Lessons from My Reading

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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Monday, January 18, 2016

Squeezing All of a Series Characters into the Action

Wasn't going to review Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones, but the other book I'm enjoying is over 500 pages long and complicated -- and I'm helping my old man learn enough Word so he can transfer his written memoir into a computer. Not that Eighth Grave is an  unworthy read. But ... *shrug* Yah only can do so much in a week, especially when you're in the winter doldrums.

Do you get the idea my feelings on Jones' series are mixed?

The few urban fantasy books of hers I've read have great, action-filled plot lines. Jones has built up a cast of interesting, revolving characters who usually do intriguing things to push and pull the plot along. Then, there's a main character, Charley aka Charlotte, who I find about as mature as my fourteen-year-old granddaughter, which is especially annoying to me after the revelations in Eighth Grave After Dark. She's going to be responsible for saving the world from Satan ... when she's got the hots and is married to the Son of Satan?
 
A lot is going on in Eighth Grave After Dark. Charley, who is terminally pregnant with the child phophecised to off Satan to prevent the end of the world, is hosting a wedding for her assistant to her uncle in the confines of an abandoned convent because twelve hell hounds lurk on the boundaries, waiting to rip Charley's throat out so said child won't be born.

Yeah, complicated. But that's not the only thing going on in the book. Huge numbers of ghosts are gathering on the convent grounds, including a mysterious nun who refuses to talk to Charley. The wedding goes off with all sorts of weird relatives gathering, including Charely's stepmother who made her childhood miserable. Said Son of Satan is acting strangely. Charley has contacted the parents he was kidnapped from in spite of his forbidding her to contact them. Oh, did a mention the FBI comes to her for help in locating a kidnapped neice of one of the agents?

And that's only the first third of the book.

If you're a writer, I recommend you get the series and map out what the main secondary characters do in each  book. You'll get a great idea on how to squeeze the most out of the characters you create. On the other hand, I recommend you pick a grown up for your main character unless you're writing young adult or children's books. I really got tired of reading Charley make one dumb decision after another, especially when she was putting her child in danger by being an adolescent idiot.

Yeah, I'm recommending the book because it's so entertaining. The craftsmanship is outstanding too. I don't think the pace slowed down much more than to give the reader a chance to absorb the next facts -- though sometimes these were confusing. The book left me wondering why a character couldn't be snarky and grown-up at the same time.

This review getting posted "late" is just another example of my
winter doldrums.
Enjoy the typos.

~~#~~
My Writing Rut



Got a lesson on why taking a break from your writing can be beneficial. Took a look at the
"chapter" I was trying to fit into the current version of On the Run and realized why the action wouldn't fit. The fact that the main character was called "Cass" should have been a clue. Yeah, I'm still back tracking ... but I think I'm making the manuscript more coherent.

I hope.

Still, I'm in the doldrums though ... but now its the marketing of my short stories which seem to be getting ignored.
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