Fist-pump book quote – ‘Illuminae’

pablo Illuminae

Made by me using pablo

Oh yeah… this book is still on my mind. Check it out here and my analysis here.

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Magnus Chase and the Remarkably Similar Plot Premise, a.k.a. If Percy ain’t broke, don’t fix Magnus

MagnusChaseSOS

This book was an entertaining read and I’m in no way dissing Rick Riordan. He’s one of the top-selling authors of 2016, with a eye-watering US$9.5 million in earnings. He’s doing many, many things super-right.

Naturally, I’d like to know what just a few of them are!

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer is Book #1 of the Gods of Asgard Series. The thing that struck me as I read this was the definite similarity to Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson series. And why not? It worked once.

Heck – it’s working again.

And why? Because the premise is a good one, but Riordan changes things enough that we’re not bored.

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Deconstructing the awesome ‘Illuminae’ with a bloodied pair of pinking sheers and a sharpened spoon

illiminaeSeriously. If Unputdownable and Awesome met and had a book baby, it would be ‘Illuminae‘ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. If you’re wondering whether to read it, just take this as a fist-pumpingly enthusiastic, big-brass-band in the background YES!

And go away now and read.

However if, like me, you now want to dissect the story structure and see what made it mind-blowing, then read on my friend.

I think the key areas where ‘Illuminae’ shines are:

  1. Story structure cranking the tension.
  2. Plotty plot plot + plot + more plot
  3. Challenging narrative structure
  4. Characters you bleed for.

And that’s not even mentioning how often it made me laugh out loud.

I cried too. My emotional control is about equal to that of a caterpillar, so this isn’t all that unusual, but there is understated beauty in the way ‘Illuminae’ is written.

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The joy of a good plot twist – ‘Waer’ by Meg Caddy

WaerWaer‘, SCBWI West member Meg Caddy’s debut, has been on my TBR list since its release a few months ago. I was keen to see what caught the eye of Text and led to its shortlisting in the Text Prize (and a contract!).

Getting a contract as a previously unpublished author seems about as easy as brushing your hair with a glue stick. So I LOVE reading debuts. Half of me enjoys hearing a new voice and celebrating their success. I firmly believe that the more great books published, the more kids will want to read.

One writer’s success is a win for all writers.

The other half of me hopes I will pick up that final, vital hint about how to write a novel publishers will latch on to.

So, what did I discover in Waer?

  • Seamless and brave world-building
  • Two vivid POVs
  • A decidedly unexpected twist.

And beware (be waer?) (sorry) the odd, tiny little spoiler ahead.

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Illustrations are the key in Ivy Pocket’s pocket

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Wandering past my local library’s “New to the Library” kid’s shelf last week, I was knocked dead by an inviting cover. The illustrations lured me in, then the title quirked my curiosity further.

But, alas, it was second in the series.

Fast forward five seconds to me searching under K in the Junior Fiction section, and then giving an understated fist pump. Because Book 1 was there: ‘Anyone but Ivy Pocket‘ by Caleb Krisp, illustrated by Barbara Cantini.

Oh, and it was understated because, seriously, I was in a library. Continue reading

The importance of setting and voice: Shadowhunters Part 2

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Books and a cup of tea… nice

Last week I talked about Cassandra Clare‘s characters, and why they appeal. If you missed it, here it is. Today is Part 2 of a Shadowhunting Deconstruction, looking at the other two areas that work really well. The books I reviewed were:

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