A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

In lieu of today's Writing Wednesday post, I wanted to mix it up a bit and since I just finished reading Sisters Red last night, I thought "Book review!". :)

I don't normally cover book reviews, partly because I don't have much time to read these days *kicks rocks* and partly because I haven't really read anything lately that grabbed me enough to go at it in length. But Sisters Red hooked me from the very first page. So without further ado...

By Jackson Pearce

Blurb from the author's site:

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

One of the first things I noticed about this book was that it had both a prologue and an epilogue, which I loved. You don't see very many of them anymore because I've heard it through the grapevine that agents and editors generally shy away from them. "Frowned upon" is an understatement. But if done well, it can add just the right touch of mystery and just enough back story to hook the reader. Sisters Red did just that.

I've always loved fairytale retellings and this one did not disappoint. It took an age-old tale and wrapped it up in a gritty, action-packed, modern setting that young adult readers can definitely relate to. The story is told from two POVs (also something I loved) - each perspective through the eyes of each sister. Having the dual POVs allowed me to see each sister's internalization and gave me a better understanding of the conflict and drive they both had. They became endearing in their own ways, even though the sisters were stark opposites. Though I wasn't entirely thrilled with the use of present tense, I quickly forgot about my bias as the story surged forward. My mind shifted and adjusted to the tense well enough that it didn't take away from thoroughly enjoying the story.

The majority of the story moved at a steady pace, with one or two scenes sprinkled throughout that slowed down just enough for me to catch my breath. The development of the conflict unfolded at the right moments and even the romance element tied to the core of the tale. My only major gripe was that the ending came much too quickly for me. With the fantastic buildup to the climax, I expected more. Don't get me wrong -- I still loved the resolution and part of me even prayed for it as I desperately sat there turning the pages of the book in my hands. But there was too much predictability and when the reveal finally played out, it had lost the element of surprise.

Despite that snag, I'd still recommend the book to anyone and everyone who loves a good action-packed story -- with a little romance, intrigue, and nostalgia for the old fairytales thrown in. It wasn't without flaws, but I still loved it to the very end of the last page.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Sisters Red or Jackson Pearce, please visit her site here.

And now for our regularly-scheduled pretty...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Character Archetype - Obliviously Evil

Today's post is another character archetype that I've seen in a number of shows, movies, animes, books, etc.

When we think of a villain in a story, it is generally assumed that they are the drivers of evil within the story. Of course there are those, like the anti-villains, who have that small, if not fleeting, dance with a moral compass. And then there're the anti-heroes, who generally have some of that evil ingrained to give them a multidimensional feel, but still have enough good to keep them at hero status.

Then comes the Obliviously Evil. This character is interesting in that according to THEIR moral compass, they are in the right. Most people have a good grasp of what is good and what is evil, though there is a large gray area in between. The Obliviously Evil skew those beliefs and what the majority population believes as good and evil may not necessarily be so in their minds. They plan, they act, they formulate ideas - all based on their own moral code that, in their mind, is the right thing to do based on what they mean to accomplish.

That also touches on character motives, which I'll hit on in more detail in a future post. A character's motives drive them to create their individual ideas, to plan those ideas out, and to execute them. They could be self-serving, but they could also be what they feel is for the greater good.

For a more in-depth look, check it out here.

Some may not agree with me, but one real-life villain that comes to mind when I think of this archetype is Adolf Hitler. He had an idea which he thought to be good and right and for the sake of the greater good of the future. He didn't believe what he was doing was wrong because it was serving the motive or purpose that, in his morality, seemed in the right. Of course, the majority of the world disagreed. Which makes him evil, but obliviously so.

Do you believe a character can be obliviously evil? Or do you think that deep down inside, they know what they are doing is wrong and they choose to excuse it by saying it is for the greater good?

And now for our regularly-scheduled pretty...