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, July 13, 2015

Violent Book Skulduggery: Does It Make a MG Book Unsuitable?

    The family lending library left me puzzling over why  Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series isn't as popular in the USA as it is in the UK? [judging from the number of reviews] The story has lots of things to appeal to older kids and adults--action, magic, twisting plots, and humor. Death Bringer, book six of nine so far, hooked this old lady...in spite of her thumbs threatening to give way from the weight of the trade paperback after two chapters.

   The Death Bringer plot explores the rivalry of two candidates to become the catalyst starting the "Passage", aka the end of the world, each competitor supported by a different faction. The fights between the Necromancers' candidate and Skulduggery's sidekick, Valkyrie Cain, provide much of the book's action. Other entwined plot lines, exposure of past treachery and a nosy human reporter who has discovered the hidden world of magic, just tighten the rope. Bloodshed and mayhem jump from the pages.

   The biggest irony: Darquesse, the true Death Bringer, possesses Valkyrie...and only the teen's good conscience controls the demon. The temptation to unleash the demon power provided extra tension in the book. This makes up for the repetitive fight scenes. But, I assume there're only so many ways to depict them. Movie action scenes tend to get boring too.

   Minor tension comes of Valkyrie's romances between a good guy and a vampire who loves her. At least, the vampire keeps saying he loves her and would never hurt her. Yeah, this is a fantasy with some very pointed observations to make about human behavior in the real world.

   What I found most interesting is how Landy doesn't talk down to kids. This is a dark, dark story, even darker than the last Harry Potter books. I think the Brits have a greater sense of the nastiness of unbridled evil. Us USAans tend to forget the truly soul destroying sins of greed and power in order to shield our children from social picadillos.

    Most highly recommended, even for sour adults like me, for all of the above reasons. I can't wait to give this to my granddaughter to see what she thinks.

Read excerpts and reviews of Death Bringer at Amazon and on Barnes & Noble.

My Marketing Rut

    Hey, On the Run is developing an entirely new chapter with new material, not a revision of previously drafted manuscript. I'm also getting a better idea of Pillar's abilities and thinking how to incorporated the mage dogs of Showdown at Crossings into the chapter.

   Yeah, the writing has progressed in spite of my plodding pace this week. Like the direction, which makes me suspect I'm forgetting something amidst all the plot stuff I'm adding to flesh out the short story.

   On the other hand, marketing, in the  form of my website, has me gnashing my teeth. Just thought to change the background color, only to discover a bunch of font glitches and overlays and other pesky gobble-de-gook. I think I've spent $100,000. worth of time [at professional rates] on the site, and it still isn't fixed.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

   Still why not take a look and tell me what you think of the color scheme. There a new snippet of On the Run up, too.

Which brings me to another question. 
Should I make the snippets longer, like 1000 words? 
Whatcha think?

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