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.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Capturing a Reader's Attention: Hook, Story Line, and Characters

Can a book trap a reader? One assumes when a reader picks up a book, they want to read a good story. I know I do ... even if I sometimes have two or three books in process. Then, along comes a book that captures my attention with a complicated story line.  L. E. Modisett Jr.'s Lady-Protector is just such a book.

Lady-Protector is a b-a-a-a-d book. It pulled me away from two perfectly nice books I was enjoying -- one fantasy and one thriller. Yeah ... Lady-Protector sunk its claws into me and kept me up w-a-a-y past my bedtime for two nights, forcing the other books to languish on my side table among the Christmas catalogs. So what kind of hook did Modesett bait for his readers -- and he has a lot of readers and a huge body of work?

Mykella has survived a bloody coup using the Talents she inherited from long distant ancestors but finds herself facing a looted treasury, a restive merchant elite, a severe lack of funds, a crumbling infrastructure, and invading enemies -- both human and other-dimensional.  Sounds complicated ... but Modesett builds three-dimensional characters for his world that have you caring for the good guys and wondering why the bad guys seem to get away with their villainies for too long.

The first chapter opens with Mykella's investiture after she has destroyed the conspirators who killed her father and brother and robbed the treasury. Modisett draws the royal family and political situation with such a deft hand, complete with back story from the previous book, that the story line doesn't bog down once. Then, he pulls the hook tight when Mykella learns her aunt, the wife of the would-be usurper, has disappeared ... pregnant with a rival heir.

Lady-Protector is a long book, almost 500 pages, but it never becomes tedious. Maybe there's a bias here for those who like politics ... but Modisett stresses the personal aspects such as the rivalry of the three sisters, a tentative love interest, and Mykella's growing confidence as she solves one crisis after another.

There a eight books in the Corean Chronicles with Lady-Protector and its predecessor forming a self contained duology within the world.

Rating: Five Stars ... what else can I give it when it extended my reading hour each evening by two or three hours until the book was finished. I might go back and get the first book, The Lord-Protector's Daughter, but the blurbs for the other books in the series didn't catch my fancy. [Maybe I have terminal Tamora-Pierce disease.]

Progress?

Doing the dumb marketing bit. Granted promotion is like housework. It's never done. I can accept that, but I don't have to like it.  Am slowly making changes in my Twitter accounts. My @kaytheod account is turning into an author account while @TakingVengeance is more of a promotional sink hole.

One thing: Through December, I'm offering a free copy of Troublesome Neighbors to my readers in whatever social media. Just send me your email address to mkkaytheod [at] yahoo [dot] com. I'll send a PDF or epub file. [I'm doing it this way because I don't want to get tied up into the Kindle Direct stuff.]

As for writing, don't ask. But I am progressing, slowly if regularly, on my edits of Bad Luck Emma.
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