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Books of the Month > Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore - Feb 2020 YA BOM - starts 16 Feb

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod


Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

With McLemore's signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jan 08, 2020 09:06AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
What is a BOM (Book of the Month)?

At NRBC we use a more structured approach to our BOMs. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book. We ask for volunteers to write the discussion questions for each section, and to engage with responses from the other readers.

More info under spoiler
(view spoiler)


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Feb 24, 2020 06:26AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
Chapter Breakdown

Date		MPDQ		Pages		Open/close sentence
16&17 Feb Cat 1 - 103 Closes: "The fever is worlds
stronger than any voice or
hand."
****CATCH UP DAY*****
19&20 Feb Cat 104 - 202 Opens: "Emil had known that the
next time he saw Rosella..."
Closes: "He let her go."
21&22 Feb Lexi 203 - end Opens: "The sergeant leads her
out, ..."


Guidance for DQ setters
Aim for a reasonable number of questions: 4 - 5 is typical. Please don't post too many - any more than 7 gets unwieldy!
Use consecutive numbering of the DQs for your days. So, for example, if Day one is posted as questions 1-4, day two should start at number 5 etc.
Don't worry too much about your questions: you aren't being tested on how clever your questions are!
Hints and tips:
- Is there a quote that jumped out at you? Use that in a question.
- What about the characters - do they generate strong feelings? No feelings? - either way, we can explore that!
- What about that plot twist?!
- Explore the writing style: is there an unusual structure being used? what's the tone of voice like? or the point of view?


message 4: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jan 08, 2020 09:06AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
Ruby Coin Book of the Month ~ Ruby Coin Ruby Coin

How to Earn:
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for half DQ participation
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for Writing Disscussion Questions
Ruby Coin 1 Ruby Coin for completing ALL days DQs within month of BOM start
Example of ways to Earn Ruby Coins: (view spoiler)

Learn about Gem coins here


message 5: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Jan 08, 2020 09:07AM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
Volunteers to Write Discussion Questions


message 6: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
.


message 7: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments So um is any else participating in this one?


message 8: by Cat (last edited Feb 18, 2020 05:56AM) (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
oh! hi Jessi! *happy wave*

I've got a copy, but was too depressed by the silence here to actually start reading it (plus am in the midst of The Priory of the Orange Tree which got exciting, so I was distracted)

If you're reading too I'll crack it open with added joy on my way home this evening :)

ETA: I can cobble together a couple of generic questions for part 1 now.....


message 9: by Cat (last edited Feb 18, 2020 08:03AM) (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
DQ Set 1: pages 1 - 103

1. This is a retelling inspired by a true event. Do you like retellings in general? Any favourites you can recommend?

2. The Red Shoes isn't a story I have huge familiarity with - does familiarity with the source material help or hinder you when reading a retelling?

3. The story is structured as a time-slip, with historical sections and the two* modern POVs. Do you like this sort of structure? Does it work here?

4. Do you have a favourite POV / character at the moment? Why / why not?


*that I've seen on a quick flip. as previously mentioned, I've not actually started this one yet...


message 10: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments Hi Cat!! I actually forgot about it (UNO has consumed my life) so I’m going to start this today!


message 11: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 618 comments I’m hoping to participate - I’m just still waiting on my copy of the book. :/


message 12: by Lexi (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments I have a copy and if I get work done today, I can see about reading it this evening.


message 13: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (vlangloisx3) I was planning on this being my first time reading a BOM in this group (at least since 2012 lol), so I'm glad to see that it's still happening! I've only just started the book, but here are my answers to the qs.

1. I do love retellings, but I think it really depends on the book. One of my favorites includes Circe, which is based on Greek mythology.

2. I think the familiarity does really help. I know there was this one book I didn't like because I didn't really care that it was a retelling of the Nutcracker (which for some reason I don't know anything about other than it's ballet). But I think another factor is how the retelling fits within the story. If it's not obvious, and the retelling aspect played a role in me picking up the book, then I probably won't be too happy with it. So I guess the answer is that being familiar with the source material helps but also doesn't help.

3. I don't usually mind the time slip between POVs, but I don't know if it works here yet? I'm having some trouble getting into this book tbh.

4. No favorite POV yet. Since I just started, it's hard to distinguish between the three (?) of them.


message 14: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30933 comments Mod
I've added a catch-up day into the schedule (back dating it!) so the 2nd section questions can be set tomorrow.

Any volunteers to write the 2nd and 3rd DQ sets??


message 15: by Lexi (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments I can do the third. I’ll start tonight.


message 16: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
@Valerie Welcome back to BOM discussions! I really enjoyed Circe too. If you like Greek mythology, have you tried Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls? I've also got A Thousand Ships to read at some point.

A retelling of The Nutcracker? that's such a weird non-story it's hard to see how that would work, unless it's like a lot of the Alice in Wonderland retellings, with it being a spring board to a totally different story (thinking about Alice retellings like The Looking Glass Wars, Alice or A Blade So Black). I'm kinda intrigued now, what that book was!


message 17: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
Lexi wrote: "I can do the third. I’ll start tonight."

you are a star, thank you! :)


message 18: by Lexi (last edited Feb 20, 2020 08:17PM) (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments DQ Set 1: pages 1 - 103

1. This is a retelling inspired by a true event. Do you like retellings in general? Any favourites you can recommend?
I adore retellings and read a lot of them, esp ones that change the story to deal with problematic elements or work with less known stories. I love Circe, Mercedes Lackey's 500 Kingdom series, Till We Have Faces,Uprooted, The Squire's Tale series, The Princess Curse (an all time favorite), Blanca & Roja, Girls Made of Snow and Glass (another favorite). I'm done for now.

2. The Red Shoes isn't a story I have huge familiarity with - does familiarity with the source material help or hinder you when reading a retelling?
I know the story but I am hoping for an non-tragic ending as I have read other books by this author.

3. The story is structured as a time-slip, with historical sections and the two* modern POVs. Do you like this sort of structure? Does it work here?
It took a bit to keep straight and I am not sure we need both modern ones. Emil doesn't add much yet.

4. Do you have a favourite POV / character at the moment? Why / why not?
The past and present female charecter are somewhat similar in voice but Rosella so far. Also, this is the 4th book I have read by this author and their MC's all kind of sound the same.

Edited to fix pronouns (sorry)


message 19: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments DQ Set 1: pages 1 - 103

1. This is a retelling inspired by a true event. Do you like retellings in general? Any favourites you can recommend?

I do like retellings, well I guess I like the idea of retellings. Haven't read one yet that I've just loved. But I still have many popular ones left to read.

2. The Red Shoes isn't a story I have huge familiarity with - does familiarity with the source material help or hinder you when reading a retelling?

I think it can be helpful but I don't think it's necessary. I'm not familiar with The Red Shoes either.

3. The story is structured as a time-slip, with historical sections and the two* modern POVs. Do you like this sort of structure? Does it work here?

I'm fine with this kind of structure though I'm not sure why we have Emil's POV yet. It feels unnecessary right now.

4. Do you have a favourite POV / character at the moment? Why / why not?

I like Lala's POV the most. Seems like the past has a more coherent story line at the moment. My least favorite is Emil's. His just seem bland and not needed. Rosella's sounds similar to Lala's so at times it's hard to differentiate between the two.

So far I like it though.


message 20: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (vlangloisx3) @Cat Thanks! The book was Winterspell, at least I'm pretty sure it was. And I haven't read The Silence of the Girls or a Thousand Ships, but they both look really interesting! I'll have to go check them out.

@Lexi This is my second book by the author and I definitely liked their previous one more than this one. I also feel like it's hard to differentiate between the characters, and I'm already more than halfway through the book. I do like Rosella and Lala more than Emil. Like @Jessi mentioned, I think this could have worked without having Emil as a POV.


message 21: by Lexi (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments I'm set three for today and tomorrow. I just got home from class, as I missed the bus, had to walk home, and I still need to read the rest of the book, so it might be tomorrow.


message 22: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
Set 2 p 104 - 202

5. The POVs are all diverse, including two different ways of living as Roma. The author hasn't exactly spoon-fed us understanding of Romani culture in the text. How do you react to this approach, compared to one that explained terms or issues?

6. The Strasbourg fever and Rosella's dancing don't seem to be the same - the first is very public and contagious, the second is private. Do you have a theory about the fever?

7. The descriptions are very detailed, with lots of colour descriptors. Are you enjoying the language?


message 23: by Lexi (last edited Feb 21, 2020 08:44PM) (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments Last set of questions.
Set 3: p. 203- End of Book

8. How do you feel about the ending? Did you expect it to end that way?

9. On having both the modern and historical stories, did you feel both were necessary? Which one did you like more?

10. Do you generally read author’s notes? If you do or did this time, what do you think about the author adding Romani to the history of the dancing plague?

11. Will you read another book by this author?


message 24: by Lexi (new)

Lexi | 2646 comments Lots of opinions.

1. How do you feel about the ending? Did you expect it to end that way?
(view spoiler)

2. On having both the modern and historical stories, did you feel both were necessary? Which one did you like more?
I thought the modern part was completely pointless and this would have been a great retold fairytale novella without it. I did not feel the romance with Emil and Rosella. I found the moral a little heavy-handed and all the chemistry stuff felt like it was copied out of a high school textbook with little understanding of the purpose behind such tests.

3. Do you generally read author’s notes? If you do or did this time, what do you think about the author adding Romani to the history of the dancing plague?
I always read author’s notes. Sometimes I read them first. It was an interesting mix and I appreciate that the author did make clear what was historical and what was not.

4. Will you read another book by this author?
This is my fourth book and like I said before, it may be my last. The characters are beginning to sound very similar. I might try another historical one but not a contemporary one.


message 25: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (vlangloisx3) 5. The POVs are all diverse, including two different ways of living as Roma. The author hasn't exactly spoon-fed us understanding of Romani culture in the text. How do you react to this approach, compared to one that explained terms or issues?
I think in the beginning I was confused since there were three POVs, but the context helped over time. Although I did assume all three characters were Romani in the beginning, which clearly wasn't the case. I did search up one or two terms that I was unfamiliar with. I think this approach is good, because a lot of the terms can be inferred from the story.

6. The Strasbourg fever and Rosella's dancing don't seem to be the same - the first is very public and contagious, the second is private. Do you have a theory about the fever?
I think the dancing fever was just a fever, or some sort of illness, since it was contagious. I don't have any theories about the Rosella's dancing though, other than magic.

7. The descriptions are very detailed, with lots of colour descriptors. Are you enjoying the language?
The writing style isn't my favorite, but I didn't hate it.

8. How do you feel about the ending? Did you expect it to end that way?
(view spoiler)

9. On having both the modern and historical stories, did you feel both were necessary? Which one did you like more?
I felt like the modern story was unnecessary, especially when near the end of the book, the chapters were only a couple pages long. The POVs kept switching every couple of pages and to me it just seemed really rushed.

10. Do you generally read author’s notes? If you do or did this time, what do you think about the author adding Romani to the history of the dancing plague?
I usually don't read the author's notes, and I didn't with this one either.

11. Will you read another book by this author?
I don't think I enjoyed this book as much as Wild Beauty, but I have heard very good things about The Weight of Feathers and When the Moon Was Ours, but they are now much lower on my priority list unfortunately.


message 26: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments Set 2 p 104 - 202

5. The POVs are all diverse, including two different ways of living as Roma. The author hasn't exactly spoon-fed us understanding of Romani culture in the text. How do you react to this approach, compared to one that explained terms or issues?

I actually would have preferred a bit more information fed to me to understand the characters just a bit better.

6. The Strasbourg fever and Rosella's dancing don't seem to be the same - the first is very public and contagious, the second is private. Do you have a theory about the fever?

The only theory I had at this point was some weird mass hysteria. I did look up the event and read about it and it's an interesting bit of history. It's hard to imagine that something like that could happen where people literally danced themselves to death. And no I didn't think they were connected at all.

7. The descriptions are very detailed, with lots of colour descriptors. Are you enjoying the language?

I do enjoy books with language like this but for this book it almost seemed to be used instead of providing any real details/context to the actual plot of the book.


message 27: by Jessi (last edited Feb 24, 2020 07:35AM) (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments Set 3: p. 203- End of Book

8. How do you feel about the ending? Did you expect it to end that way?

Since it's a fairytale re-telling I was happy with the ending. I did expect a happy ending because as Lexi said, we wouldn't have Emil and his family if they all died in 1518.

9. On having both the modern and historical stories, did you feel both were necessary? Which one did you like more?

I liked the past better. It felt like an actual story with a plot. I felt the present could have just been left out altogether and this could have been a novella instead.

10. Do you generally read author’s notes? If you do or did this time, what do you think about the author adding Romani to the history of the dancing plague?

I don't normally but since this was on audio I went ahead and listened to it. It was interesting but didn't really give anymore to the book so it wasn't necessary to read.

11. Will you read another book by this author?

I've heard her other books are better than this one and I still fairly enjoyed this one, the past POV being it's saving grace, so yes I think I will read another book by this author.


message 28: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
Finally getting around to answering the first two sets, in the hope that it'll guilt me into finishing the book, which I've kinda stalled on :(

DQ Set 1: pages 1 - 103

1. This is a retelling inspired by a true event. Do you like retellings in general? Any favourites you can recommend?

I like retellings. Lately I've enjoyed Christina Henry's takes on Alice and also (and better) Peter Pan - Lost Boy. Also Greek myth retellings, especially from the female viewpoint (A Thousand Ships is on the TBR, and I'm itching to read it). Once & Future is also good - a sci-fi diverse take on the Arthur myth.

2. The Red Shoes isn't a story I have huge familiarity with - does familiarity with the source material help or hinder you when reading a retelling?

It depends on the retelling I think. Some of them - like the Alice ones - work better if you know the source, because Alice retelling tend to extrapolate into a grown-up Alice, so make allusions.
For this one it's almost like she's doing two retellings, of which only one (the historical) is really working for me.

3. The story is structured as a time-slip, with historical sections and the two* modern POVs. Do you like this sort of structure? Does it work here?

In general I like it. Here, though, I'm not sure (at 2/3 point) why we have Emil & Rosella. Rosella's the only 1st person voice, and I'm not sure it's needed - we could have have an omniscient narrator for both past and present and it would have worked fine.

4. Do you have a favourite POV / character at the moment? Why / why not?

The historical POV - it's more compelling all round!

Set 2 p 104 - 202

5. The POVs are all diverse, including two different ways of living as Roma. The author hasn't exactly spoon-fed us understanding of Romani culture in the text. How do you react to this approach, compared to one that explained terms or issues?

I am OK with things not being spelled out (if you read sci-fi you have to go with the flow for at least a little while, and trust that it will either make sense or be irrelevant!), and quite liked the assumption that we'd not need to be spoon-fed. That said, I did look up "Romanipen", because I felt like I hadn't grasped it's meaning properly, when Alifair is mentioned as having Romanipen.

6. The Strasbourg fever and Rosella's dancing don't seem to be the same - the first is very public and contagious, the second is private. Do you have a theory about the fever?

Nope!

7. The descriptions are very detailed, with lots of colour descriptors. Are you enjoying the language?

I do & don't like it. I find it a bit cloying at times: like Jessi said, it's all atmosphere, and not really driving anything. As a pair of novellas (like JY Yang's Tensorate novellas, say) it would probably work, but the whole novel is just a bit too much.


message 29: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (jazzykitty) | 1562 comments Cat wrote: "I do & don't like it. I find it a bit cloying at times: like Jessi said, it's all atmosphere, and not really driving anything. As a pair of novellas (like JY Yang's Tensorate novellas, say) it would probably work, but the whole novel is just a bit too much.

I'm really glad you understood what I was saying lol this is why I shouldn't try to answer DQ's when I'm really tired and about to go to bed.


message 30: by Cat (new)

Cat (cat_uk) | 6675 comments Mod
Set 3: p. 203- End of Book

8. How do you feel about the ending? Did you expect it to end that way?

I expected happy endings, and liked Lala & Alifair's ending. The resolution of Rosella's was too twee? pat? simplistic? for my liking though.


9. On having both the modern and historical stories, did you feel both were necessary? Which one did you like more?

I don't think the modern story was necessary (see above re ending), and those sections annoyed me a bit.
I did also realise that one of my gripes with the present story was that it removed all tension from the historical one - there was no way that all the historical characters were going to die, after all...

10. Do you generally read author’s notes? If you do or did this time, what do you think about the author adding Romani to the history of the dancing plague?

I generally do read them, yes (not acknowledgements mind!) It was nice to have some of the historical facts and changes highlighted.

11. Will you read another book by this author?

Not in a massive hurry to do so, no :(


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