December 19th, 2008

A Pocket Full of Murder

"New Yorker," said the author, "why are you so dumb?"

My fellow Deb carrie_ryan, author of the fabulously named The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which I will be reading in ARC form very soon! w00t!) writes thoughtfully (and snarkily) about the New Yorker's latest article on "young adult" literature.

Like Carrie says, I have no problems with people criticizing YA if they have actually read a few books in the genre (that is, books written within the last five to ten years, as opposed to calling on vague memories of what passed for YA thirty years ago). I may disagree with their opinions (or not), but at least I don't have to facepalm over their sheer ignorance...

ETA: More great discussion (including the comments!) over at dpeterfreund's entry on the subject of anti-YA prejudice.

ETA2: And erinbow also contributes some thoughts worth reading.
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    uncomfortable disgruntled
Saffron Cake

In which my short-term memory is really appalling, kind of like my long-term memory

Originally uploaded by professor evil
A couple days ago I was tweeting about having to make a second batch of Snickerdoodles because my Evil Family had eaten the ENTIRE first batch -- some eight dozen cookies.

Fortunately making more wasn't a big deal: I like baking Snickerdoodles. Still, I was a bit amazed that my husband and three young boys could have been quite that greedy, especially in just a matter of two or three days.

Anyway, I made the second batch. I let it sit overnight for the flavor to develop. Then I took the nice big container of fresh Snickerdoodles and opened the deep freezer to hide them away so that my Evil Family could not NOM them a second time.

And lo, inside the freezer I found...'ve guessed it, haven't you?

Yeah. Well.

The plus side is that we now have lots of Snickerdoodles?
Books - Writing

REVIEW: "Cyndere's Midnight" by Jeffrey Overstreet

A month or so ago I reviewed Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet, the first book in what I'd assumed was a trilogy of fantasy novels. Though now that I've read the second book, Cyndere's Midnight, I'm starting to wonder if it might actually be a longer series.

In any case, the difficulties I had with the first book are much lessened or entirely absent in this one. Overstreet's style is still rich and lyrical in the tradition of Patricia A. McKillip's books or Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, but it flows easily here, seems less self-conscious and laboured. Exposition and backstory are woven gently throughout the narrative, rather than appearing in large and sometimes oddly timed chunks. And although the story continues to move from one part of Overstreet's inventive fantasy world to another and give us a range of perspectives along the way, there's no doubt who's at the heart of this story -- Cyndere, the young widow desperate for freedom from her ghosts and her despair and Jordam, the beast-man whose love of beauty was kindled by Auralia's colors and who is gradually discovering what it means to be human. They're both well drawn, compelling characters, and I readily identified with their struggles and emotions.

As the description of those two main characters would suggest, this is a sort of Beauty and the Beast tale -- but not in any predictable sense. What Jordam will become, or how his path may cross with Cyndere's in future, is not made fully clear. But even if (by necessity) many plot threads are left dangling for the next book in the series, there's a satisfyingly complex yet coherent story in this book with its own resolution, and I really enjoyed it.

Final verdict: I'd decided to give Cyndere a chance because I liked what Auralia was trying to achieve, even if I was less than confident about the execution. But now I feel that Overstreet's really hit his stride, and I'll be looking forward to the third book, Cal-Raven's Ladder, very eagerly indeed. Recommended.

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A Pocket Full of Murder

Not so quiet news for a quiet Friday night

I have terrible timing on these things. I really ought to wait until, say, Monday or Tuesday when people are no longer bothering with this nonsense of having families and/or social lives.

On the other hand, if I share this news at a time when hardly anybody is checking LiveJournal, maybe people will think it means I am modest and retiring. I like that idea, so let's run with it.

German rights for both Spell Hunter and its sequel Wayfarer have sold to a very fine publishing house called Hanser, which has made a nice thing of Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books over there, and seems eager to try and do the same for my Faery Rebels.

I am extremely pleased about this, as it means a great many relatives and friends on my husband's side will now be able to read my book in their own country and language. Tentative pub date is some time in 2010.

Between this and the UK deal for Wayfarer last week, I must say I am having a rather splendid December!