Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z Challenge + Seraphina Book Review


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! This is my first year participating. Basically, we post every day except Sunday, which in April means we'll finish on the 30th. We blog about something each day which starts with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. So, day 1=A, day 2=B, etc. Visit the A to Z blog for more details.

My theme is writing and related bookish things. A pretty vague theme, I'll admit, but as this is a writing/bookish blog, I thought I'd clarify. 

Today's letter: I 
I is for Imagery and Irony.

I had to think harder about this letter than others. There aren't many i terms when it comes to novel writing. In poetry, yes, but unless I wanted to talk about iambic pentameter--don't worry. I didn't!--I had to come up with something else.

It came down to either imagery or irony, so I'm going to do a blurb about each.

I'm going to assume everyone knows what imagery is, but how do you use it to bolster your writing? The answer, aside from the obvious job of description, is in setting the mood. If your character is sad or dour, or something dark is going to happen in the scene, use similar imagery to describe it. You can use the weather, the colors on the wall, or simply dark words to do this. For example, let's say you're writing a scene where something bad is going to happen, but the day is sunny. Maybe describe the sky as "too bright" or the sun as "sinister." (Okay, those could both be lame if not done right, but you get my drift.) Use imagery to set the tone and/or mood of a scene. It's a way to get a feeling across without being too telly about it.

The Irony of Tyrion Lannister
And now for irony. This is not something I think much about when I create my stories, though I know I should. Of course, irony happens naturally in most good stories anyway. The three main kinds are verbal, dramatic, and comic. Irony just means something that isn't like what it seems it should be. Verbal irony can be when the speaker says the opposite of what he/she means (Tyrion Lannister anyone?) or when a character says something in jest, but it turns out to be true. Dramatic irony happens when characters don't know certain facts, but the audience does. Cosmic irony is the idea that larger forces are bringing dark events about. All of these themes happen in stories all the time, whether we mean them to or not. But, including them in your story or the development of your characters can do nothing but make them stronger, so why not?

How do you infuse irony into your writing?

Seraphina Book Review

I've been wanting to read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman ever since I first heard about it, probably a year ago. One of my WIPs involves dragons, so I curious to see how another author would handle the subject matter. Last week, I finally got the chance. (Her take on dragons was actually nothing like mine, which was good to know. ;D)

Unfortunately, I wasn't wowed. 

Don't get me wrong, the book was well-written and the story was cute. But for me, it was almost a little too cute.  

Seraphina is half human, half dragon in a society where such a creature would be viewed as an abomination. She assistant to the court's royal musician, which means she's in the spotlight a lot and has to work to keep too much attention from landing on her. She learns that her grandfather (on the dragon side) who is a violent, dangerous dude, may be scheming to overthrow the dragon/human peace, so she must try to figure out his plans and stop them before they come to fruition. She has a dangerous psychological condition which is a complicated mess that can literally spill out of her psyche at any point. And, she has a thing for the prince to boot.

Obviously, she's got stress.

I always say I'm not a huge fan of young adult. There are many reasons for that. I have very little patience with teenaged angst/high school-esque drama. But I also just like more adult conflicts, reactions, and stakes. I'm not a fan of adult 'content' but sometimes I just want more adult-geared books. Some stories just don't have high enough stakes and they aren't compelling enough for me. Obviously books like Hunger Games and Harry Potter this isn't true of. These had life-and-death stakes and I was in love with these books. Even Twilight, aside from any other issues, had high enough stakes to keep me interested. Most YA books don't.

I kind of felt this way about Seraphina. There was really no high school-type drama at all (high fantasy and all). In fact, there was nothing really wrong with it that I could pinpoint, but for a YA, it almost felt more like a middle grade. It was cutsy, and I was totally rooting for Seraphina, but I just didn't care that much.

That said, if you're into middle grade or very simplistic YA, with a genuinely unique society and a spunky heroine, you'd probably really like this. And I didn't hate it by any stretch. If there's a sequel, I wouldn't be opposed to picking it up. I just didn't love it.

Has anyone else read Seraphina?


  1. Personally I loved it but there is going to be a sequel and I absolutely can not wait! age 15

    1. Glad you liked it, Annabelle. I genuinely wish I had more. That's cool that there's going to be a sequel! Hope you enjoy it too! :D