This is a novella I have in the works. The plot revolves around two amateur journalists trying to solve a murder on their own when the increasingly dyThis is a novella I have in the works. The plot revolves around two amateur journalists trying to solve a murder on their own when the increasingly dystopian authorities in their country fail them, and try to cover it up. It's a smash-up of science fiction, dystopian and mystery. This is just a pet project, but I thought it might be neat to keep progress on it here. This should be young adult friendly, and there's no romance sub-plot (the mood of this just does not fit for one), so you shan't have to worry about love triangles. ;) It's inspired by a lot of retro sci-fi-horror movies like They Live, Soylent Green and Fantastic Planet....more
"Four years ago this had been a fantasy. Trapped on a beach with nothing but a gut wound, her best friend, and this very ship in pieces. Caledonia cou"Four years ago this had been a fantasy. Trapped on a beach with nothing but a gut wound, her best friend, and this very ship in pieces. Caledonia could only dream of the day she had the means to stand up and fight. It had come sooner than she could have hoped, the morning Pisces looked at her square in the eyes and said she wanted revenge. It came as they bent their minds to the task of recovering their ship. It came one girl at a time."
Oh, I am conflicted. Flighty as the tides that carry in the flotsam and treasure alike. Let me just say that I adore this novel. In most aspects, I do. But the traits I didn't like are extremely troubling in a relentless way that niggles at the back of your head. This book is its own contained Stop & Go Station, a whiplash of dark and urgent and whimsical and tranquil that is still somehow extremely addictive either way it goes. But it also makes you nervous because it's very obvious when someone's bound to die.
I really appreciate the simpler prose. Parker doesn't inject what is really a pretty straightforward story with lacy, flowery padding. My biggest issue was how the characterization was handled, but I'll get to that. The plot of Seafire concerns a young woman, Caledonia, who along with her best friend, Pisces are the sole survivors of a massacre upon their ship, in some kind of apocalyptic era where the world is extremely hot and oceanic. The waters are controlled by a warlord named Aric Athair who forcibly recruits children and turns them into soulless murder machines.
The praise suggested it was inspired by the film Fury Road, which I was afraid, because it was the praise that compared the two, that Seafire would just be a straight rip-off. Thankfully, it's not, though there are distinct shades of that movie in this. If you liked it, you'd probably like this too. I did, anyway.
I'll stop stalling and get to my problems, though I don't want to. I'll admit that I'm willing to ignore lackluster characterization if the book is otherwise really enjoyable, which in this case it is, but Seafire's only true, genuine weakness is not giving enough time to flesh out one character before introducing three more. Like, in the beginning when we're getting to know Caledonia's crew, and several people are starting to be introduced, like Amina and Far and Redtooth, and then a character who is developed only to die immediately after, and then several more crew members come onto the scene. I feel like too much time is spent on minor characters and so in the end we're acquainted with the main cast, but barely more than the one-shot characters. I generally liked all of the characters, but it's difficult to get attached to anyone when they may or may not even show up again.
What makes it so prominent I think, is that Caledonia's character is actually extremely well-written. She's definitely an anti-heroine at best, with a strong essential sense of morality but hoist by her own prejudice and misgivings quite often. I like that they gave the protagonist realistic strengths and faults and had a decent all-female cast without like, shilling this cynical message about "girl power" that's pervasive in modern young adult books. The Mors Navis crew are strong because they work for survival, and they have their weaknesses as anyone else does. And Caledonia isn't always in the right, either. In the beginning she's pretty sexist, hardhearted and bloodthirsty. You know, a pirate. Then I think it begins to dawn on her that there is more depth to even her enemies than she dares to seek out.
Oh, and the introduction of the love interest for Caledonia severely disappointed me. Caledonia and Pisces should have been the romance, even if just a platonic girlfriends thing, because the alternative does not make sense. I can't say it and not spoil a major factor of the story, but the budding romance at the end sucks. Caledonia and Pisces known each other since birth, practically. And their dialogue edges on romantic and intimate nearly every scene. How are they not a couple?
All my character ranting aside, I did ultimately have a lot of fun reading Seafire and I would recommend it. Despite my conflict with certain things, unless they somehow metastasize in the next book, I will call this one a favourite. The blend of genres is interesting and unpredictable, and it flows so easily that despite the size, it could probably have flown by in a few hours before you knew it.
"I'm a lone palm tree towering over grassy fronds of rice in a paddy field, yearning to touch the sky although I get lonelier the higher I go."
A Time"I'm a lone palm tree towering over grassy fronds of rice in a paddy field, yearning to touch the sky although I get lonelier the higher I go."
A Time to Dance has a simple but absolute beauty. It is a captivating portrait of the rise, fall and spiritual rebirth of a young dancer, Veda, who loses her leg to an accident, yet is more determined than ever to dance. Veda's dance is so valuable to her, so demanding of her body and spirit, that any pride that held her back before is no longer worth losing it.
I pretty much devoured this book in a night. I love the way this story is captured in loose but flowing prose that blossoms as naturally as flowers. The relationship with Veda and her grandmother was especially beautiful, always an offset to the strained feelings Veda seems to grow with everyone else.
The character development is well-executed, showing whose heart is shallow and whose is true when they treat her differently after her accident. Veda feels as if she is re-enacting in her own life, a smaller and more human version of the epic poetry she portrays on stage. The intertwining parallels between the narrative and Hindu mythology are creative, I have to say, and I also appreciate that the romance was not written at the forefront of Veda's achievements.
"The strangers' presence feels warm as a blanket, but not warm enough to thaw the sea of unshed tears frozen inside me."
I don't like to compare this novel with one of my most loathed, because I enjoyed A Time to Dance quite a lot, but it reminds me of a more sensitive, good version of Izzy Willy Nilly. They're both about a promising athlete losing her leg and having to prove herself capable. I realize what I hated so much about Izzy Willy Nilly is that the protagonist never does overcome her struggle. That book was uncomfortably focused on blaming her for her misfortune. So much victim-blaming. There was nothing meaningful but reliving someone's pain, with no hope nor retribution towards the one actually responsible for the accident.
Venkatraman's poem avoids all of that to tell a personal saga, and is so much better for it. The characters are well-rounded, realistic, and importantly, it accepts that sometimes misfortune can just happen. That it's something we all have to triumph at some point in one way or another, and it tells so beautifully. You definitely should read this, if it interests you in any way. It's very difficult to find much to dislike about, and is one of the better free verse novels I've picked up.
"Mukam karothi vachalam; pangum langayathe girim. - God's grace moves the mute to eloquence and inspires the lame to climb mountains."