Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

My friend LHughes practically forced me to read this book she loved it so much. Not that I wouldn't have read it on my own (eventually), but she sped the process up. While we were at school, she drove me to the bookstore, marched me in, and bought the paperback version of Daughter of Smoke and Bone before shoving it into my hands.

It wasn't that I didn't want to read it right away, I did, but I was in the middle of The Night Circus and couldn't put that down.

Well, I finally read this book.

And I am so glad that I did! It was so beautifully written. Her description is so vivid and unique. I almost wanted to go through as I was reading and take notes on the way she described things in new ways so that I could use it in my own writing. Not like, copy and paste what she said, but hopefully be influenced by it.

The novel takes place, mostly, in Prague. And while it's an amazing setting and Taylor uses it well, it's not overwhelming. I am lucky enough to have spent some time in Prague (just a few days) and I think that she does a fantastic job of setting the piece in a foreign city, but not making the reader feel left out if they've never been there themselves.

Okay, so what is it about? I can't tell you too much without spoiling the entire book, but I will tell you what I can. Karou is the main character of the novel. She is a mystery even to her self. She has been raised by a (for lack of a better phrase) family of monsters, but has no real knowledge of where she comes from. Who her parents are. Or where she got these unique eye tattoos on the palm of her hands. She exists between two words, the word of her monsters shop where they trade wishes for teeth, and the human world of Prague. Suddenly, black handprints are burned into doors all over the world, and Karou's family is threatened.

Taylor does an amazing job of world building here. Not only does she make the places in the human world so real and vibrant I'm convinced that she's spent many a vacation in both Prague and Morocco (a place where she runs errands for Brimstone, her foster father/ Wishmonger) AND this "Elsewhere" she's created.

So there was only two things that bothered me.

  1.  And this would totally ruin everything for you so I'll be vague, is when you discover who Karou really is. I felt it was just a bit easy at first. Not the discovery, but who she is. 
  2.  Sometimes Taylor's sentence structure bothered me. I'm not usually one that pay attention to that sort of thing, but after about 2/3s of the book it was really popping out at me. She has this habit of doing this: Original thought, side note on something that pertains to the first part of the sentence but goes on for a bit, return to original thought. The only reason this bothered me was that I found myself forgetting how the sentence started and had to go back and reread the first half to figure out what the last bit what saying. 
Now, here's the fun part. The sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, comes out November 6th. So you totally have time to get out there and buy Daughter of Smoke and Bone and read it. Which you should do. Don't trust me? Check out LHughes' review here.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Children and Thesis Writing



I don't have any, but that doesn't stop people from asking me (whenever I feel tired) "Oh, do you think your pregnant?" I suppose that question is fair game now that I'm married. 

However the answer is always, "No."

But that doesn't mean I don't have a child... of sorts. 

I have a thesis. 

I've seen posts and things where people compare writing a novel to a bad relationship. I'm sure I've even done it myself.

But right now, I think my thesis writing (which IS writing a novel) is a bit more like having a baby. Disclaimer: I've never had a baby therefore my comparison is biased/uninformed. But here we go anyway.

How my thesis is like a baby...
  • It keeps me up at night
  • I have to check on it every few hours to make sure it's okay
  • I don't like leaving the house without it. What if it needs me while I'm gone?
  • It needs to be looked after, and worked on, ALL THE TIME
  • I can't really think of anything else
  • Mostly, it's the only thing people ask me about anymore
  • I love it
  • And kind-a wish I could give it to a baby(thesis)sitter for just a few hours so I could relax and just not worry about it
  • It keeps me from my housework 
  • I tend to forget why I walked into a certain room because I'm too busy pondering what the thesis may need next
  • I've put so much of myself into it
  • Once you start it your life will NEVER be the same
  • You really don't just have any "me time" anymore
  • It needs to be nurtured to grow
  • Really, it's the most ADORABLE thesis you've ever seen
  • It has a personality all of its own
  • Sometimes it does what it wants and just gets itself into trouble
  • Lastly, it consumes so much of my time/life/mind that I might be a little crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Thesis writing has been WHY I've been so MIA for the past...forever. And will be, until this spring. I hope. That is my goal. 

So, until then expect sporadic and random updates. Many of which may focus around my thesis, because really, it's my life now.