It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Trying to get my writing life back in order is a Sisyphus punishment, that is not going to be written about here. However, attempting to keep up with a self- assigned blog challenge is as frustrating as my writing life. Just like many things in this writer’s life it is a juggle to work. With this knowledge, I will attempt to complete a post, started in March, in the middle of June.
Five books Everyone Should Read
The pithy answer would be the holy books of the known religions. This would include the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Vedas etc. This writer works in speculative fiction, so the five books offered are in that genre. These books may not be on the top of anyone’s list. I found them to be fun, entertaining and intriguing.
- Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
The first book in the Frontier Magic series. It is the first-person account of a young woman Eff Rothmer, the circumstances of her birth and the big move her family made to the Midwest. The story is one of the first historical fantasy novels this writer came across, set in the United States.
- Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
The first book in the InnKeeper Chronicles series. It is another first-person account and interesting writing exercise made by writing team Ilona Andrews, narrated by Rene Raudman. Dina Demille seems like an average all American girl runs a reasonably sized bed and breakfast that had seen better days in small-town Texas. The Gertrude Hunt is actually a hostel for interdimensional travelers, who wish to visit Earth. Dina’s guests are few and far between but when they come something exciting happens. There are vampires and werewolves from space need I say more.
- Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
The first book in the Patternist series but not the first book published. It tells the story of Doro and Anyanwu. Two immortal individuals with a complicated relationship. It was the gateway book that allowed me to be the speculative writer I strive to be.
- Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples
This is a comic book series or graphic novel. The story is Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples did the artwork. Marko’s homeworld The Moon Wreath and Alanna’s planet Landfall have been at war for generations. The war has lasted so long; it has expanded to other worlds in their known universe. It looks like a weird occurrence but somehow Alanna and Marko meet, agree on something and fall in love. Their bold star-crossed move to together change their lives and many others. It makes them criminals of both their planets and fugitives for life. Their daughter Hazel who we meet before she is born b/c she narrates much of the story is born a crime. She has her father’s horns and her mother’s wings, she is a unique being hunted by both governments wanted dead or alive.
Even though the story begins with Alanna, Marko, and newborn Hazel, we are introduced to so many others, a diverse galaxy. Everyone has questionable loyalties and reasons to search and find the small outlaw family. Nevertheless, Marko and Alanna find a way to travel the universe and maintain a marriage and family life with and without the strain of being fugitives.
One of the weird and wonderful aspects of Saga is that it is extraordinary in its ordinariness. The universe created by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples is diverse, with humanized animals, as well the impossible to imagine beings with TV for heads. Creatures that appear to look like plants, Cyclops, elves etc. However, everyone lives their lives accordingly. I have five volumes of Saga and will be making a budget to get the next three available volumes.
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
Jessamy is an athlete.
Court of Fives is an alternate world fantasy loosely based on the Ptolemaic Egypt and Louisa May Alcott Little Women, that is according to the author. The land of Efea has been colonized by the refugee people including the royal family of the Saro Urok. They fled their country across the sea on pain of death. For 100 years or more the Saroese have dominated the native peoples, the Efean, destroyed their royalty and forbade their customs. Made them third class citizen in their own country. They have categorized themselves as Patrons, the Saroese and Commoners, the Efean. The Efean are described as dark skin people and the Saroese as described as golden skin.
It is told by Jessamy a young mixed raced woman, who once lived a privileged life with her mother, an Efean woman, father, a Saroese man, a Captain in the military, and sisters. It was all taken away by the machinations of one vicious megalomaniac. Jessamy uses her knowledge and skill about the Court of Fives, the national game, to save the lives of her relatives and gain popularity. There are many issues in COF, racism, colonization, misogyny, colorism, identity are the big ones, non-are resolved in this one book.
There are also hard choices, self-awareness and hero worship. Jessamy was once living with blinders, when they are taken off she is forced to act and sacrifice. It was not all decided in one book, it continued with the Poisoned Blade and Buried Heart. There is also Night Flower, a novella, a prequel that is interesting and bittersweet.
This book gave me faith in the genre of YA again. In my case oversaturation of the genre made it difficult for me to enjoy certain books. I’m glad I was introduced to Ms. Elliott’s work. I also look forward to the second book in the series.
Those are the first five books, I can recommend. Some are more detailed than others. I have a book review blog called the Joexperiment.com or the joexperiment.wordpress.com. The Jo-ex is treated as badly as the Universe, which means it too needs a schedule. However at least two books in the recommendation have been reviewed on the Jo-ex. At the end of this exercise I am thinking in a few months I should try it again. Cross your fingers and the post will be up before next year.