Saturday, November 25, 2017

Book Review: Beast of Talesend (Kyle Robert Shultz)

A new, quirky and charming spin on a tale as old as time. Nick Beasley's a man who debunks magic: people come to him with magical problems, he proves it to be simply normal, everyday explanations. Magic isn't real.

That is, until Lady Cordelia Beaumont arrives. Then everything gets crazy, Nick becomes big and furry (not the furry thing in the photo, though), and magic becomes very, very real.

This was a fun read. I liked the fairytale aspect behind the world. It has a familiar atmosphere at first, but we realize soon that the fairytales we know actually happened, they were real. And sometimes, they're not as bright as we've been told. I do wish I'd gotten a more fleshed-out view of the setting and the worldbuilding, though, to add to the charm of the fairytales.

Nick Beasley was hilarious in a good way. His attitude, while matter-of-fact, also gave me the impression that he's just 75% done with everything. XD He gets thrown into situations he didn't think possible, and it was fun watching him try to understand it all.

Cordelia was a whirlwind of a girl on our first meeting. I honestly didn't expect that kind of behavior from her at first, but I liked her personality. She's spunky and seems a little wobbly with her magic sometimes, but she knows when to be serious. She and Nick made quite a pair. It's a miracle they didn't kill each other. XD

There were occasions where the dialogue felt a little bit bumpy, but often it amused me. Nick and Cripsin were awesome in their banter. XD I really liked their brotherly relationship. And the backstory hit me in the feels, man.

SPEAKING OF. Crispin is a precious puppy who needs protecting and so help me if he ends up DYING or SOMETHING, there will be riots.* He's young and mildly naive and his role expanded more than I expected, and I just really need to see him safe okay? Pretty sure Nick agrees.

*(Also that prophecy has me way too many levels of worried. I don't think it's as straightforward as it seems, which worries me. A lot.)

The climax seemed a little quiet, but I think that was because this book is kind of a setup for the next books? I'm eager to see where this story goes, and how they all fair. :3 I needed answers (like the end of the mirror scene????? Whaaaaaat???), and I need them nowwwww.

I also want to know how Kyle works in other fairytales, and how it works with the world and with magic. It intrigues me, and I liked how some of the stories tended to take a darker twist. Though maybe that should worry me...?


Violence/gore: Fairly mild. Nothing is detailed, really. Though a character's human body bursts apart.

Sexual content: Nick and Mirrordelia kiss.

Profanity: Only referenced.

Other: We're told very briefly that some minor characters are naked (after a broken spell).

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Writing: A (Hopefully) Useful Starter Kit

This blog has reached 200 posts! :3 Probably not terribly exciting, but it's kinda cool. The Story Weaver started, like, three years ago with a young, not very well-outlined story. XD I've not been consistent in posting, or I flood the place with a backup of reviews (which happened recently, my bad!), but I'm learning. Learning what I want to post, when to post, and all that. I hope to learn more, and make this place a little more... not quite professional, but also something that's not just a place in the internet, if that makes sense.

I don't have a big celebratory post or event. Honestly I didn't realize I had 200 posts until I opened up the doc to write this post. So maybe this is kind of in celebration of 200 posts? Ish?

I don't really have anything deep to say, or anything super clever about writing. But I'm beginning to learn that it's okay to not have clever things to say about writing. I admire the people who can find things like that to say, and I love gleaning advice from it.

I wanted to be like that. To offer something to writers that was helpful and interesting. But everything seemed to have been already said, either in tweets or blog posts or plotting structures the writer came up with. I didn't feel I had anything to share on that level.

But I'm realizing that's okay. I'm (slowly) beginning to realize that I don't need to match their wit. I probably can't.

However, what I can do is offer advice that's been told before, but in my words. There are writers out there who're just starting out, looking for a launching pad. Maybe I can help. Maybe I can offer them a launch pad. With my own experiences, with things I'm still learning even today.

So I might try it out (and I'm totally open to advice on how to offer advice). Instead of wishing I was clever enough to offer advice to people already well on their way in their writing career, I want to try to offer advice to the ones just starting out. Help them pick their first Pokemon, if you will. ;)

So today, I'd like to give you a small "starter kit," if you will, of a few of the basic writing elements. Disclaimer: It will be far from perfect, as I'm still learning them myself, but hopefully if you're feeling a bit lost in this forest of words, this post will help give you a foothold.*

*Please, do remember to take anything I say with a grain of salt. I just want to share what I've learned with you. ;)

We'll start with the basics.

  • Plot
This is at it's simplest the story. The timeline, if you will, that your cast of characters will follow. Your main character (or MC) wants something. Maybe he wants to save his little sister, or he just wants to get out of the ranks of a rebellion (or win the rebellion). But the bottom line is, there's something he wants.

But its your job to make him go through ALL the hoops to get it. Maybe even then he doesn't get it, and finds instead something he needed rather than what he wanted. But the plot follows your MC's journey, his search for the thing he wants (or thinks he wants). That includes all of the obstacles he faces, people or otherwise. Usually there'll be an antagonist (the villain) who stands in his or her way (think Captain Hook from Peter Pan or the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia). The villain wants something too, and the plot will help you (and readers) follow what happens when these two forces collide.

Spoiler: A (hopefully) exciting story happens. ;)

Usually, stories follow a character-driven plot, or it's simply plot-driven. Character-driven stories, while they should have an external plot, tend to focus in the inner workings of the MC and follow her development, the way she changes over the course of a story (this is called a character arc).

Plot-driven stories are usually when the plot keeps the character moving. Trouble will find the MC, and the MC follows along while struggling to stay on top of things. In this type, there's sometimes not much of a character arc. The world around the MC changes, while the MC may not change much.

Sometimes stories have a bit of both types, which would make for even more complex stories, which I find could be rather interesting. ;) In either case, the plot is the track for your story, complete with all sorts of obstacles that need hurdled.

  • Character
Characters are the people who populate your novel. Without them, we would probably have just scenic nature footage. Exciting for some, but it doesn't really work for a book, especially when you have lots of intense ideas to explore.

So you need people. I'll break it down to three general "groups." It gets a little deeper than what I'm going to describe, and I'm happy to try delving deeper into them if you all want. But for now, we'll divide your cast into three fairly easy groups for you to organize: main characters, antagonists, and supporters.

You probably recognize those first two. The main character is who readers will usually follow in the course of the story. They're the ones your readers will root for. They have a desire, and they're going after it. Remember to make them active in their desire. They need to be the primary force driving the plot. Sometimes the plot drives the character, and that's okay, but remember to keep your MC on track. Maybe she reacts to events up until a certain point before she realizes she needs to start taking responsibility and acting, but give her some active-ness, even when she's just reacting for a portion of the time.

Don't be afraid to give your MC flaws. Your story's hero doesn't, and probably shouldn't, be totally perfect. Maybe he or she has weaknesses that affect their journey. Give your MC layers: interests, dreams, fears, flaws, strengths, complicated relationships, etc. Stuff that make humans human (even if your character might be a dragon ;) ). Your hero can be strongly righteous, and that's good too. But giving him or her a flaw or two can't hurt. ;) Your hero should get knocked back from reaching his goal (whether by external forces, or his own shortcomings), but he needs to keep getting back up, learn (eventually), and try again.

We're going to say the antagonist is also human (or dragon) for now, because usually antagonists are. Sometimes they're simply other, non-sentient forces (weather, sickness, etc). Those can be excellent antagonists for character-driven plots. Human villains can supply the antag-position in both character- and plot-driven stories. For villains, they too have a want, a certain desire. But, often, it tends to rub against the MC's desire the wrong way. They get in the way of each other. The MC might be working to stop the villain, or vice versa. Or they're both trying to stop each other at once.

The villain's desires are, usually, bad. Maybe it's their goal that's bad, or their methods. Or maybe it's both. That's basically how stories go. But just saying that they're evil isn't quite enough. Maybe they really do just want to halt the MC in his tracks. But ask yourself why. Why this hatred for the MC? Explore their character. Villains are human too. Maybe their motives aren't entirely bad (though their methods might be). Maybe they have a few traits that make them seem a little less 100% evil and more human. Do they love playing a certain game? Do they love and dote on their newborn daughter? Give your villains depth like you would your heroes. Make them and their desires complex. It's interesting, sometimes, when we get a villain who we despise and who does awful things, but on the other side of the coin we kind of understand where they're coming from.

Just make sure it doesn't turn them into a good guy, unless that's your intent (redemption arcs, whoo!). Villains shouldn't necessarily be portrayed as good. They might be motives we get, but the way they go about them can be where we draw the line and say "ahh, no, that's bad." Evil shouldn't really get away with being evil. At least, sooner or later the consequences should maybe catch up to them.

The last grouping is the supporting cast. These are the people who team up with the hero. Or perhaps the villain (or maybe both). These people can come in as a wide variety of personalities and backgrounds as your MC and villain can. And they have their own desires and dreams, fears and flaws. Supporting characters can make great companions to the hero. Maybe he needs a mentor to guide him through using magic. Or perhaps your heroine needs a hero to help her through her arc. Or perhaps they simply need a best friend, or parents/siblings. Supporting characters can be very nearly anyone. They flesh out the world. Sometimes they show up only once, or they're a close partner to your hero.

Remember to give your supporting characters layers too. Give them their own desires to pursue. They tend to think the story's about them. ;) What do they want? Does it interfere with the MC? How well does the MC get along with them? This complexity will make them feel as real as the antag and MC. They're people too. Let them act like it, and not just be part of the backdrop. Just remember that these characters need a role that is relevant to the plot or your MC's arc. If they're just there for the show, they may need to go.

  • Setting
Setting is where you're story takes place. This is could literally be anywhere. In space? 1776 in America? In a world populated by dragons and selkies? In an apartment complex in Chicago?

You get the idea.

Setting, in a way, can be its own character. Your story world will likely have its own culture. How does this affect the MC's beliefs? How does this affect the way the villain acts? You might need to do some research depending on where or when you want your story to take place (especially if it's set in America in 1776, for example).

Worldbuilding is a tool you can use in your setting. I tend to see it as a tool most often used in fantasy or science-fiction. Worldbuilding is, basically, building a world. You create the world, instead of using the one around you. However, you draw from the world around you too, so it can't hurt to research for fantasy or sci-fi cultures anyway. You use it to develop magic systems, or technology, or lots of things that might need an additional creative spark. ;)

If you like, I have a Pinterest board of worldbuilding stuff that might be helpful to you. ^_^

  • Themes
Themes can be what you want to say in your story. Usually, stories have a point, something the writer wants to communicate. However, you need a delicate balance between story and theme. Too much theme, and it bogs down the story and feels preachy. Too little, and readers might miss the point, or misidentify it.

Sometimes your story might call for theme to be a little more noticeable, other times maybe not. Play around with it. Theme can be a fussy thing. It needs a good balance to weave seamlessly into the narrative without making bumps in the road that go "here I am!", but also strong enough that it doesn't fade out of sight and sound.

Experiment. Play around with words, or make a list of possible themes. As writers, we need to communicate truths. Those truths come from God and His Word. We need to make sure our stories don't give the impression that we support things God has said are not good. And theme is an excellent place to start: it will help set the tone for your novel's smaller messages or sub-themes that might be woven into it too.

So what do you want to say? What has God put in your heart that he wants you to say?

There's tons more elements to writing, I'm sure. There are sub-topics for each of the ones we've discussed, and sub-topics for the sub-topics. But hopefully this gets you started. :D It sounds complicated, maybe, but be patient with yourself and with your writing. You will get there. It's gonna be hard, there might be tears or doubts (even I still have those!). In between the satisfaction of smooth sentences and deep characters, there's going to be frustrations. It's part of the learning process.

But you know what?

You've been given a gift. The Master Storyteller's given you a skill to use for His glory. He's given you a mind for stories and telling them. Pray about it, too. Ask Him to show you how He wants you to use the written word. Be willing to learn and change and grow. You are God's story, living in a world He built. Learn from it. :) Explore the stories He's telling, the world He made, and borrow from it. Maybe it's His will that you become a storyteller, that it's where He's calling you. If it is, that's awesome. Follow His lead.

You've got this. Play with the words. Mix and match. Break grammar rules or follow them, or both. Read books on writing, or blogs, or podcasts or YouTube videos. Study the story-lines of movies, TV shows, or video games. Play with the words again. Play and experiment and explore.

And don't give up.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen (Roshani Chokshi)

Maya's life has essentially been shadowed by her horoscope. A sign from the stars that tells of her union with death and destruction. Naturally, eligible bachelors aren't keen on courting this doomed princess. And Maya's alright with that. She'd much prefer to watch and learn from the political proceedings of her father, and collect old folktales and legends for her little sister.

But that changes when her father forces Maya into a corner she finds no escape from.

Until she meets a strange man with an even stranger kingdom, whose answers she can't have until the new moon.

The plot of The Star-Touched Queen is a little slow, and not quite as punchy as other novels might be, but that helped make it feel like its own legend or myth. But this one, we "zoom in," in a way, on the heroine, and see her thoughts and struggles. The plot gets a slow start, but halfway is when Maya's life starts to go even more nuts than it has been. ;) That's when things unravel and left me like "HOLD UP WHAT."

But my favorite part of the book was the writing. Oh my gosh, I was in love with the gorgeous descriptions, and the worldbuilding. The settings were so magical and rich and gorgeous, and I loved the imagery. It all came together in my mind easily, and it was just beautiful. :3 The worldbuilding was fascinating, too, with the Night Bazaar and Amar's peculiar castle. Honestly, I could've read a whole book just exploring the bazaar and castle alone.The culture (both the human world and the more "magical," other world) was beautiful, and fun to explore.

The setting was its own character, in a way, and it helped convey the mood. There were two moments in the Night Bazaar that really pointed this out to me. One was when the bazaar was bright, magical, wonder-filled, a little dark and weird. The other was when things were dull, lifeless, dead. It was a striking contrast, and it helped instill the proper mood of the story. Yet another reason I fell in love with the writing.

Maya's character was interesting to me, in that she seemed like a much quieter heroine. She wasn't very bold (though she does have her moments), and often isn't sure of herself, though she does know what she wants. Her arc, while I liked it and made her feel more whole, seemed a little unclear sometimes. I wasn't sure where these flaws were coming from, though eventually I could kind of see?

Amar was interesting, but his character was simple, though shrouded in a lot of mystery (and that twist though just had me kind of reeling XD). It's similar to Maya, maybe, but that also lends itself to its legend-feel. It's not necessarily supposed to have a big, complex plot or development.

I liked the banter between Maya and Amar. It wasn't like Maya's and Kamala's (a sassy talking horse), where it made me laugh. Maya and Amar were clever with their words, kind of playing with them. I liked it (but I'm also glad Kamala added the funny banter XD). Their relationship was a little odd at first (we're as much in the dark as Maya is), but I really liked it when they connected. It was sweet.

And dang, Amar knows how to say beautiful things. I was taken by him. XD

The plot developments were good, too. I really liked Nritti's involvement, and how that played out, and how things got deeper the more I understood past events (again, it's more of a legend in feel, so it works somehow). It was a good development. B) In some ways, the story reminded me a little of Beauty and the Beast (though vaguely) and Howl's Moving Castle, which made me enjoy it even more.

Violence/gore: Fighting breaks out when Maya is to pick a husband. There's a lot of fighting, and blood, it usually any gore isn't described in detail. Maya tells a story that gets gory at the end (but again, it's not detailed). She witnesses the dead walking, and she sees their death wounds. Their are monsters who fight amongst themselves, and it can get a little bloody in places.

Profanity: Nothing I can recall.

Sexual content: Maya says it's better to spread ideas than legs. The harem wives imply painful intercourse on a girl's wedding night. Maya and Amar share several kisses.

Other: Kamala (a demon horse) pees on Maya's half-brother. The religion/philosophy in may not agree with all readers (I think of Christian readers, in particular).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)

Karou lives two lives: An art student on the one hand, and on the other, a collector of teeth for a chimaera called the Wishmonger. But of course that all changes when Karou's cut off from one part of her life, and an angel takes a strange fascination with her...

One thing I liked about Karou's character was how she was so utterly chill about going to and from the two sides of her life. She has to keep Brimstone (the Wishmonger) and the teeth and all that secret from everybody else, and her mannerisms, blue hair, and her peculiar artwork draw questions, so do her sudden disappearances whenever Brimstone sends her off on errands. But whenever questions from humans come up, she basically gives them the truth. But she adds a funny little smile that makes people disbelieve her. It was an amusing trait, which I liked seeing, instead of her trying to evade questions awkwardly or somesuch.

The plot was pretty intense, with chaos and trouble snowballing bigger and bigger with Karou struggling to find footing. But then it kind of slams to a slower pace as her relationship with Akiva, a seraph (angel) who feels as drawn to her as she to him. It was good to see things between them unfold and become explained (which explain a LOT of the insta-love feel I'd been getting watching him go on about the "pull" to each other), but I was antsy to get back into the main plot and get that ball rolling again.

It didn't, unfortunately, but the flashbacks provided a lot of information we needed. It also afforded me a grand view of Akiva and Brimstone's world of Eretz, and the war raging there. The worldbuilding was amazing and complex and fascinating, especially as I got answers to things I needed answers to. It was really neat to explore that world. I also loved the descriptions of Earth-side settings (Prague's descriptions were freaking gorgeous), but I loved especially the worldbuilding of Eretz.

Those flashbacks also crushed my heart when I didn't expect it to. So there's that. XD

The romance, while it was sweet, felt insta-lovey to me. Before things started unfolding I didn't know why the heck Karou and Akiva were going on about how they felt "pulled" to each other, or how his eyes always burned or how her water looked like a river (that sort of description has always felt over-dramatic to me, though, so it might be just me). Afterward stuff made a lot more sense, but even then some things felt too romantic way too fast. I dunno.

My favorite character was Brimstone. He seemed like a mentor kind of character, which I tend to love a lot. XD At first I was a little conflicted about him, unsure where he stood on things, but later I loved him again. He is precious grump. He had a lot of good bits of advice for Karou, too, which is what first drew me to him.

So basically give me a mentor-figure character who is fatherly but also part-grump and I'm kind of sold. XD


Violence/gore: There's a lot of violence, but nothing it described in great detail. Karou has to fight several enemies, and can get rather ruthless. A character leaps to their death off a rooftop. There's a war between seraph and chimaera, and both sides suffer losses. Akiva is wounded in one battle flashback. A character is tortured in another scene.

Profanity: A**/jack***/a**hole, b******, hell, and d*** are used. God's name is misused.

Sexual content: No sex "on screen," but it tends to be implied or referenced to in dialogue or narrative. Kaz does appear nude at the beginning of the book. Characters having had sex is implied. But there is nothing explicit shown or told to us.

Other: Characters smoke. Brimstone and the other chimaera may be seen as demons, working with witchcraft, since they're creatures fighting angels; however, Laini Taylor's angels are NOT God's angels. Karou steals wishes from other people, and seems to show no regret or guilt for it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beautiful Books - NaNoWriMo 2017 - Cowboys and Dragons

National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner (!!!), and once more, Cait and Sky are hosting a link-up so we writers can flail about our projects, about how unprepared we might be, or how pumped we are regardless.

This will be my third year participating in NaNo, and I'm doing a story that I actually had considered doing for my very first year, but got bumped for the steampunk murder mystery.

But this year, I'm doing what I hope will be super fun and super hilarious. It takes a ton of cliches/tropes of two genres and mashes them up, with a few original twists to keep it fresh. ;) I don't have many pictures, as I've done very little searching for character references. Sorry. XD

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I'm not sure what exactly inspired this project. Maybe I just wanted to see what fairytales and the Wild West would do when mashed up. XD I've had this idea for at least two years, but I've had so many other projects going on it's always been pushed to the backburner.

2. Describe what your novel is about!
Once Upon a Time at High Noon

Hiko is a knight in shining armor whose armor has yet to be truly tested, but he gets the chance to when Princess Jia has been kidnapped by a fire-breathing, gold-hoarding dragon. Mason Thomas is a loner who wanders into the town of Rebirth, where he finds a gang of bandits exploiting the town's resources and their leader taking a fancy to the undertaker's daughter, Paisley Burnn.

Both men decide to take action. But when they're suddenly transported into each other's shoes, they have to cope with an environment not their own, and enemies they don't have a clue how to fight.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Pretty much sums it up. Dunno 'bout you but I'm pumped.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
(Bear with me. I don't know much about these people yet XD)

Our leading gentlemen!
Hiko: A knight who desperately wants to prove himself, and rescue the woman he loves. Before someone else snatches her away forever...
Thomas: A loner, and bit gruff. He's practical, and has a good sense of justice. He's a well-behaved gentleman, though he has his faults (don't let him be at the tavern too long). But he prefers to mind his own business.

The leading ladies!
Princess Jia: A lady who is a damsel in distress, but may not be as weak as most of her suitors thinks her to be. She's been kidnapped by a dragon, but she's not going to wait around for her knight in shining armor. Swordplay is preferred over singing or art, and it may just give her the upper hand.
Paisley: A spunky girl who longs for more than helping her father measure coffin sizes. Despite her sometimes morbid sense of humor (she blames her father), Paisley is kind, and cares fiercely for her town and will fight for it until her guns are empty and her blood runs dry.

And our villains!
Ren and the dragon: Are they in cahoots? Who's calling the shots? Are they the same? Are they two separate villains with their own agendas? Who knows?
Duke: Intimidating leader of the bandits that essentially run the town of Rebirth. He's stern, doesn't like people disobeying his rules or even questioning them (anybody who does either will likely get shot). He's also got an eye for the undertaker's daughter.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Usually, I do some brainstorming to find ideas and a direction, and work out character personalities or any arcs. Then once stuff gets clear in my head, I'll probably make a light outline (K.M. Weiland's resources our outlining have been excellent).

I did a little bit of research, to find lot of cliches/tropes for the two genres, since those will be playing a big part of the novel (but in a humorous way). Though that was pretty easy.

Any snacks will come to me as I acquire them, I suppose. XD

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Probably watching Hiko and Mason interact with the world of the other. It'll be really hilarious to watch Hiko learn to shoot, and Mason being confused by medieval times. XD

It's gonna be awesome, guys.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Dragon lairs
Train tracks

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Hiko must rescue the princess. A dragon and an evil wizard wants the princess too. But now, he's stuck helping a town in the middle of nowhere with gun-wielding bandits.

Mason wanders into town and is challenged by Paisley to do the right thing. Before he can decide, he now has to decide whether or not to rescue a princess he's never even seen before.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Uhh.... unsure yet. I think, though Hiko will become more confident and sure of himself, and Mason may open up more, and give more of himself.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
Uhh.... unsure on those right now too. XD Perhaps giving of yourself...? I haven't explored themes yet.

What about you? :D Tell me about your NaNo projects! Or if you're not doing NaNo this year, what projects are you working on? :D What themes do they have?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review: Rebel of the Sands (Alwyn Hamilton)

Middle Eastern-esque fantasy with a Wild West vibe. A scrappy sharpshooter of a girl. A rebel prince leading a bunch of magical misfits.

Yea, it's about as cool as it sounds.

When I first jumped into this, it was a little confusing. The worldbuilding is still a little confusing for me, with a few terms of objects I'm not sure how to imagine, but I still loved the world. Its desert/wild west feel was a unique flavor. At first glance it appears magic-less, but then you learn about different creatures that obviously have a magical quality about them.

Another thing about the worldbuilding is that there were several different countries, and it was interesting to see how they all had such different beliefs on the creation of the world. I dunno why that stood out, but it was neat. I do wish, though, I had a map. The world felt so complex and vast that I wanted a map to orient myself in it.

Amina was a fun character. She's scrappy, and doesn't let her world's social norms keep her down (her world is very sexist). I loved her and Jinn as a combat duo. They worked together so well, and I loved their banter (so much sass). So I could have done without the romance, but it's sweet too, and I like the initial hurdles they had. It felt natural and expected, and their responses to it at first felt natural too.

The Rebel Prince, however, is where my heart is (Amina can have Jinn!). I thought his reasons for his rebellion felt unique to others I'd seen, and I just loved the atmosphere he tended to give off. He was a source of calm, usually. I like him. :3

I'm interested to see where the story goes. And see where this new plot development goes, too. o.o Amina's got a lot ahead of her, methinks.

Violence/gore: Character take part in fights. A character's wrist is broken, another's leg is shot. Amina is beaten a little. People are shot/injured often, but usually there's not a lot of detailed description.

Profanity: Instances of hell, d***/g**d*****, b****, and p***.

Sexual content: Usually, it's mostly implied references to sexual situations (often having happened in the past). Amina and Jinn kiss. Twin characters, who are shapeshifters, are naked in human form, and no one seems to have an issue with it. Women in this world are seen only as objects, for marriage and childbearing.
      Trigger warning: There are some instances where rape is implied. Nothing "on-screen." It's mostly just narrative about past events.

Other: Lots of drinking. Gambling occurs. Amina's uncle has many wives (that seems to be a common thing in Amina's world). A character, a half-Djinn, is a shapeshifter, and can take both male and female forms, and is called male or female depending on the form (might not be a big deal to some readers, but just in case).

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: Rules for a Knight (Ethan Hawke)

Basically, this is a book from a knight to his kids, full of nuggets of advice for life. And it's actually pretty good advice for anybody today to follow. It covers topics from bravery, gratefulness, chivalry, general kindness, and other bits of simply good advice. Sometimes the narrator explains his points, but often he has a story to illustrate, about his mentor, an old knight full of the wisdom the narrator imparts to his children.

I enjoyed the little stories the narrator used to illustrate his points. His grandfather (his mentor) was a nice character to read about. He was very wise, but he also had a sense of humor that made me smile. Like when he was offered a religious position but declined it. Do you know what one of his reasons was?

"I've never known a funny bishop."

I swear I'm adopting this man as honorary grandfather.

The book was also useful to me as a writer, because I've got a character who is a knight (a lady-knight, but still), so it was kind of fun to read this from the POV of a knight, and his receiving all of this advice. Pretty sure this would be a book she would read. ;)

So if you want a book full of nuggets of wisdom in a medieval setting, might I suggest this book? ;) It doesn't replace the Bible's wisdom, of course, but Rules for a Knight offers its own set of advice that's pretty common sense for being a good person overall. ;)

Since this was kind of written like a "nonfiction" book, there's not much that's questionable, from what I recall. :) There are some characters who fight, and many of them the narrator reports to have died, but nothing is described. There might be mention of drinking, but even then I don't recall anything specific. It's a pretty clean read.