M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hooked by an Angel?

There's still time to enter the opening hook contest
as I post this blog.
[ PS: Ended].

The Read...  Picked up an angel novel since they may be the new obsession, like replacing vampires and werewoves.  Thomas E. Sniegoski's  Dancing on the Head of a Pin hooked me in the book store.   After reading the cover content, I couldn't resist the opening:
"It isn't easy being a human.
      "And it was never more obvious to Remy Chandler than it was now, as he stared across the desk at the foul thing pretending to be a man."

This book has a lot going for it.  The writing is lean, mean, and right on.  Consider this example from the book:  "The Seraphim waited patiently just below the surface, as if it had somehow known that its fury would be called upon.  Dropping the mental barriers just a crack Remy allowed a small portion of the power to emerge, feeling the fire of Heaven flow through his body to ignite his hands.
        "I wouldn't do that if I were you," one of his attackers warned."

At one level, the story line is a classic good against evil, which is well set up in the first third, with a twist at the end with a touch of gray.  On another, I couldn't immerse myself in the story line as I prefer to do .

Remy, while an angel fighting to stay on earth, is obsessed with lesser beings, including a human women who he married.  The obsession kept pulling my out of the story in spite of the good writing.  Why?  I kept thinking about bonobos, a being of lesser intellect than humans.  Just as humans are a lesser intellect than Seraphims and the other angels, by definition.  [It's surprisising where orthodoxy appears, even in an iconoclastic brain.]

Sniegoski kept knocking his main character against the prejudices I had left over from growing up.  First, the few dumb guys I dated.  Then, the tragedies of the women married to really dumb men when I was growing up.  Fortunately, both my parents were smart people. -- The book is on the trade pile.  Our experiences influence our reading as well as our writing.

Progress ...  I'm beginning to think my novel hopefuls share a common genetic  flaw.  They start in the wrong place.  At the moment, I don't think I'll search for a cure.  You need an ending before you can edit your book.

Trivia...  I think spring as really sprung.  Can summer be far behind?


Bryce Ellicott said...

I read a novel that put me off of angel stories, I think it was Greeley's 'Angel Light.' I have read plenty of his non-fiction, like 'The Catholic Myth' and find it interesting. But 'Angel Light' seemed, ah, what's the word? Corny? Contrived? I'm not sure, but the whole interaction between the human world and spirit world was handled oddly, like angels involved with the 'intimate' moments between the main characters. So if angels are the new fad, I'm going to be wary and stick close to my vampires.

Kirsten Lesko said...

The title of that book is really cool. Have I mentioned how impressed I am with the amount of books you read? I read about 1 for every 10 that you read!

Kay said...

Bryce: Are you thinking vampires are easier to kill than angels. I'll agree for the for day time encunters.

Kirsten: Guess I do read fast. Also, if a writer losses my attention, I skim at warp speed.

Margo Berendsen said...

I found my way to your blog from KidLit's Critique Connection post. Are you still looking for a critique partner? I'm interested in your MSs and also like that you analyze the books you read for their writing craft - which is something I do on my blog too.

I have lots of critiquing experience but like you my current group is sort of fading away and also I don't have anyone else who writes YA or MG. I'm an intermediate level writer with two complete manuscripts - the MG one is the one I'd like to get critiqued since it hasn't been reviewed since I did major revisions. It's on the long side - I'm trying to get it down from 80,000 to 60,000 and it needs more voice and polish. It's contemporary fantasy, written in a 12 year old girl's perspective and a young unicorn's persective.

You can stop by my blog or email me at berendsen70 at yahoo com if interested! Thanks - Margo

E.J. Wesley said...


I'm hammering on a YA manuscript that isn't strictly about angels, but does have them in it. Any cliches, etc. I should watch out for?

I've read some of the more popular stuff out there (for YA) involving angels (Hush, Hush, et al), and they all seem very romance. Was this story heavy in the romance, or did the protag just lust after the ladies?

Kay said...

EJ: I'd just do what you need to tell the story. My angels in "There Be Demons" are "bit" parts and are obnoxiously bureaucratic ... except for the rebel.

I can't believe I didn't say Remy was a private detective, so I'd call the book a mystery. No lust. Just grieving over a dead wife, which is admirable ... but as I said, I kept hitting my head on the bonobo factor.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kay -- I recently read Colorado author Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush! Hush!, a YA novel which incorporates angels and Becca's version of (small "n") nephilim in the plot. If you've read it, I'd love to know what you think.