I can’t wait to bring you guys some reviews but because this week has been hectic and full of music and catching up on months of sleep, here’s a few of my favorite books with touching music moments.
The Name of the Wind– Hands down wins as one of the few books that had me bawling at the music scenes. One of the best part of the books I still can’t get that awesome power that Pat gives to his words and the raw emotions that dig at me when Kvothe plays. Call me a crazy lady but this book touches the soul of what it means to be a musician.
The Clockwork Three-I read this during a time when I was getting a little tired of the steampunk fad but this book managed to make me both sad and incredibly happy. An enchanted violin? I’m sold.
Promise of the Witch-King-Another book that has a flute int it but what fascinated me was not only this book but the entire series about some not so great and goodly protagonists. This is makes the list because it isn’t about the redemption of an assassin, far from it, and yet, he does find something akin to it thanks to a magical item called Idalia’s flute. A must read series if you’re a fantasy fan I’ll tell you.
So these are some books that I’ve read the last couple of years that had me a little weepy-eyed because they had some great musical moments. What books have you read recently that had a touching moment involving music?
P.S. Apologies for the formatting, can’t seem to get it to behave.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley.
In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.
Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.
Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.
At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.
Kemp has found a new fan. One who was left speechless at his ruthlessness and leaving none untouched… Okay, a slight exaggeration but only slight. I’m still speechless at his storytelling power. I’ve spent the better part of a month sneaking in half-moments in which to read and each time I came back to the story it all came back with clarity whether it was just a day or a week since I’d last picked it up. Not all authors can do that. Ruthless, though, he was. From a to-be-mother, to a peddler, to a high priest, and a living dead man, none were spared. He made monsters of men and left me awed. Gore, death, and descriptions of monstrosities that’ll make you want to hide from the dark (aka not for the easily perturbed). Do the rest of the Forgotten Realms writers write like this? I think not, but I’m impatient for Book III of the Sundering series!
Drasek Riven. I read Godborn without ever having picked up any other of Kemp’s books so I didn’t know who Riven was but I was instantly attracted to this (literally) shadowy figure. Godling with some admirable fighting prowess? I’m hooked. Some of the best moments (some that had me teary-eyed) had him in it. (I may or may not have had a fangirl moment when older Cale named him an assassin in the later part of the book.) I need the other Cale books. Now.
The plot wasn’t anything special itself and the ending was predictable. But boy, even so, the ending was a full blown display of awesome. Well, for the most part. I did have a problem with Vasen’s “faith.” Perhaps it was merely that we get told that he chose Amaunator and we’re not shown it. Riven, once again stole the show though there were some moments with the not so good characters that broke me a little. One of my favorite endings in a long while, I look forward to reading more from Paul S. Kemp!
I know most of the world’s already heard (and squeed) about this, but in case you missed it, the highly esteemed JK Rowling (and Warner Bros.) made an announcement I believe will mean a lot to the news-deficient Harry Potter fans of the world.
Many of you will be familiar with the book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which was written as a tie-in to the Harry Potter series we all know and love. Penned under the name of Newt Scamander, the book plays a minor part in the original series as one of the textbooks students at Hogwarts are required to buy and bring to school.
Rowling’s new movie (again with Warner Bros. Entertainment, her partner for the film franchise and the TV adaptation of The Casual Vacancy), titled, fittingly, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will detail previously mentioned fictional writer Newt Scamander as he interacts with the wizarding community in New York during (approximately) the 1930s. Not much else has been released (read the official press release here) regarding the actual content of the film, but it has been confirmed that it will incorporate several of the creatures introduced in the original series along with new ‘fantastic beasts’ that we haven’t encountered before.
Follow our post tag ‘Fantastic Beasts’ to keep track of all we have to say about the upcoming film and the rest of the series, and keep those eyes open for new announcements!
Try not to break anything in excitement,
I’ve mentioned before that I like short fiction as well as novels (gasp, I know), and today I’m going to consider why. I’ve recently been . . . erm, enjoying (not sure if that’s the right word) . . . Paul’s Case, which is in The Troll Garden by Willa Cather, and A Clean, Well Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway. Both stories are vastly different, but there are some similarities they seem to share with all my favorite short stories (like Marquez’s previously discussed A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings).
[Note: This is kind of a confusing post if you haven’t read both pieces I’m talking about here, but feel free to read on even if you aren’t so interested in reading semi-antiquated (but still fantastic) short fiction. If that is the kind of thing that’s right up your alley, I’d suggest you hunt down the stories either on the web or in print and read them at some point, because though strange and slightly menacing, they were very good. Carry on as you wish.]
First off, they are all told in a very contrite narration. There’s little emotion in the description, but the emotions of the characters are brought out by recounting the small actions, which we don’t see as much in novel form. There must be detail in a short story, but it must help the reader understand something because there isn’t enough room for the author to add text for both purposes like there is in a novel.
Another thing I love about short fiction (though it’s not so much a similarity) is the way it brings out the creativeness of an author in their storytelling mechanisms. For instance, with the prose I read today, in A Clean, Well Lighted Place Hemingway uses a ratio of about 1:1 of dialogue to narration, which works well in that it gives personality to each character without having to outright express it, and gives off a slight monotony when the characters speak in one sentence exchanges, which added a lot to the piece in my opinion. In Paul’s Case, by Cather, I don’t think there was a single line of dialogue, but so much emotion was conveyed through the narration I didn’t miss it a bit. Instead of dialogue, Cather opted for descriptions of Paul’s movements, especially in the first part, where we’re still trying to figure out who he is and what’s happening in his world. She describes him fidgeting with a button or clacking his teeth, and those movements give us a lot of insight, just as it would if we were watching someone jiggle their leg in court or sit back assuredly in the real world. Cather also spends an unusual amount of her approximately 15 page piece describing Paul’s clothes, which initially seems really weird to the reader but by the end has been put to good use as a storytelling device. Clothes and appearances are very important to Paul, and in describing his appearance we are given a window into the world Cather has created so well in such few words.
I think what I really love about short fiction is the way it challenges the author to write well, but also challenges the reader to read as actively as possible to fill the holes the author’s left. In a novel, there are far less of these gaps left to the reader to fill in, but with short fiction there isn’t enough room to explain everything, and that lets the story become even more the reader’s as they draw their own conclusions and build their own ideas into the plot. It’s such a cool way to show just a little window into a world and have the reader imagine what they can’t see behind the sill. Also, something about the previously discussed almost stilted voice most short stories are narrated in really appeals to me.
Congrats on making it to Friday,
Good news or bad news first?
I think bad news.
Bad news is one of my favorite locally owned bookstores went out of business a few weeks ago, which sucks because I loved that place. But I will get over it, and I didn’t let it leave without paying a farewell visit.
This particular bookstore was called Murder By the Book, and focused solely on mysteries, which was the best. They had shelf sections titled “The Butler Did It” or “English Cozies of the 20th Century” and I absolutely loved that place. Not only did they have a huge selection and really great taste in mystery, they also had ridiculously cheap books and a library system for the droves of impoverished bookish college students that live in my town. My favorite thing wasn’t the books I could sort through, though. (Although I loved those too. They have contributed probably 10% of my books.) It was the mystery bags. The deal was, you spent $4-10 on a bag of x many books, with a classification system so you could decide if you wanted books like Nancy Drew or psychological thrillers. Beyond the loose classification system, you couldn’t see anything about the books, and you didn’t know precisely how many or how long each was. You just had to buy it and find out. And it was the coolest thing ever.
So on their closing week I went in and got two bags, one being medium scary and one being the highest class of terrifying. One had a red star and one had a blue. Problem is, I can’t remember which is which, but that’s not really a problem. I’ve opened one of them so far, the one with the blue star, and there were three books in there. I’m going to keep them a secret, except for the first one, which I’ve already started.
It’s quite a dense book, and kind of long, so the review might take a while, but I’m super excited for this new series I’m going to call . . . Mysterious Mysteries. (By the way, did you know you can find an archive of all our series posts on our Recurring Topic Archives? Handy.) I’m hoping to drag it out by reviewing slowly because these books are literally the last remnants I have of my beloved bookstore (although I do have a couple others I bought and haven’t read yet . . . Also exciting), so the posts will probably be pretty infrequent.
ALSO: WordPress just told me this was my 75th post! That’s so cool! By the way, our one year anniversary is August 27th, so be excited. I am.
The second book in the series by Elana Johnson I began reviewing on Tuesday, Surrender, was much better than I was expecting it to be at the end of my last post.
At first I wasn’t thrilled with the two-point perspective, nor the narrators’ shortcoming of not being Vi, the main character of the first book, Possession. After 469 pages, I’ve come around to the more innocent and less
strong stubborn voices of Raine and Gunner, main characters and narrators of Surrender.
Raine, seventeen year old daughter of Van Hightower, Director of Freedom (remember that foreshadowing?), is a leader of the Insiders, a resistance hoping to gather enough government contacts to bring down the regime of Thinkers and Directors and return the world to a place where everyone has the power to make their own decisions and have their own opinions. Gunner is the golden guy of Freedom, hoverboarding star, highly talented, all that stuff. The story begins with Raine trying to get Gunner to join the Insiders, for obvious (talent-related) reasons and maybe some personal ones as well.
As daughter of the Director, Raine has a lot of responsibilities. For one, she must keep track of and chart her ditzy flatmate’s nightmares, and send a report off to Assistant Director Thane whenever they happen. And Vi has nightmares every night. She also has to keep up with her heavy load of work for the Insiders, as she’s a top recruiter and also one of the most influential contacts they have. There’s one more mandated activity, but Raine doesn’t like to talk about that. Her special talent isn’t one she enjoys using.
Gunner lives with his mom, though he probably should be living in student housing. Everyone else does, at least. He’s a pretty normal dude – talented, sure, but nothing super special. His favorite activities are snacking and flying, both of which he manages to eek out of the government in large enough quantities to keep himself pretty content with life. Until one day, on the way to get his snack, his mom isn’t quick enough to close the safe.
In a world where the only currency is obedience and the only rewards unimportant, Gunn and Raine try to make sense of the oddities around them – Vi, Zenn, Thane, and the new arrival, Jag.
Elana Johnson kicked her ‘yeah’ and ‘because’ habit, but replaced them with + and =, which are actually okay. In the two perspectives, only Gunner really uses them, but since he narrates half the book, there are a lot of non-letter signs on the pages for a literary work. Again, something I’m willing to overlook because I enjoyed the story and the rest of the prose, but worth noting if that kind of stuff will bug you.
I really enjoyed Surrender, and though I’m posting this on Friday, it’s actually Wednesday as I write this. (Meaning I went out and got the book, read it, and reviewed it within 48 hours of finishing Possession.) I’m looking forward to Abandon (is three reviews from the same series in a row too much? I hope not), which will probably blow me away, because these books actually seem to be getting better as I progress in the series, which is not something I can say about every dystopian series. I’m looking at you, Matched trilogy. (Also, I’m hearing that the term is no longer YA dystopian, but I’m not buying it.)
Another thing I’ve been meaning to bring up since starting Possession is the god modding aspect of the talents. If you’ve had experience roleplaying or have learned about the not-so-official literary aspects they don’t really teach in school, you’ll know god modding is giving your characters so many abilities that they don’t have any chance of failure. This could be a huge problem for the Possession books, but Elana Johnson seems to be doing okay so far. There have been a couple times where I either went ‘oh, that’s handy,’ or ‘why can’t they just use their superpower?’, but overall I’ve bought the use or not use of each character’s power. I’m a little worried that things will take a turn for the god moddey in the next book after [SPOILER] Vi was all “I can do everything” and bust out the complete mind reading abilities, but I hope the esteemed Mrs. Johnson will keep everything realistic [NO MORE SPOILER]. Also, you’ve had ample time to go find Possession, so I expect you’re reading it or have already finished by now. (Not actually, read what you want. But seriously, you should read these books.)
My hopes for Abandon, go something like this:
-It is narrated by at least one of the points in the love triangle from Possession (most hopefully Jag, but Vi was great in the first book and I wouldn’t mind reading from Zenn’s point of view).
-It is at least 600 pages long (Looked it up, it’s not. 464.)
-There is no resurfacing of the yeah and because, even if Vi is narrating
-There is ZERO ‘it was all a dream/all government orchestrated’ plot work (glaring at Veronica Roth’s Insurgent, here)
-The ending is closed. No room for interpretation or continuation, everything’s been worked out (ahem, The Passage).
We’ll see how that works out. Review to come. Probably next Tuesday.