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.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Do Characters a Series Make?

My Book/Series Review ...
While waiting for my trade paperback of Beka, Bloodhound (or whatever the title is) to arrive, I decided to read Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small Series.  The series features Keladry of Mindelan, a young girl who decides to become a Lady Knight of Tortall after another girl [Alanna] opened up the possibilities of a female becoming a knight by masquerading as a boy.  The "powers-that-be" aren't any more accepting for Kel than Alanna, and Kel finds herself fighting the system after being put on probabation.  [Page]  To complicate things, she's a revolutionary -- championing the weak from the "entitled" nobility.

From what I've read, Pierce follows the series pattern of putting different characters into the same fantasy world.  Then, she writes short series about those main characters.  Above I give the bones (structure) of the story.  Pierce like any good writer puts the flesh on the bones.

Pierce limits this series to four middle-grade books about Kel's fight to be considered an equal.  Through the four books, the girl collects a group of friends -- human and animal -- who eventually help her defend Tortall against a necromancer who launches new semi-mechanical weapons [krakans] using the souls of peasant children.  Of course, Kel wins, but the books are a nice read.  I found the first two books a little slow (simplistic?) when Kel was a youngster ... but the "teenaged" books present real moral problems that Kel must solve.

[For those who wonder about the content differences between middle grade and young adult, the "teen" books feature a fair amount of kissing -- with a doomed romance when the realities of the adult world intrude.  The swearing is "Tortall-specific" and not much of it.]

So, what kept me reading?  A well-defined, sympathetic main character, even if she's a little too "goodie-two-shoes", who faces each challenge stoically.  Stubbornness is a two-edged fault at worst.  ...  Okay, I sat here for a couple minutes by the clock and can't think of another meaningful fault.  I should also note that Pierce surrounds with villains suitable for the age Kel is when she faces them ... and a host (if you count the sparrows) of secondary helpers.

So, my question on your "fan" books:  Do your remember the author more than the characters?  An example:  I'm always saying Harry Dresden instead of Jim Butcher.  [Something Butcher probably hates.]  On the other hand, I say Hamilton's vampires instead of Anita Blake.  [Yeah, I remember she has weres, fairies, and zombies as well as humans.]  I don't particularly care for their other series.  Then, there's Charlaine Harris, most of whose characters I enjoy reading about.

Web Notes ...
Rushed through my site-cleaning:  the email, comics, and other web stuff I check every morning.  It's the AM and almost time to do the lunch thing and bill-paying ... and I found myself rushing through the AW Water Cooler.  I'm reminded that this is probably a big mistake.  As an example of the extra-value on this writer's forum site,  AW is is featuring a Q&A with Kathleen Ortiz of  Lowenstein Associates.  The forum/feature lets members ask real agents question -- and get a real answer I hope.

I asked about agents for different types of manuscripts.  Ortiz said it was simplest when you query agencies with agents who handle all the genres you write in.

Writing Progress ...
I read four books over the week-end ... and added a couple agents/agencies to my agent list.
Trivia ...
Went to the bank Friday and discovered my driver's license had expired.  I guess I'm trying to ignore my age.

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