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Thursday, June 28, 2012

I blurbed Defiance!

"Look at her cape, now look at your cape. Sadly, you do not have a cape, but if you had one, it would not look like hers. Read Defiance and you can pretend her cape is your cape." - Gabi

(Not really, but this is so good, can't you see it on the cover?)

If you want to create your own blurb for Defiance, then head on over to C.J.'s blog. Oh, and you might just win a pre-order of the book . . . just sayin. :]

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Storyteller

"Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?
Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama."

When I first picked this up, I was expecting a sort of light read. Maybe that's my fault - the synopsis does talk about a murderer. But many YA books have murder and it doesn't tear you apart. And it wasn't that people were killed that made this book so different. It was everything else.

And it's everything else that keeps me from absolutely loving it. If I took away my emotions while reading this and just examined it on a level of technique and storytelling, my review would be quite different. I would be exalting everything that happens, because it reveals the complex layers of the characters, adds depth to the story, and it's art. And really, the fact that this book left me feeling so depressed and broken speaks to just how talented the writing is.

So really, my quandary is this: am I more willing to love books that have a happy ending than books like this? Because everything that happens in The Storyteller could happen in real life, and does happen. You see things like this on crime shows and in movies. But somehow it feels more real here. The fairy tale mixes with reality and helps set the terrible things in stark contrast. I think that the made-up world makes the real seem more real than maybe other fiction books do.

It does bother me that I can't love this book like I love my favorites. The writing was just so fantastic, and the entire book is brilliant. I'd recommend this book, but I'd have to warn you first. Don't expect a light, happy fairytale; you won't find one here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Good ol' William

I used to hate Shakespeare. Maybe because among Jr. High kids that was the popular opinion to hold, or maybe because his language was just too darn foreign. Or maybe because I never had a teacher who could make it fun and relevant to me.

The thing is that I used to hate our good friend William. When I was in high school I had the most amazing English teacher. He taught the senior English classes, but because I'd moved from a different district and was in advanced English classes, I got to have him for two years.

One of my absolute favorite units was Shakespeare. We watched the Globe Theatre production of Othello. (I may or may not have had a bad-guy crush on Iago.) It was in that class, with this teacher, that I discovered that I'm really good at explicating sonnets. And that - gasp - Shakespeare can be kind of . . . fun. (And if I'm being honest, I'll admit that learning all the dirty innuendos made Shakespeare a heck of a lot more entertaining. Just saying.)

I don't know where you are right now - a Shakespeare hater or lover - but I've found that the more I've studied him, with a variety of amazing teachers, the more I've come to appreciate him. I've heard the theory that Shakespeare was just the Stephanie Meyer of his time, writing for public consumption and not trying to create time-enduring masterpieces. But when you look at this, it's hard to discredit his contribution to our world.

So, thanks Shakespeare. Where would we be without you?