I am currently reading too many things, and I can’t finish a one. Some of them are harder to finish by myself, like my story time books with Michaela, but some of these are just plain old my fault. Also, Name of the Wind is a REALLY LONG AUDIOBOOK, OKAY?
It’s finally time to get down to this wrap up stuff. 2016 wasn’t that great of a reading year, overall, though I did read 80 books. I felt like a lot of it was meh, but there were 5 that really stood out. They were a super mix of books, really representing the weird and new turns that my reading was taking me. I’m starting to read a lot wider and broader, and consistently stuff I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy. Let’s take a look at my list!
So remember when we said we were going to do a Halloween special? Well. It took us until about, oh, Black Friday to actually get this done. It’s always time for weird vampire sort-of-horror, right? Listen. I’m out of excuses, okay? Life is hard, but we love books. This really wasn’t my favorite, even if Michaela and Taylor liked it. HOWEVER, this is a really awesome episode because this book may not have been that good (to me) but it stimulated A LOT of really awesome discussion of themes and characters. We got so into it we almost forgot to stop. It was worth the wait!
I started out this blog talking about the two different parts of me, and how they work together. I’m going to end it by talking about how they stand apart. Granted, I’m going to be focusing more on my Writing major, just because the Poetics is a Writing Department class, but trust me when I say that the point I’m about to make is applicable to my English major too.
Yes, this post is required as a final project. Yes, there are question guidelines. I’m about to do a very odd thing and copy them out for you (sorry Professor. I swear there’s a reason for this):
- What do you make and is it similar in any way to the art practices we’ve read and/or talked about in class?
- Why do you make it, and do you see your ideas aligning with or being similar to the “why” of anyone we have read and/or talked about in class?
- What is the relationship of language to what you make, and is this relationship in any way similar to anyone we have read and/or talked about in class?
Using your digital archive and ideas, address
- What are your influences and how have they influenced what you have made up to this point? Who or what do you admire in your field, and why? (Use videos, images, other archives, etc.)
- What do you aspire to create, and what have you learned or encountered in class (if anything) that may affect your processes going forward? (Note: this can be a negative effect. That is, “Now that I’ve seen how horribly wrong thing XYZ can go, I want to avoid that route…)
- What was the most influential/important reading and/or concept to your own processes of making?
You know what I’m absolutely sick of? Realizing there are two ways I want to answer these questions. Then realizing that one of them is just another story I’m afraid to tell.
“What I mean is that within the University there could exist a relationship with word, language, thought, tradition, and power that might run counter to the relationship a poet might want to have with word, language, thought, tradition and power.” – Sarah Vap, End of The Sentimental Journey
Recently, in my Renaissance Literature class, the professor asked us what we were going to be reading over the summer. My answer would have been Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses. But I didn’t answer, because people starting saying “Milton” or “Absalom, Absalom.” My answer didn’t seem like it fit.
So, today, when I answer these questions, I’m not going to do any of us the disservice of lying or telling you half-truths. I’m going to tell you BOTH truths. I’m going to answer you from the
and from the
Bear with me.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Four and half stars
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.
Well, I should start off by saying that I could NOT stop reading this book. Literally. I started it LAST NIGHT, stayed up until 1:30 AM and then opened my eyes before 9 to keep reading it. I just had to know what happened. I do enjoy guessing what is going to happen as I read, and sadly with most books I’m hardly ever actually surprised. Not here! I was convinced the book was going to end with some kind of sappy, love-triangle ending as a lot of books seem to these days, but I was wrong. It was very refreshing.
The characters here were no great shakes, except for the main character Elisa. Talk about refreshing. She starts off as a fat, pampered, ignorant child–but not spoiled. She becomes pretty kick butt by the end, but she takes a journey to get there that is believable. Few authors dare to do this these days, and the ones who do rarely do it well. I felt like I could sit down and chat with Elisa, because she was just so REAL.
Granted, Elisa and the book did fall into one YA cliché that makes me sigh. So often in YA books these days, there is no visible growth when the main character falls in love. It is just instant love at first sight, BAM. Does it make the book move along, sure. But it’s fairly ridiculous and it annoys me when it happens. At least here, Carson makes an obvious attempt to discern why Elisa feels the way she, and there isn’t an instant lovey-dovey scene anywhere. Still a little too quick for my taste (and a little too quick for a certain event near the end of the book to have the impact it ought to) but better done then I’ve seen lately.
The world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns was also great. In places – especially in the beginning – I felt like I wasn’t getting enough information to form a clear picture with, but enough information came out as the book went on for me to grasp generalities. The book was clearly setting up for a sequel, so it’s entirely possible the world wasn’t completely explained for just that purpose. Either way, it worked out well enough. The book flowed quickly and easily.
I read ridiculously fast first time through, and sometimes after that I won’t reread a book, but I certainly want to revisit this one! Overall, I would certainly recommend this book to fans of fantasy YA fiction. It’s different, it’s believable and it’s interesting. Four and a half stars from me!