This week’s topic is Authors I Want to Write Like.

I have been so, so excited for this topic. As an aspiring writer, writing style is something I pay close attention to.  This was a super fun topic for me and really got me thinking about what I admire in authors.


ny42eh4NRoshani Chokshi: Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I love purple prose. I love it. Heavy, heady, overly descriptive, flowery writing. I adore it.  Yes, sometimes it can be too much, but I have a very high threshold.  I’ve only read one of Roshani’s books but I fell completely in love with the writing, separate from the story or the characters (both of which were good, but not as fantastic as the writing).  When I started The Star-Touched Queen I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the words weaving together. I would go back and re-read paragraphs just to linger on the pretty writing.

“Neither the secret whirring song of the stars nor the sonorous canticles of the earth knew the language that sprang up in the space between us. It was a dialect of heartbeats, strung together with the lilt of long suffering and the incandescent hope of an infinite future.”

– The Star-Touched Queen


13414088S. Jae-Jones: JJ is another writer sometimes accused of overly purple prose.  I wasn’t partial to her book because it was much too slow for me, but I adored the quality of her writing. Yes, it was purple at times, but it was also incredibly elegant and polished, lush and sensual.  Though the story slow, it was beautiful and atmospheric, with a lingering fairy-tale quality.  I also really admired the way she wrote her romance.  It was such a slow burn, and even the sex scenes were written in such a gorgeous, elegant way!

“I surveyed my kingdom. Chaos. Cruelty. Abandon. I had always been holding back. Always been restrained. I wanted to be bigger, brighter, better; I wanted to be capricious, malicious, sly. Until now, I had not known the intoxicating sweetness of attention. In the world above, it had always been Käthe or Josef who captivated people’s eyes and hearts— Käthe with her beauty, Josef with his talent. I was forgotten, overlooked, ignored— the plain, drab, practical,talentless sister. But here in the Underground, I was the sun around which their world spun, the axis around which their maelstrom twirled. Liesl the girl had been dull, drab, and obedient; Elisabeth the woman was a queen.”

– Wintersong


7168230Victoria Schwab: The thing about Victoria’s writing is that it feels absolutely effortless. It’s the sort of writing that makes you feel like you’ve just wrapped a warm cozy blanket around yourself.  She is just an objectively good writer; her prose is neither too purple nor too sparse, she builds characters who feel real, she is so, so creative with her plots, and she writes romance that makes you care.  Also, her productivity is just so admirable? She writes so much and has been writing for so long and she puts out at least one book a year, which is almost unbelievable. I kind of want to be Victoria when I grow up (Victoria is only five years older than me RIP).

“They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. The kiss was Lila pressed into a single gesture. Her brazen pride and her stubborn resolve, her recklessness and her daring and her hunger for freedom. It was all those things, and it took Kell’s breath away.”

– A Gathering of Shadows


3472Margaret Atwood: I’ve only read two books by Atwood (a crime, I know), but I’ve enjoyed both of them (and hey, I’ve been meaning to read more).  Atwood’s writing is just so brilliant and incisive. She has such a clear way of stating universal truths.  Her writing is sensual and detailed, clear and visceral.  Not only do I want to write like her, I want her cleverness and her ability to bend genre conventions.

“She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation. In spirit she walks the city, traces its labyrinths, its dingy mazes: each assignation, each rendezvous, each door and stair and bed. What he said, what she said, what they did, what they did then. Even the times they argued, fought, parted, agonized, rejoined. How they’d loved to cut themselves on each other, taste their own blood. We were ruinous together, she thinks. But how else can we live, these days, except in the midst of ruin?”

– The Blind Assassin


tumblr_inline_o940q2meUN1qaqnoq_500Alyssa Wong: Alyssa’s a bit different from the other folks on this list, because she hasn’t written a novel just yet. But she’s written multiple award-winning short stories, most of them dark, most of them strange, all of them lovingly crafted.  Her writing is rich and vivid, but above all creative.  She has a way of pulling out common themes and ideas and writing about them in innovative ways. I really admire her skill, and I read her short stories to learn!

“The world ended with a bang, folding in on itself, the lines of the horizon collapsing like soaked origami. Our parents’ house turned to glass, to fire, to energy sparking ripe and rich for the taking. I drained it, pulling it deep into myself until the house was empty, our parents gone. And then there was nothing but me and my sister, her imprint, her echo.”

– A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers


Honorable Mentions: Daphne du Maurier, Erin Morgenstern, Catherine Valente, Alison Goodman, Katherine Arden

Fancast: War and Peace

war and peace fancast

I’ve been planning a War & Peace fancast since before I started the actual book! I’ve been playing around with casting ideas in my head for months now, so I’m really pleased I finally sat down and put it all together.

There were some characters who just jumped out at me and I immediately knew who I wanted to cast for them.  However, I thought I should wait until I had finished reading the novel.  Then I was struggling to cast a particular pair of characters so I set it aside again.  But I’ve had some casting epiphanies again recently, and now I have my cast!

Now, obviously, I couldn’t possibly include every single character in War and Peace (I mean, I could, but I don’t want to).  There are going to be some important characters missing (for example, Denisov) because I just didn’t have any particularly inspired casting thoughts about them. Then there are other characters who may seem minor but whose castings jumped out at me.

So let’s get started!


NINA DOBREV AS HELENE KURAGINA

helene

Nina was the very first person I cast.  I think she is absolutely perfect for Helene: she is  gorgeous, with a mesmerizing smile and enchanting eyes.  I would see her gaining some weight to more accurately resemble Helene, who is described as plump, but it’s not like casting directors have paid any attention to that (looking at you, BBC War and Peace).  Nina has this charm and magnetism to her that makes her so damn sexy, which is imperative for anyone playing Helene.  (Helene is my favorite character so she comes first!)


LUKE PASQUALINO AS ANATOLE KURAGIN

anatole

If you want to feel better about certain terrible decisions you’ve made in the past, go take a look at who BBC decided to cast as Anatole in their adaptation of War and Peace. I’ll wait for you to recover from the shock.  Alternately described as a weasel (thanks Rachel), a lizard (thanks Tumblr), and the scrawny nerd from your high school chemistry class (thanks moi), Callum Turner as Anatole Kuragin has got to be one of the worst casting decisions in history.  Anatole is above all hot.  Like his sister, he’s beautiful and charming and sexy; the whole reason Natasha is so drawn to him is because of his gorgeous looks! Now, personally I think Lucas Steele is the best Anatole Kuragin there will ever be in the history of time, but sadly, as he is approaching forty, he’s too old to portray Anatole in an adaptation. But I think Luke Pasqualino would do a pretty fantastic job too! He’s a fabulous actor (check him out in The Musketeers), and he is certainly swoon-worthy.  Plus he and Nina make a pretty pair (and they’ve got the same coloring!).


DIEGO LUNA AS FEDYA DOLOKHOV

dolokov

Also one of the first people I cast! There’s something really intense, magnetic, and sexy about Diego Luna that I think would suit Dolokhov really well.  As a character Dolokhov quite odd: part wild, part absolutely nuts, part romantic.  I think Diego could play all those parts and bring them together brilliantly.


ADELAIDE KANE AS NATASHA ROSTOVA

natasha

Addy was the second person I cast! Having seen her on Reign, I’ve witnessed her incredible acting chops.  On that show, she went from naive young girl to badass queen, and Addy acted the hell out of all of that character’s phases. She’s utterly striking, yet has this guileless look about her, along with Natasha’s “full mouth” and a smile that would utterly dazzle you. I also think Addy would do a fantastic job acting out Natasha’s energy.  (Also, Natasha has BLACK HAIR which adaptations always seem to ignore in order to cast her as the ~virginal blonde~ which really annoys me.)


NATALIA DYER AS SONYA ROSTOVA

sonya

Originally I was going to cast Sarah Bolger for Sonya, but I’ve been liking Natalia’s performance on Stranger Things, and I think she could really give Sonya a lot more depth than the character is usually allowed to have.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think Sarah Bolger would do a fantastic job, but it would be interesting to see Natalia branch out into a period drama like this, and I think she has a particularly interesting energy that would really lend Sonya more complexity.


KIT HARRINGTON AS NIKOLAI ROSTOV

nikolai

Nikolai is described as stout and dark-haired, so Kit fits that description perfectly! This is probably somewhat of a weird casting decision, but I think Kit’s got that perfect combination of intense and adorable that makes up Nikolai. Plus we’ve seen Kit pull off brotherly affection and brooding misery, and both are needed for Nikolai!


EDWARD HOLCROFT AS ANDREI BOLKONSKY

andrei

I had an extremely difficult time casting Andrei because, like many people, I think James Norton was absolutely perfect in the role on BBC’s War and Peace, like he was born to play it. However, I think Edward could give him a run for his money.  He’s got this sharp, rugged, serious face which I associate with Andrei, and in the only performance I’ve seen him in he’s played intense rather well.


OONA CHAPLIN AS MARYA BOLKONSKAYA

maryab

Okay, so Oona is not exactly plain like Marya is described, but she’s also not traditionally pretty. She’s got some striking features and gorgeous eyes, though.  I also think she would be fantastic playing someone as religiously devoted as Marya.  Plus she and Edward look like they would play off each other really well.


CHARLOTTE SPENCER AS LISE BOLKONSKAYA

lise

Poor Lise, Andrei’s ill-fated first wife! Tolstoy spends a lot of time talking about her pert upper lip and how even at rest you could see some of her teeth.  I tried to find an actress with that feature who wasn’t Felicity Jones, and I think Charlotte somewhat fits the bill.  She’d have to dye her hair dark to match Lise’s looks, but otherwise I think she could do a great job in this minor role.


ELOISE SMYTH AS MADEMOISELLE BOURIENNE

mdmbourienne

Oddly enough, this casting was inspired, meaning I didn’t have to think too hard about it.  It just came to me. Eloise hasn’t done much besides Harlots, and I’ve only seen her in an episode or two in that, but Bourienne only has a minor role anyway. She’s beautiful and blonde and flirts with Anatole. I think Eloise can capture that playfulness to her.


HELEN MCCRORY AS MARYA DIMITRIYEVNA

maryad

Helen is perfect for this role, in my opinion! She’s gorgeous and has that fierceness required to play Marya D.  And she’s so elegant; she does really well in period pieces!


KYLE SOLLER AS PIERRE BEZUKHOV

pierre

I’m still not too sure about this casting – for a long time I considered Howard Charles for the role, but thought he looked too old. The thing is, Pierre is always described as large and ungainly, and it’s such a huge part of how other people see him and how he walks through life.  But BBC War and Peace’s choice of Paul Dano was spectacular, despite Dano being so diminutive.  So I thought I stopped trying to find someone frighteningly large and just focused on finding someone who could play guileless.


JOHN BRADLEY WEST AS PIERRE V.2

pierre2

Rachel and I were chatting about this very post when she randomly came up with John Bradley West for Pierre and he was too perfect not to add here! Not only his physicality, but his demeanor, I think he could portray both Pierre’s naivete as well as his self-righteousness.  But seriously, his physicality is perfect for Pierre. He would be so incredible!


DANE DEHAAN AS BORIS DRUBETSKOY

boris

I don’t have much to say about this as I don’t have much to say about Boris.  He’s kind of a sneaky, ambitious character who I didn’t find particularly likeable.  He’s also rumored to be having an affair with Helene, so there’s that.


YAY! What do y’all think? If you’ve read War and Peace, do you think my casting choices fit? Have you watched BBC’s War and Peace? Let me know in the comments!

 

End of the Year Book Tag

ENDOFYEARBOOKTAG

I was tagged for this by the lovely Steph at Lost Purple Quill! Thanks Steph! I haven’t done a book tag in forever. (I’m also pretty certain someone else tagged me for this as well at some point…I’m SO BEHIND on things I’m tagged on.)

ETA: OMG, I just realized why I thought I was tagged for this before! I was, way back in September, by Rachel! I can’t believe I didn’t remember this at all.  My answers are totally different!

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I don’t usually like to leave books hanging for a long time, so nothing aside from what I’m reading now! I am determined to finish The Bloodprint before the end of the year, though it’s turning out to be one hell of a slog and I have to force myself to read it.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Hmm, not particularly, although I am finding myself partial to a particular brand of historical fiction at the moment. I’m currently reading The Dark Days Club, which takes place in Victorian London, and I don’t want it to end! I’m finding it super cozy and charming.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

I don’t believe so…Jade City just came out so I’m really excited to get my hands on that, but I don’t think there’s anything else at the moment. Not that I would remember if there were!

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

You know what I’ve been realizing? That planning out what I’m going to read has kind of been bumming me out.  Like, it’s fine to make vague plans of what I want to read in the future, but to structure it strictly like I did for the past two months really took the joy out of it. One of my favorite things to do, when I’m on the verge of finishing a book, is go through Goodreads summaries on my TBR to rediscover a book I want to read. That way there’s a bit of a surprise in it for me!

That being said, I would really love to read The Hate U Give, which I have waiting on my Kindle at the moment! Everyone and their mother has read this, it’s being turned into a film (actors have already been cast!), and I think it’s still on the NYT bestseller list. I really need to get on this.

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I doubt it. I’ve just read too many awesome books this year! I’m sure I’ll enjoy The Hate U Give, but I don’t think a contemporary will take the place of my favorite book when I’ve read some incredible fantasy books this year.

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Vaguely! As I said, I’m trying not to plan too strictly.  I know I’m definitely starting Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles in a buddy read led by Chelsea at Spotlight on Stories, which I’m very excited for.  And I think Chelsea wants to read Jane Eyre around then, so I’ll likely join her in that. I also really want to read Libba Bray’s Diviners series.  Oh, and the sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant is coming out, so I’m planning a re-read of the first book before the second, since I’ve surely forgotten everything, and I think Rachel is planning on reading it with me!  LOL, I realize this is already pretty strict planning…alas. I’m still super excited for these reads.


I suck at at tagging and I think this meme has made the rounds already, so do it if you like, and do ping back to me so I can read your answers!

Reread, Rewrite, Burn Tag

I saw this post on Rachel’s blog, and I’ve been meaning to take a go!

THE RULES:

  • Randomly choose 3 books
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread (like Marry, Boff, Kill).
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds (or six) (or however many you want to do).

REREAD: A Chalice of Wind.  While Balefire is not my favorite of Cate Tiernan’s works (I think I got bored halfway through the second book), I recall enjoying it somewhat. It also had some interesting plot points about witchcraft in New Orleans!

REWRITE: Poison’s Kiss was a book with such enormous potential! It’s about a young girl trained to be a poison maiden – or a “Visha Kanya” as they were called in Ancient India.  The Visha Kanya allegedly had blood and bodily fluids that was poison to others, but in Poison’s Kiss the protagonist (Lord, I can’t even remember her name!) just has to kiss someone in order to kill them. There’s a boring and predictable romance and the protagonist herself is just so boring. This is the sort of book I’d rewrite as an adult novel, because it really needs more violence and sex to make it interesting.

BURN: Sharp Objects. Sorry, Gillian Flynn. I did actually like this book, but alas.


REREAD: Kissing the Witch, for sure! I read this book such a long time ago that I don’t remember any of the stories. I think I would appreciate it more now.

REWRITE: The Sea of Monsters, I guess? I loved the Percy Jackson series, but I really hated the portrayal of Hades and Persephone, so I’d rewrite it and change that.

BURN: Neverwhere. I’m not a fan of Neil Gaiman, though I do think this book was one of his more palatable works.


REREAD: The Final Empire.  I don’t know if I’ll ever re-read this entire series one day, but I really want to. I remember upon finishing it being absolutely floored by the genius of the plot. Everything came together so brilliantly in the end.

REWRITE: Rebecca. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Rebecca, but I could definitely see myself writing a different version of it. The main plotline is pretty straightforward, but with different characters and different settings the story itself could radically change.  I could set it in Cairo or something and have some fun with it.

BURN: The Mysterious Benedict Society. I had to read this for a Children’s Literature class in college and I didn’t like it. It was touted as “the next Harry Potter” or something, but it is…not. It’s really boring and basic.


REREAD: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is always a treat.

REWRITE: The Blind Assassin. I kind of want to re-read this too because I’ve forgotten a lot of it (I read this like…six years ago?), but I remember I really loved the fantasy aspects of it. The realistic aspects of it were fine, but I wasn’t as into them. I would rewrite it to be entirely fantasy, probably.

BURN: Living Dolls. There was nothing particularly wrong with this book, but it’s just so basic. If you’re at all familiar with advanced feminist theory, this book isn’t going to tell you anything you don’t already know.


REREAD: Dreams of Shreds and Tatters. This book is so good and so creepy. It’s inspired by the tale of the Yellow King, which is a vaguely Lovecraftian tale that was actually written before Lovecraft and served as his inspiration (yes, I know calling it Lovecraftian is anachronistic and makes no sense).

REWRITE: The Penelopiad. I like this book a lot, but it’s not particularly great at its representation of women, oddly enough! I’d definitely rewrite it and portray the women in more complex and humanizing ways.

BURN: The Kingdom of Gods.  This is the only thing I’ve read by Jemisin that I did not like. It just feels so messy, going from subplot to subplot without anything really connecting them. And the main character was super annoying.


REREAD: The Diviners, for sure. Y’all, it was such a good book. I don’t even remember anything but little snippets of it, but it was creepy and funny and thrilling and gave me Jazz Age goodness with a side of Great Awakening conspiracies.  Now that the whole series is out and finished, I’m definitely planning to read the whole thing! Probably some time next year.

REWRITE: Monstress. I love this graphic novel, but if I were to rewrite it, first off, it would be a regular old novel, since I can’t draw to save my life, and second, I’d rewrite it to suit my tastes more. Which means, no talking animals or whatever they are.

BURN: Dreams From the Witch House. This book is a collection of Lovecraftian short stories by women.  It was fine, but unfortunately most of the tales were forgettable. Also, I don’t know why I’m so drawn to Lovecraftian things when I know I get frustrated by weird fiction. It’s always so vague! I hate vague endings!


This was so fun! I’m not going to tag anyone but do link back to me if you do this!