As July was a Camp NaNoWriMo month, I spent some time working on my current project, an Urban Fantasy novel (working title Awesome Lady Adventure). There are some significant pacing issues with the story that I’m still working on, but I needed to read some Urban Fantasy—particularly some of my favorite Urban Fantasy—for clues as to how to fix those issues. But then instead of writing, I ended up reading and reading and reading. Whoops? I was able to complete most of an outline—the whole main story structure and some of the necessary flashbacks, though I still need to figure out some of the secondary character stuff—but not a whole lot of actual story writing got done. However, I think I have a better idea about pacing, and the rhythms of the rising actions and the falling actions, and what kind of character I want the story to be about.
On the other hand, I also had a dream that I’m going to novel. (Novel is a verb now, don’cha know?) While transcribing as much of it as I could remember (twice), various pieces fell into place—and I continued to add and expand on it. It all just flowed out, and it was glorious. It’s been long enough since something like that happened that I was starting to think maybe it never would again. I may put ALA aside and work on this thing for a while, because I like it that much.
49. Iron and Magic (Iron Covenant 1)* by Ilona Andrews
It’s an interesting trick, turning an antagonist/villain of one series into the romantic lead of another. As the antagonist of a series, Hugh d’Ambray isn’t a POV character, so the reader only gets to see his actions, not the reasoning behind those actions. But as the romantic lead of this series, Hugh becomes a POV character, and all those villainous actions are explained. The things he’s done are given reasons—maybe not necessarily reasons the reader might agree with, but reasons that we can understand—and those reasons humanize him. That could be a trick to try out.
50. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson 1) by Patricia Briggs
51. Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson 2) by Patricia Briggs
52. Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson 3) by Patricia Briggs
53. Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson 4) by Patricia Briggs
54. Spinning Silver* by Naomi Novik
The story of this book is utterly delightful. I will read as many “mortal maid falls in love with Winter King” stories as people write, and this was a delightful twist on that trope. Russian folklore, a twist on the fae, and even a little touch of history. That all being said, I thought some of the POV switches were confusing and occasionally boring—and unnecessary to the plot. I still loved the story, but there were parts that dragged because of these switches, and they felt like I had to get through them.
55. Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson 5) by Patricia Briggs
56. River Marked (Mercy Thompson 6) by Patricia Briggs
57. Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson 7) by Patricia Briggs
Except for maybe the first four, I originally read these as they came out, usually about a year apart. Reading them back to back is a very different experience. Partly, I noticed how time passes in the series. Books that are released a year (or more apart), were set only a few months apart. It works really well, somehow. That’s certainly something to try to learn. The character development is just excellent, too. I really love Mercy: she’s kick ass and strong and her relationship with Adam is probably my favorite relationship in Urban Fantasy because it’s so stable and healthy. I can’t wait to see where the next book takes Mercy when it’s released next year.
Nine books for the month is pretty good! Only January (16 books read, and a fluke I’m pretty sure) and March (10 books read) beat it out, and it matches May (also 9 books read). And it was a useful month, as the rereading did help me in a tangible way with my own writing.
August threw a whole bunch of curveballs into my life—and the repercussions of those curveballs are things that my husband and I will be dealing with for months to come—but that translated into a lot of reading as a way to either pass time or to escape. I don’t know that I’ll necessarily get higher numbers for the month though, since the next series I started rereading is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series (more learning, this time for that novel I dreamed up!) and those books are ridiculously long. On the other hand, I have read the whole series through several times, which means I go through them very quickly. I guess we’ll see at the end of the month!