I have a working title for the sequel to The Shepherd of the Damned....
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER!
I even have a premise in my head. I'm planning on at least three books in the series to make it a cute little trio.
Just thought I would share.
Oh, just fyi (for the half-dozen that I know of that read this blog) I am going to collaborate with a friend of mine on making a site for my book because A) It's more profesh (as my friend called it) than a blog which was my other option, B) I'm excited to get the ball rolling on it, and C) I want to give my work some more exposure. I will keep ya'all posted on it. Once it is up and running this blog will be mainly for my rants and all the updates about my book(s) will be on there.
For those of you that have read my rough draft* you will probably be disappointed, but I'm going to tell you anyway...Eli McCarthy, the hunter, is not going to be in the first book.** There's just too much going on right now for me to add him in. And his story is far too complex for me to just throw him in just for the heck of it. So...he will be in the sequel for sure.
Update on the rewrite: I'm currently on Chapter Seven, sitting at approximately 21,000 words which translates into roughly 85 pages in a mass-market novel. I'm bound and determined to push through and get this thing done.
My goal for the completion of the rewrite is June 1, 2010. After that I'm going to do some polishing up, have some helpers edit the thing, and then I will work on sending it to publishers.
The end is near! Keep your fingers crossed, my friends!
*For those of you who have not read the rough draft, none of this paragraph will really make sense but that's ok. Right?
**Kelli, I know you wanted Eli and Waitress Kelli to run away together but that isn't going to happen...at least not in this book. However, it is still a possibility.
The playlist at the bottom of the blog is the soundtrack to my book. Nerdy, I know. But it was fun for me to think of songs that go along with it. Some of them don't go really well but they are songs that have inspired me during the writing of it or they convey a feeling that I want in the book. There are several other songs that I could not put on the playlist because I could not find them on the playlist site. So...these are the ones that made the cut.
1. Eyesore by Janus......Janus is a new discovery I made and I love their sound. 2. I'm Not in Love by Tori Amos......Gotta have Tori somewhere on there. 3. Letter from a Thief by Chevelle......Absolutely love Chevelle. 4. So What I Lied by Sick Puppies......Can't get enough of these guys either. 5. Playing God by Paramore......Not a favorite song of theirs but the message in it seems to be something Dylan would say to Sebastian. 6. Snuff by Slipknot......Very powerful song. 7. Scream with Me by Mudvayne......Not my usual band of choice but this song is great. 8. Dance with the Devil by Breaking Benjamin......A song from this album has to be on the soundtrack because BB has been a very influential part of my creative process during this project. 9. Feel Good Drag by Anberlin......This conveys more of a feeling rather than anything in the song that goes directly with the book. 10. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga......LOVE this song. It speaks volumes and can also be Sebastian and Dylan's theme song. 11. Blind by Ke$ha......Kesha is pretty rockin'. This song makes me think of Rachel. 12. Break the Ice by Britney Spears......Just cuz I like the song. 13. Chasm by Flyleaf......Also conveys a feeling but Flyleaf would definitely have to be on the SotD soundtrack in some aspect. They rock.
I find myself arguing with Gigi more and more. Mostly it's because it's fun and she actually puts up a fight. So there's the entertainment value. And also she's going to need to be able to stand up for herself in this family. So here are some of the latest arguments I've had with my niece:
(I cleaned my disaster of a room today. She comes down to my room with a popsicle.)
Me: I don't want you to have that in here, Gigi. I just cleaned.
Gigi: (gives me her big doe-eyed stare as if I'm speaking Russian)
Me: Seriously. Finish it and come back. (I knew she wanted to get on my bed which is why I was putting up a fight. Preventive measures.)
Gigi: But I want to. (That's usually her answer to everything.)
Me: But this is my room.
Gigi: This isn't your room!
Me: Umm...Yeah it is.
Gigi: No it's not. This is Papa's room.
Me: I don't think so.
So I dropped that argument and only a few minutes later we had this one:
Gigi: Your room is stinky.
Me: My room's not stinky.
Gigi: *sniffs* Yeah it is.
Me: You mean it smells good because I just cleaned and dusted and everything?
Gigi: No it's stinky.
Me: You're stinky.
Gigi: No I not!
Me: Yeah you are. I can smell you from here. (She really wasn't stinky. Part of the fun about arguments with Gigi is that she and I have the same sense of humor. Sad to think that I have the same humor as a 2 year old. Oh well.)
I won that one because she gave up first. HA!
The other day she pointed to an obviously purple item (I can't remember what it was. All I know is it was purple.)
Gigi: I like that blue!
Me: That's purple, Gigi.
Gigi: No it's not. It's blue.
Me: I'll compromise (Yes, I use big words with her. Call me crazy. She doesn't know what I'm talking about.), it's purple-blue.
Gigi: That's not purple. It's blue.
Me: Ok. It's blue.
Sometimes I just give up because I realize how silly it is to argue with a 2-year old.
Gigi: I'm not two! I'm two and a half!
I think I should top arguing with her but...it's too much fun. Besides, I think it's good for her.
Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. She was an accidental find as I've mentioned before. After my recent run-in with terrible books I wanted to read something I knew would not disgust me; I knew Jodi Picoult had enough talent to develop her characters in a realistic and smart way. She takes controversial issues and gives them a voice and a face, making the reader a part of the issue as well. That's part of the beauty of a Picoult book.
Salem Falls is a captivating novel that explores the effects of rape from all different angles. You have different types of victims in a rape case. Each victim type is represented in Picoult's novel:
Addie Peabody. She is an actual rape victim. In high school she was gang-raped by jocks. She shows the effects of a victim but Picoult actually fails to explore her side in quite the extensive way she explores the others. Her daughter, who was conceived in the rape, died and is the only good thing that came out of the experience.
Jack St. Bride. He is the wrongly accused. Victimized by young girls with crushes. One girl actually believes they're in love and it goes too far, leading an innocent man to spend eight months in jail and ruining his reputation and his life forever. The other girl has more malicious intentions but they are never quite discovered until the last page of the book.
Catherine Marsh. The accuser who is in love with her assaulter. Her story is a little unbelievable and I wonder how stupid St. Bride had to be to do any of the stuff he did for her. He's her coach and her teacher, for crying out loud, and he takes her to get birth-control pills once he finds out she wants to go all the way with her boyfriend.
Gillian Duncan. The malicious accuser. Sometimes in rape cases a girl will accuse a man of rape out of anger. The whole book we think this is why Gillian is doing this but then, like I mentioned, the last page gives the reason.
The Fathers. A lot of the story is centered around different relationships which is a trademark for Picoult. A big relationship set that she explores is that between father and daughter.
Jordan McAfee. The defense. I can imagine it would be hard to be a defense attorney especially when defending the accused rapist. Jordan is a somewhat likable character but it is never quite certain whether or not he actually believes Jack. He does his job as a defense attorney but I kept wanting him to say "I believe you."
Matt Houlihan. The prosecutor. He's not a likable character at all and I wonder, still, why Picoult chose to do it that way. I suppose it was to create even more sympathy for Jack, but she tries to create sympathy for him by showing his baby daughter.
Okay. Now with the review.
I don't think this was up there with some of her better novels like Second Glance or My Sister's Keeper, but it was captivating enough that I wanted to know what was going to happen. She makes you care about the characters right off the bat and her dialogue is realistic and intriguing.
There are laughable moments that are not meant to be laughed at. It sounds bad but I laughed when Addie Peabody tells Jack that she was a rape victim. All of it just seems to coincidental and then begins to read like a parable rather than a novel. In essence the characters become too symbolic and archetypal to be believable.
Then there's the Wiccan stuff which is interesting but it seems to take over the story sometimes.
All in all this was all right book. I would recommend it, but it's not her best. If you want to read Picoult I would recommend other books of hers before this one.
(I think I need to come up with a rating system for my book reviews. Just a side note. If you have any suggestions, let me know!)
Ok, on a final note (SPOILER ALERT) I have to say, Jodi Picoult slipped in a nasty little surprise at the very end. I'm talking the last paragraph. I had to re-read it to make sure I read it right.
There's a random scene with Gillian and Amos, her father, that didn't seem to fit (by the way, this book is full of random, seemingly useless scenes namely when Roy Peabody interrupts court to bring muffins. What the--?). At the very end of the book we see Gillian all upset and then her father comes into her bedroom in just a robe and then he kisses her full on the lips. Sick. So you're left thinking...Amos Duncan has been sexually abusing and raping his daughter this whole time. No wonder she has such malicious intent against Jack who represents everything she hates about her father. And she realizes that she can actually control Jack by accusing him of rape whereas she is too afraid to accuse her father. Interesting point but I think she could have played it better than suddenly throwing it in at the last paragraph.
One great thing about this novel is that it's a modern-day witch trial. Picoult says, about the book, that she wanted the witches to have their turn to point their fingers. It's a very cool, modern, and somewhat refreshing take on the Salem Witch Trials but the ending is a little too anticlimactic and predictable with just a random, disgusting surprise at the very end.
When I went to Utah this last time I went to lunch with Kelli Buttars (more commonly known as just Buttars, Kell, Red, etc). We had a good ol' time and I saw parts of Draper UT I've never seen before as we drove to a little used bookstore to which Kelli was taking some old books of hers that she was not going to read or had read and didn't wish to re-read. Now, it's not that this is a new concept for me, because it really isn't. I was just inspired to follow Kelli's example and get rid of the books on my shelf that fit this criteria:
A. I had read and was not impressed.
B. I had tried to read and could not finish.
C. I was too embarrassed to say I read them because they were so horrible.
D. I had not read them but had no desire to read them.
E. I had not read them and they looked dumb to me now.
Basically if I looked at the book and thought "What was I thinking?" then it went in the pile to be taken to the book exchange. I've yet to box them up and do it so they sit in an obnoxious pile in my bedroom, waiting to be sent to the orphanage for books.
I think my trip with Kelli was just the beginning and then I read (or tried to read) three horrible books (see previous post from March 12th) and decided I had had enough. I am going to be more selective with the books I purchase and read. AND I am NOT going to force myself to finish a book. Why suffer? I mean. Really.
I will report my earnings once I take this pile of books to the bookstore. There are (let me count) 41 books in my pile. Hopefully I can get someone to take them. If not, I guess they are going to be donated to the Deseret Industries.
THIS IS MY 100TH POST! Never thought I would make it here.
First I'd like to thank God, my family, my producers Wayne and G-Funk...
Oh wait. Heh. Wrong speech.
Ummm...I'm going to cut to the chase. This is what the post is really about:
JAMES PATTERSON, CHARLAINE HARRIS, AND BRAD THOR
1. James Patterson
Dear Mr. Patterson,
I see your books everywhere and they always look so exciting to me. Awhile ago I thought I would give you a try and picked up the first two books in your Maximum Ride series. It's a great idea. Kids being experimented on by some evil scientists, they broke out somehow, and then have to rescue one of their own when they are found again. The wing thing is really cool because, let's face it, who wouldn't want wings? Well, temporarily. I don't think I would want wings all the time. Just when I want to go places really far, really fast.
I am currently over 100 pages into the book and I am soooo bored. Maximum annoys the heck out of me. Why did she decide to save Ella when she was clearly distraught over losing Angel to the Erasers? WHY? Who is this girl? She's obviously important if she's got a whole series. Yet, 100 pages into it, I don't feel like I should care about her. At all. Same goes for the rest of the characters. Really the only one that interests me at all is Fang and that's because he hardly talks. I probably relate to him the most because he is so annoyed with the rest of the flock. (Btw, Flock? Really? Flock of sheep. Or were you thinking flock of geese? It would have been cooler to have them call themselves, I don't know, not a flock.)
And what is with Gasman? Granted, it's kindof funny. But really? What is the purpose of having a farty little kid?
Iggy is cool because he's blind. But this flaw never seems to faze him. At least it hasn't yet. Meh.
Nudge. Another annoying character that does things for no stupid reason. What is her motive? I understand she sees her hometown and wants to find her parents but it feels like you're just dragging out the story just for the sake of drawing out the story. Leave it alone, man. If you wanted to give all this background to the characters, do it before Angel gets captured so I'm not mad at the characters for letting every little thing distract them before they go to save Angel.
Angel. Too malicious and intelligent to be a four year old. Granted, she is supposed to be brilliant and whatever. But I just don't picture even a genius four year old doing half the things she does.
So, Mr. Patterson, I am done reading your book even though I have not finished it. This is a rarity for me but I just don't feel like the story, the characters, nothing in it is worth the suffering.
It's not that I want a lot of depth but is it really too much to ask to get some descriptions of the characters and their surroundings? What about some REASON behind what these characters do? Your characters are way too flighty (that pun was very much not intended).
If this is your best work then I refuse to read anything else done by you.
Have a great day! I'm sure you will continue to make millions off readers who don't know how to tell what is good writing and what is not.
2. Charlaine Harris
Dear Ms. Harris,
Speaking of suffering. I just suffered through the first book in your Sookie Stackhouse novels.
Learn to write, lady.
Bill is dumb. Sookie turns slutty after she has sex with a vampire. The vampires are badass just for the sake of being badass. Boring.
3. Brad Thor
Dear Mr. Thor*,
If you're going to write about Utahns in the first 100 pages of your book and mention the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in any way, shape, or form, you had better have your facts straight. I was disgusted with your treatment of a religion to which I belong. If another religion were handled with such ignorance everyone would be in an uproar, yet it is somehow okay for you to make little unnecessary jabs at the LDS church.
Exhibit A: The little old couple of "Mormons" that get brutally slaughtered because they came home from church early. Yeah. That was abhorrent to me. Not the manner in which they were killed; I don't care about that. What disgusted me was your little tangent about how the woman always defers to the husband, making the LDS church look like it's some anti-feminist organization and it's because of this that the old couple met their gruesome end.
Exhibit B: The cop at the murder scene who gets asked if he's a "member" and the main character is all proud of himself for knowing the lingo. What are we? Aborigines? You feel like you have to speak a certain language to talk to us?
Exhibit C: I don't remember the details of this because by the time I got to this point I was so disgusted with the book, I had to put it down. But there was something about ambulances taking longer on Sundays because it's a church day? WHAT THE HELL? Mr. Thor, do you think Utahns are dumb?
I think this is all a mistake of ignorance. You didn't care if an LDS person picked up your novel. In fact, it seems like you were proud of yourself for what little knowledge you have. Understand your audience when you're writing. The storyline seemed all right but I could not get over the stupidity and ignorance presented about the LDS church.
Only one of the three of the mentioned books was read from beginning to end. I am so, so, so sick of bad writing being praised as wonderful and exciting. Maybe I've become a snob but I don't think it's too much to ask for the books out there to have some sort of depth in them. It's hard not to have some ignorance in books because not everyone knows everything. But when it's done so blatantly...yeah...I have a problem with that. And if you're going to write a vampire book, put a new spin on it. Don't just fit your characters into this little mold of what a vampire should be. Give the reader something more.
If Mr. Patterson, Ms. Harris, or Mr. Thor actually do read this post then I hope they take my words to heart and actually improve their writing.
I vow today that I will avoid bad writing from here on out. I will not force myself to finish a book if it doesn't have well-developed characters, a nice plot with some depth to it, and all the things that people have seemed to have forgotten about. Ya know? The elements that make a good book.
I am an aspiring author and maybe these words will come back to bite me in the butt. Honestly I wouldn't mind if someone wrote a blog like this about my book.
Thanks for listening to me rant and rave. I think this is a lovely 100th post. If I offended anyone...go read the books I mentioned and see if you don't feel the same way.
*Mr. Thor's book I am ranting about is Lions of Lucerne.
I was thinking about how authors visualize their characters. I'm sure each author is different when they think about what their characters look like, what kind of clothes they wear, how they sound when they talk, all that jazz. I used to be able to visualize characters, fully, in my head without visual aid. With my current book I've had to rely more on pictures of actors to get a better picture. I have a vague picture in my head of each character but, in order to solidify it for me, I cast my book with real actors.*
So you get the joy of seeing the new cast list. I say "New" because the casting has changed quite a bit as my idea of each character has progressed. That being said, these are subject to change. And some of them I'm not exactly pleased with yet but they work for the time being. If you have no clue about the characters or whatever this post is just going to be a nice, ho-hum little list for you.
RILEY: Adam Gregory
I know he's on the new 90210 which isn't exactly a positive thing for me but I think he fits the look I picture for the main character.
RACHEL: Hayden Panettiere
Not exactly my first pick but, for some reason, she comes to mind when I think of Rachel. This character has been one of the harder ones to cast.
DYLAN: Evangeline Lilly
The latest face for Dylan is Lost's Evangeline Lilly. I think she's the closest I've found to what I picture in my head. I remember thinking "Why haven't I thought of her before?"
LYDIA: AJ Cook
I have been an AJ Cook fan ever since she played a supporting role in the short-lived series Tru Calling (interesting show, btw, wish it wouldn't have been cancelled). She might be too old to play Lydia for real but her look is exactly what I picture.
KENDRICK: Taylor Kitsch
He's most known for playing Gambit in the Wolverine movie. He would have to lighten his hair but he's got the look and I'm sure he could do the smart aleck thing real well. There is a picture of him with blond hair and it's totally Kendrick but this one shows the attitude better.
ALEX: Zooey Deschanel
Zooey has always been the face of Alex. Even when I was writing the rough draft. She's quirky and pretty enough to play the quirky and pretty witch.
ELI: Henry Cavill
The vampire hunter's face has changed a few times. Henry Cavill works and is possibly my favorite so far.
OLIVER: Zac Efron
He's come a long way from High School Musical which bodes well for him in my book. I think he showed his ability to act in 17 Again. I definitely think he could pull off Oliver and he definitely has the look I picture for him.
SEBASTIAN: Aaron Eckhart
From The Dark Knight it is apparent that Eckhart can play a tortured soul. He has also played many a leading man. It helps, too, that he is blond and very manly looking. It works.
ISIS: Eva Mendes
For those of you who have read the rough draft Isis is Regina. I have changed the name for several reasons (the biggest one being that I'm the author. ha!). I keep going back to Eva when I think of who could play Isis. She has to be a gorgeous, sexy, seductive woman and Eva fits the bill.
HENRY: Wes Bentley
He's already played a creep in Ghostrider. I'm sure he can do it again. ha!
VINCENT: Karl Urban
He's a great actor and is able to change his look in extreme ways which could come in handy were he to play the shady Vincent.
MAMA RAE: Dianne Wiest
She's such a sweet, softspoken lady. I have yet to find a more perfect face for Riley's grandma.
SERENA: Kim Raver
She would have to darken her hair but that's easy. Her face is perfect for Riley's mom. I thought she was great on 24 a few years back.
Wow. I did not realize how many characters I had. Well, I did. I just didn't mean to make you go through ALL that. That's not even all the characters either. Funny, instead of narrowing down to a handful of characters in the rewrite I have created more characters. I'm a mess. I think it's because I changed from first person perspective to third person so it gave me more freedom. So there you go. Let me know what you think of my casting.
*SIDENOTE: I recently had a dream that I am going to turn into a book. In this dream I not only got character descriptions and parts of their backgrounds but I also got a name for one of the characters! That has never happened to me! So maybe it's just this current project that has been harder for me to nail down the characters in my brain. It's still fun to do the casting just for my own entertainment.
I discovered T. Greenwood quite by accident. She was a lucky find though. For some reason I picked up Two Rivers and decided I just had to read it. And I was glad I did. It was a significant book with amazing writing.
I knew Greenwood was coming out with a new book, but I was a slacker and did not know when it was to be released. So I was browsing at Barnes & Noble (a thing I love to do and am well-known for...when friends ask me what I'm doing most of the time the answer is...hanging out at B&N...sad to be so predictable...) and, again, happened upon Greenwood's latest book by accident. It was a sweet surprise. I barely even read, registered, thought about what the book was about because I knew I just had to read it.
Greenwood writes beautifully. Her descriptions are vivid, her characters are realistically portrayed and each have identifiable flaws, and she actually uses symbolism and parallelism! All these things are must-haves for a good book. Symbolism is becoming a lost art in literature, but Greenwood proves that it can make a comeback and there is a place for it.
Enough gushing about this awesome talent (of which I am jealous). The plot of the story, which I really read after I purchased the book (if you know me you know this is really strange for me to do) really hit home for me. It's about a family who take a summer trip to Lake Gormlaith in Vermont in the aftershock of losing their daughter and sister (respectively). The whole time we don't really know what happened to Franny. We just know she is no longer alive and the family is trying to pick up the pieces and stay together.
One of the interesting things about this story is the idea of HUNGER. Greenwood says, in the back of the book, that she became fascinated with it because it is the basest of human needs and something we take for granted. Within the book, the writer father named Sam discovers how hunger plays in religions and cultures with fasting and such. And there were some fanatics who starved themselves on purpose to gain euphoria and something like nirvana.
So there is the idea of literal hunger, right? But then here's where it gets interesting. Greenwood explores the idea of figurative hunger. Each of the characters hunger for something different. Mena, the mother, hungers for affection from her husband. Sam, the father, hungers for the return of his creative juices and the virility (through most of the book he battles impotence)of his youth. Finn, Franny's twin brother, hungers for peaceful sleep, normalcy with his parents, and trust. Throughout the story, each of them try to fulfill their hunger but they go about it the wrong way.
The family is grieving the loss of Franny and, instead of exploring their grief as just plain grief, Greenwood uses HUNGER to explain what they are feeling. When I realized this I came to understand feelings I myself have felt over the last two years.
There is another character, Dale, who also hungers. She is a psychotic fan of Sam's. The reader gets to see her gradual dive into the deep end as she goes from mere fan to stalker to lunatic. She hungers for completion through Sam. I tend to think she sees him as a father figure because her father was never there for her. It's hard to say, though, what is really driving Dale. She, too, goes about fulfilling her hunger in the wrong ways.
I will not spoil the book by telling you how it resolves. Greenwood is a good enough writer that she doesn't really have to feed you the answers but, somehow, you just know. While I don't know which book of the two I've read of hers I like better, I definitely loved this book. It was hard to read at times. I found myself relating to Finn on a figurative level (he turns to drugs for help which is something I will never do and did not do during my own grieving at the loss of my sister). In fact, I found myself relating to all the characters in some way.
(Jay's Note: This is a response to my friend Kelli's blog which can be found on the right under Awesome Blogs: Escapades of a Spinster.)
I'm probably going to get some pretty hefty hate mail from this post.
My friend Kelli is actually one of the most well-read people I know. If not then she is definitely one of the most well-read people near my age. That is why I have sent her my horrible drafts of my novel for some enriching feedback that has, at times, been painfully honest but I enjoy her feedback because I know she knows what she's talking about. It also helps that she is pretty representative of my target audience.
One of Kelli's posts made me think of a theory that I have and I thought my blog would be a good place for me to share it. I have dubbed said theory The Theory of Brooding.
Brooding, according to Webster's Dictionary is being "preoccupied with depressing, morbid, or painful memories or thoughts."
My theory is that, as far as literature is concerned, a hero that is brooding and troubled is one that will attract many a female reader. This, in turn, makes it hard for "normal guys" with relatively no baggage somewhat boring which results in the normal guy having to compete with these fictional heroes. Just like female swimsuit models, comic book super-heroines, and most shows/movies you see in Hollywood give men a messed up ideal of women, books also do the same thing to women about men.
Exhibit A: Mr. Darcy
I have never read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I have seen two of the several movie adaptations. I'm not knocking the classic. I really am not. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the silent type, mysterious and actually treats Elizabeth Bennett pretty poorly at first. So. What's the attraction? Why do so many women go ga-ga over him?
Exhibit B: Edward Cullen
I am in no way comparing Stephenie Meyer to Jane Austen. Edward Cullen is a really flat character while Austen's characters at least have depth to them. Edward the Vampire is far too perfect to be interesting. Yet, as perfect as he is, he still manages to be tortured and brooding. What is with this? I tend to think that Edward is merely a poor imitation of classic heroes such as Mr. Darcy. We all know about the craze for the Twilight Saga and it's not like the teen girls the books are written for really should know any different, but I definitely think it gives an unrealistic view of what relationships should be like. Not to mention the unrealistic perspective of how normal guys act.
Exhibit C: Mr. Rochester
Mr. Rochester is the brooding hero in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Maybe it's just this time period. Women liked a dashing, dark, mysterious hero with a lifetime of secrets to unravel. Honestly, if a girl these days really ran into Mr. Rochester these days they would most likely run screaming.
During some brief research for this post I found what is called a Byronic hero. Named for poet Lord Byron (who is amazing, btw), a Byronic hero typically exhibits several of the following characteristics: * a strong sense of arrogance * high level of intelligence and perception * cunning and able to adapt * suffering from an unnamed crime * a troubled past * sophisticated and educated * self-critical and introspective * mysterious, magnetic and charismatic * struggling with integrity * power of seduction and sexual attraction * social and sexual dominance * emotional conflicts, bipolar tendencies, or moodiness * a distaste for social institutions and norms * being an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw * "dark" attributes not normally associated with a hero, the "anti-hero" effect * disrespect of rank and privilege * has seen the world * jaded, world-weary * cynicism * self-destructive behaviour * a good heart in the end
Huh. Any of those sound familiar to the Exhibits I mentioned? Look at those characteristics carefully. Now, what girl in their right mind would list any of those things in their list of things they want in a future husband? And yet...such is the "ideal" portrayed in romantic literature. I just do not understand.
I like vampire books; call it a guilty pleasure. I'm writing one so I guess I better like them, right? It was the HBO series (not that I've ever seen it but I've seen previews for it) that got me interested in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. Sure I'd noticed them in the store before but I was never all that interested so I guess it was a good move to make it into a series so Harris could attract more readers.
Now, I've read some of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series which were entertaining but I got sick of them. And I even read the Twilight Saga. Don't even get me started on that. So I'm pretty well-versed in vampire books although I've yet to read Anne Rice's famous series.
On to the review. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's a pretty likable character but she seems pretty flat and almost fake. I never really understood her even though the story was told from her perspective. And the attraction she has to Bill Compton, the vampire, is pretty pathetic. It just seems like Charlaine Harris thought, "Hey, I want these two to hook up so I'm going to make them hookup whether they like it or not. The readers will love vampire/human sex." Uhhh...Ya gotta give me more than just this weird lust that they keep calling love. Yeah. Bill suddenly tells Sookie he loves her in a matter of a few pages into the story.
Ok. And what is with vampire book authors having their characters become so slutty after they hookup with the hero vampire? Sookie would be Exhibit A. Anita Blake is Exhibit B. And last but certainly not least Exhibit C is Bella Swan. By far, Anita and Sookie go far more into the slutty thing than Bella but it is still an element in all the books. It just seems like a rehash of the same ol' vampire story. Granted, there's really not much else you can do with vampires except maybe make them glitter, live in cloudy states, and walk around just looking perfect for mere mortals to gawk at them in wonder.
Give me a break. The more I think about it, the less I liked this book because the characters were flat and the story was a little predictable. Harris did get me, a little, with the twist of who the bad guy actually was, but even that felt anticlimactic simply because I didn't even know the antagonist well enough let alone the protagonist to really even care.
Now I thought I would like these books so I bought the first three. I'm rethinking that but I will eventually read the next two just because I have them. They're definitely a light fluffy read. The writing isn't exactly wonderful which actually made me feel great. If Charlaine Harris can get published then I sure as hell can.
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.