Wednesday, March 20, 2013
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
I loved this book so much. Gush, gush, gush... sorry. I can't help it. I'm practically kicking myself that I didn't pick it up sooner. It was such a fun book. Hex Hall was somewhat inspired by the British show, Hex, which I LOVE! And I'm drawn to anything and everything witchy.
Sophie is such a fun character, and she's very easy to relate to. Despite being a witch, she's still very human, making mistakes and going through the troubles that come with being a teen. Getting into trouble, being sent to a school for delinquents by her non-existent father, starting off at that school on the wrong foot. Poor Sophie. But at the same time it's hilarious to watch all that she goes through, and you'll want to root for her.
Aside from that one little complaint, this really is a fantastic book! I couldn't put it down. It's fast paced and tons of fun. If you haven't read it yet, you are so midsing out!
PS> I'm including the cover to the left because I find it kind of amusing. I guess this is how teen witches dress in Bulgaria. You certainly won't find this cover in the US on a YA book. Especially that girl in the middle.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Sometimes you have to fiddle around with a book before it starts working, before you find the right approach to the story, the right voice for the narrator.
In this instance, it took all of about three sentences.
It’s also fun to play around with the explicit framing the memoir format provides. I’ve written first-person stories before that are less strictly constructed, stories where you’re in the protagonist’s head, but she isn’t telling her story from a defined point in time, or to a defined audience. This approach loses a degree of flexibility, but provides a whole array of games to play. Isabella can distinguish between the young woman she was then and the old woman she is now, reflect on changes in her world, and tell the reader outright what she is and is not willing to talk about. It still has its implausible conventions, of course; when she reports a conversation word-for-word, what exactly is she basing that on? She kept a diary, of course, as many people in that time period did, but a great deal of what she says must be invention or after-the-fact reconstruction. But all fiction has such artificialities, regardless of the approach. What’s different in this instance is that I’ve never tried the memoir format at a length longer than a short story.
For all the challenges (and believe me, there are challenges, especially when it comes to the things Isabella doesn’t want to talk about), I’m having a blast, and have been since those first three sentences. Her voice clicked instantaneously -- a shameless old woman talking about her youthful stupidity -- and my brain is constantly supplying me with entertaining little asides, or wry commentary on the characters and events. In fact, the only downside to that part is figuring out when to rein Isabella in!
I’m two books into the series at this point, and it’s still as fun as when I started. In my line of work, we call that a win.