Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab



Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fantasy Art: Anne Stokes And Her Dragons

Dragon GalleryWater Dragon

Update

HELL-OOOO!!! First and foremost, THANK YOU to everybody who has been supporting me. It means so much and makes me want to try even harder to give you guys good stuff to read! Before I begin the actual post, here's a quick update.

> Writing: I have been writing a LOTT of my novel, which is great because now I feel less guilty about blogging.

> Depression: managing it. I've started taking an illustration class now to help combat the stress and I'm really enjoying it. I'll find something I drew that I'm not ashamed of and post it on my Deviantart :3

> Upcoming Posts: Because of the Fantasy Reading Challenge 2014, there's a lot more posts about books than anything else on this blog at the moment. Now I'm going to pay attention to fantasy in other forms, and this week it'll be fantasy art (I'm still reading books but I'll post about them later). Next week I'll probably get round to doing a tag and an award I've received, and after that, manga.

> Guess What?: Remember Fiction Friday? Well, I'm taking up the mantle again. I'll be focussing on One-Shots and Short Stories, also possibly parts of my novel. It will be Fantasy only, at least for now.


Dragon Gallery: Elegant Dragon

Anne Stokes And Her Dragons


I have seen the work of Anne Stokes all over the internet, both credited and uncredited. I've spotted her on websites and on those twitter cover sites, and I've become so familiar with her work that sometimes I automatically think 'That's Anne Stokes.' without being able to properly explain what it is about her style that's so distinctive.

Then of course there's the dragons. Who doesn't love DRAGONS?! :)

I first heard about Anne Stokes when my eldest sister got her calendar a year or two ago, and I got one the year after. Her images are majestic, gothic, colourful, and best of all imaginative! In that calendar, Water Dragon (at the top) was the pull out poster in the centre and it's still on my wall, I love it to this day. The more I look at it the more meaning I pull out of it and the more little details I spot. But it's my favourite piece by Anne Stokes because A), the image intensifies the bond between the woman/enchantress/priestess/magess and the dragon (probably unlikely, it's a cold-blooded reptilian predator), and B) I love the irony of it being a water dragon, as dragons are usually associated with fire.

The other one close to my heart is Elegant Dragon, because it's an incredibly elegant image and also the dragon is PINK! Every time I see that piece, I'm inspired to write this story I've had in my head for a little while, but I'm making myself wait. I get so easily distracted!

There are five galleries on Anne Stokes' website;  Gothic, Dragons, Fae, Steampunk and Tribal. Without further delay, here's some of my favourites from each. By the way - the girl in Secret Garden was what I always imagined Sansa Stark (GOT/ASOIAF) would look like.



Friends Forever

Secret Garden

Scarlet Mage



Prayer For The Fallen

Summon The Reaper

Spirit Guide



Midnight Messenger

Oak King

Snow Fairy



Yin Yang Protector



Steampunk Angel Poster

The Avenger

The Aviator

To find out more, visit Anne's Stoke' website.


Ashana Lian .

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Children's Book: The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

OH MY GOD, MY HATE ACHES!!!

Oops, I mean my heart. =] After feeling completely irritated and miserable on having my hopes destroyed over Throne Of Glass, last night I read another story that kept me up to half 5 in the morning. I've been curious for a long while, though I was unsure about reading it as it's a children's book. But I haven't had so much fun reading a book in SO LONG!

I am happy beyond words and here is my review.



Just a reminder, this is a spoiler review. 

This book, in terms of plot twists, is INCREDIBLE. As always, I'm looking at it from a fantasy analysis perspective, so I will divulge some of them. But I really recommend you to read it it first, now you know in advance I gave it five stars.

If you want a surprisingly wild and gripping children's fantasy tale, then read the book before you read this analysis, or read another review without any spoilers, which I'm sure will be plenty.


The School For Good and Evil analysis

Image: goodreads.com
Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2013
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Childrens'

Blurb:
Every four years two children are stolen away from Gavaldon, never to return.  Most children fear being taken away to the School for Good and Evil.  But not Sophie...

She has dreamt all her life of being a princess and believes the school could be her chance.

Her best friend Agatha has other ideas.

When the two girls are taken, things don't go quite to Sophie's plan.

Because sometimes, the princess and the witch don't look like they do in fairytales.



This is another one of those Blurb-Is-Different-On-Every-Site books...

So here's the plot. Sophie is an ambitious 12(?) year old girl who had basically prepared herself to go to the School For Good And Evil since day one, although all the other children in her town are terrified of being taken. She befriends a girl called Agatha who's been ostracised by the rest of their little town. Agatha, touched to have finally made a friend, doesn't not realise that Sophie's kindness was her attempt to do a good deed, so she would be noticed by the school master and taken to the S.F.G.A.E.

They do in fact both get snatched, but when they arrive there's an awful mistake - Sophie is put in the School of Evil alongside the sons and daughters of troll, witches and hags; while miserable, suspicious Agatha is put in the School of Good alongside princesses, fairies and fairy godmothers.

First thing's first. For a children's book, I was stunned by how complex this story is. It's as complex as any fantasy book out there, which is why it took me pretty much seven straight hours to read it - I started just after 10pm. I literally (okay, figuratively), COULD - NOT - PUT - THIS - DOWN. There are so many twists in the story I'm a bit scared about revealing all in my usually frank reviews! For once, I don't even want to spoil it for the sake of fantasy analysis - I WANT EVERYBODY TO GO AND READ IT NOW!


Why I loved this book to PIECES

1. Nostalgia.
This story is about fairy tales and much of it relies on your personal knowledge of Disney or classic folk fairytales. With that basis, Soman Chainani really had fun with this concept and naturally EVERYTHING revolves around it; their classes, the way the students behave, their powers, and on. (Again, in the wake of T.O.G., I felt (guiltily) relieved this wasn't a YA, or this whole story might've gone down the toilet.)


2. Putting puns on the mythology.
There's so much to say for this. The students of the School for Evil are called Nevers, and Evers at the School for Good. Animal companions for Nevers include orges, troll, demons, boars and dragons, while the Evers are more likely to have the cute fluffy animals.

Sophie's Schedule (Her dorm is Malice 66)
  1. Uglification
  2. Henchmen training
  3. Curses and Death traps
  4. History of Villainy
  5. Lunch
  6. Special Talents
  7. Surviving Fairy Tales
Agatha's Schedule (Her dorm is Purity 51)
  1. Beautification
  2. Princess Etiquette
  3. Animal Communication
  4. History Of Heroism
  5. Lunch
  6. Good Deeds
  7. Surviving Fairy Tales

In each class, the 20 students are ranked from 1 to 20 based on their performance, and Sophie earns herself a notorious reputation by earning something like four 1's in a row in her first few classes, despite pleading she's meant to be a Princess. Earning '20' three times in a row is an immediate failure and a mortifying punishment, and nobody knows what it is so the threat looms over everyone.


3. School Politics
Who doesn't love a good boarding school story? When Sophie and Agatha arrive, they're flung into school politics where naturally the Nevers and Evers hate each other, but also the Nevers are extremely bitter that Evil has never won a Fairy Tale in two hundred years. In Sophie's class, Lady Lesso referenced many tales where evil wins to boost the morale of the class, but these stories oly exist in other realms and in the real world of 'Woods Beyond', where Sophie and Agatha come from, the only heard-of tales are the predictable classics where good wins; Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White and so on.

There another thing that's amazing. Because Agatha looks and behaves like someone who belongs in the School for Evil, while Sophie firmly believes she is meant to be Princess in the School for Good -

(for pretty much half of the book! I was amazed it was so long before she got annoying, I'd snap far quicker in a YA. And that reminds me of something else. Remember I said Celeana was unbearably childish? Funny thing about that. Sophie is similar, but Sophie is actually a child - with a deluded ambition. Celaena is a seventeen year old master assassin. See why I got a bit pissed off?)

- their respective peers don't like them either, so they're very stuck. Sophie tries an unbelievable number of methods to prove she should be a Princess, and she's repulsed by the villains and murderers she has to share rooms with, who are children of the same. Agatha wants to return to her cat and her home, and keeps trying to prove that she doesn't belong in the S.F.G.A.E. at all. The other princesses repulse her, as does all the perfume and pink and the arrogant, valiant princes.

Here's where it gets funny. Even the students of the school believe there's been a mistake, including Prince Tedros, the top-of-the-class, high-achieving son of the late King Arthur, takes a shine to Sophie and insists there must be some mistake. That's until Sophie starts being able to do incredible things with her powers in terms of evil and earns respect from her peers, and the hate of the former class champ Hester, now her rival. Sophie, who didn't want to be there at all, makes a pact with Hester that if she can prove Sophie's meant to be a Princess, then she'll get her old spot as class queen back. Meanwhile Agatha fails at most of her classes, poor etiquette, poor beautification and everything else, until she accomplishes something amazing. Beatrix, the most beautiful girl of the Princesses, doesn't like Agatha from the start, and the more she achieves the less Beatrix likes her.


4. SO MANY TWISTS!
The drama is so complex, with unpredictable twists and turns and the social climate making it impossible to predict who'll believe who and who will turn on who next. They're clever, fun, and so hilarious that I laughed through sooo much of it. Sometimes I had to remember it was the middle of the night and hush up.

Sophie was smitten with Prince Tedros from the beginning and their relationship goes on a roller coaster, with one extremely interesting bit when Sophie pretends to embrace evil to become popular while also trying to be compassionate and 'good' to win Tedros over, and they do actually become very close which breaks a LOT of both Schools' status quo. As a result, EVERYONE hates them. Nevers hate Tedros because he's a Prince and Sophie because she's a traitor. Likewise, Evers hated Sophie for being a Witch and were also disgusted with Prince Tedros for having the audacity to date one. It was so unforeseen that I just LOVED how everything came to a head in such a way. The tide does change eventually, but I am not giving away ANY MORE of the juicy bits - there are a hell of a lot more!



5. Humour
This book is HILARIOUS. It's one of the reasons I just couldn't put it down.
The first lesson was "Princess Posture", which involved the girls descending the four tower staircases with nests of nightingale eggs on their heads.Though most of the girls succeeded without breaking any eggs, Agatha had a harder time. There were a number of reasons for this: a lifetime of slouching, Beatrix and Reena intently watching her with their new Kinder Smiles, her mind chattering that Sophie would win this with her eyes closed, and the absurdity of a dog barking about posture while teetering on goat legs. In the end, she left twenty eggs bleeding yolk on marble. 
"Twenty beautiful nightingales who will not have life... because of you," said Pollux. (p.114, The School For Good And Evil)
I don't know why I found this so insanely hilarious; I was in tears of laughter at the time. That said, it's funnier in context (Pollux was kinda meant to be the nice head of the two-headed dog), and also I do find things funnier at night.


6. Comfort
This is a story about children. And for children. There are many elements of unpredictability but one thing that's always the same is the characters, or should I say the type of characters. In this way, Sophie was predictable in her nature and that was comforting. At the same time, the circumstances of the story kept altering so much that it soon kept me on edge wondering what this turn of events would lead her to.


7. Nasty Twists
Different from point 4 above, because now I'm not just talking about intrigue but the truly WOAH stuff. Poetic justice in this book is certainly skewed. Another thing I loved about this story was including the grim side of fairy tales on a very real level. When Agatha grants a wish at the fountain in one of her classes, she wishes for the fish to be freed. When she does, she realises with horror that all the animals at the school - including the fairies at the School for Good, wolves at the School for Evil, and gargoyles that guard the schools - were all failed students. And so their punishment for failing is revealed - a lifetime of serving the other side.

There's a lot of death threats hanging about! One teacher called Yula gave an example of a Princess and Prince recently married on their honeymoon, and I think they were killed in the woods! I was like woah! Kids book, really?

One of my favourite nasty twists is that the student of the School for Good aren't really very 'good' at all; Princesses are... well, bitches, and the Princes are extremely shallow and egotistic. The girls gossip and say mean things about Agatha, they can be vain and self-centred, despite trying at all times to to do 'good deeds'. Likewise, the Nevers can be really kind to each other and stick up for their friends, and not always for their own gain. This is in spite of 'evil only fighting for themselves, and good fighting for their friends'. I wish I could find the exact quote for you guys but I've lost the page now!


8. Finally - Extras
Scenes I really loved was Agatha's freeing the fish; and Sophie's asking the golden goose for a wish and the goose deciding would rather give up its power than help her (it figuratively 'died' and becomes a normal goose). I loved the bridge, and how every time Agatha had to outwit her own reflection in the barrier to secretly smuggle past it to the School for Evil to see Sophie. I love how Tedros is annoying and yet still lovable, even though the entire story he switches between the perfect, charming kind prince, and the arrogant a-hole of a prince who is pompous and snaps at people.

Also - Agatha is supposed to be 'ugly', but on the book cover she's ADORABLE! Why?! Is she so adorable?!?!?!



Ending
One the story starts leading up to the ball, that is when the biggest twists finally drop. I'm hesitant to reveal even a little - about who is truly good and who is truly evil, about the School Master's secret plan all along (that was AMAZING!!), and about how the ball DOES take place but not how anybody expects. It was incredible how we get to see what happens when Good becomes Evil and Evil becomes Good. I. Just. Love. It.

There's this awful/wonderful bit with that hopeless boy Tedros (sigh, poor Tedros) when he is tricked once again into doubting his judgment and he shoots an arrow that would've killed Agatha. I think I was on the floor gasping with shock when that happened. But I'm not telling the specifics! Go and read it!

The twist the veeery end had me going CRAZY, but I just won't share, not even for the good of the fantasy literature realm!


The Verdict

*****
5 Sha's!!

I loved this story to pieces and pieces. Its hilarious, heartwarming, and extremely, extremely imaginative. It surprised me in a big way, firstly because I couldn't put it down and as I finish typing this it's 6.20am, and second because it was one of those laugh-and-gasp-out-loud type of books, which I haven't read in a long while. The second book, A World Without Princes, is in my basket and the MOMENT payday lands, I'm buying it. I cannot WAIT until it gets here.

I feel like such a kid again!


Image: goodreads.com

Fantasy Food For Thought

I wanted to do an FFFT on Fairy Tales, on Good and Evil, and on the Dark Side of Children's Fantasy, but I am TOO. EXHAUSTED. Perhaps another time!


Aftermath

I'm amazed. This book became the third book I read in a week. By chance, I picked up two I adored and now I'm smashing my target! Oh, er, I mean, I target I shouldn't have... I'm relaxing now. Remember? No targets. Too stressful.


Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 25 September 2014

YA Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I saw Throne of Glass (I keep calling it Glass of Thrones) maybe about two years ago when it was first published. The cover was dark yet bright and gothic and mysterious and very badass. My interest was piqued by the fact that there was no romantic plotline in the blurb, which back then I found rare. "Back then", we hadn't yet separated the Teenage and Young Adult books yet. I added it to my wish list but I never got round to buying it... look where we are. 2014. That happens with books on the TBR...

The Reviews From A Bookworm blog recently gave it *ahem* favourable reviews which reminded me of it again. So when I saw it on offer at work I remembered my Super Book Haul thought... 'Well, I waited this long. I can wait a bit longer.' And then my evil conscience screamed, "BUT THE OFFEEEEEEERRR!" So I went for it, £11.98 for 4 brand spanking new books, which is what, £2.99 each? Sweeeeet. I got that dopamine kick I get when I buy news books and go on that natural high, feeling happy until I realise how long it's gonna take to read them. And then I don't.

The blurb had me interested enough, although maybe it could've done better without that last line.


Throne Of Glass critique


Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Published: 2012
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Young-Adult

Blurb:
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?


Just a reminder, my reviews are not spoiler-free.

When I began, I wasn't wowed but I was willing to see where it would take me. I quickly became unsure about Celaena's character. She was extremely childish and arrogant despite being the best assassin in all of Adarlan. Now, these two facts don't contradict each other - in fact the juxtaposition is so unusual that it makes her slightly more interesting but there's one problem.

Childishness in any respect is not a likeable character trait. I don't like Celaena. So you see the problem.

There are other contradictions that were less tolerable. I expected extreme cunning on her part now that an opportunity to escape had arrived but I felt she barely rose to the challenge. Not being aware of Dorian sitting next to her at the piano. Hating Chaol (to a quite extreme extent, in my opinion, and for no justifiable reason I could determine) but having empathy for criminals at the tournament. I know this is the point; I'm guessing this reminds us of her uncertainties, which would be more intense when you remember she was betrayed, and also she's only 17. But sadly this is the reason some YA's are tiresome to me. You expect me to believe this person will achieve great things against all odds when she's so temperamental?

'She knew better than anyone not to underestimate opponents based on their appearance' (p.86), but she had done exactly that fourteen pages earlier, making the judgement to Prince Dorian that Cain wouldn't be fast or swift because of his immense size. It's just all a bit up and down.

I continued to read, despite that the motivations of this tournament seem extremely foolish. If you are the King, and you need protection from your enemies, rounding up the worst of the assassins and thieves in your kingdom is a bizarre way to go about it. These people, I'd imagine, wouldn't have the same sort of moral conscience as a knight - which might be precisely why the King wants them, but it's also hard to imagine them swearing their loyalty either. It's not actually clear what's in it for the participants, unless I read with my eyes shut for an hour and a half.

Other issues. I really didn't see how the best assassin in Adarlan couldn't escape when they are moving her from the prison to the glass palace, as she's clearly done things of much greater magnitude. There doesn't seem to be any retribution for if she tries to escape. Prince Dorian says she'll return to the mines, but if for example she killed him and is executed, her flashback scene made it clear she preferred death to the mines. So I don't really get it.

Prince Dorian and Captain Chaol didn't have any guarantee that she wouldn't kill them the moment they got the chance, and his plight was nowhere near strong enough to justify his voyage and getting her out of prison. You hunt down the most trained assassin in the kingdom to kill your worst enemy, or avenge your father/mother/brother, not for a tournament that you don't even condone. And Dorian didn't condone it, so why make the effort?

I must say though, the bit that really pulled me in with a WOW was when she woke up and the fae had left her flowers. That made actually made me gasp, the imagery was so perfect and enchanting in my head. When I read that bit, that is precisely when my resolve to continue reading was set.

Okay so *sigh* these potential love interests, as it's clear that's what they are the moment she gets to the palace and is dancing rings around them both, are pretty clueless. The fact that both Dorian and Choal are young and (assumingly) without life experience makes them even more exasperating, and the conversations they have with Celaena make me want to pull my dreadlocks out.


Example 1 - Celaena and Chaol.
' "Do you know how insulting it is to pretend to be some nobody thief from a small city in Fenharrow?"
He stared her down, quiet for a moment. "Are you that arrogant?" She bristled, but he went on. "It was foolish to spar with you just now. I'll admit I hadn't realized you'd be that good. Thankfully, no-one noticed. And do you want to know why, Lillian?" He took a step closer, his voice lowering. "Because you're some pretty little girl. Because you're a nobody jewel thief from a small city in Fenharrow.[" ...]
"Exactly! It's insulting!"
"It's smart, that's what it is.["] ' (p.88, Throne Of Glass, Sarah J. Maas)

Arggghhh, there are so many things in this passage that make me grit my teeth, I don't know where to begin.

1. First and foremost. Celaena has just been freed from a prison where she received whips so severe, she'll be scarred for life. If I was released and then sent to do something I excel at for the King, I wouldn't be complaining about my flipping name. Would you?
2. Second. Yes, yes, of course it's smart. Everybody seems to have realised this EXCEPT Celaena. This is why it's so hard to find her likeable.
3. 'It was foolish to spar with you just now.' Yes, it was, you're an idiot. 'I'll admit I hadn't realized you'd be that good.' You hadn't realised Adarlan's Assassin would be 'that good?' Who ARE you, anyway? Maybe Dorian should call in a guard with more experience instead of his best friend. 'Thankfully, no-one noticed.' Yeah THANKFULLY! But sadly a tournament such as this will require more than luck, and I'm now convinced Chaol just isn't bright.


Example 2 - Celeana and Dorian.
"What are you doing here?" she repeated.
He smiled roguishly. "We decided to meet tonight. Don't you remember?"
"I thought it was a joke."
"I'm the Crown Prince of Adarlan." He sank into a chair before the fire. "I never joke."
"Are you allowed to be here?"
"Allowed? Again: I'm a prince. I can do what I like. "
"Yes, but I'm Adarlan's assassin."[...]
"I don't think anyone who plays like that can be just a criminal. It seems like you have a soul." he teased.
"Of course I have a soul. Everyone has a soul."
(p.145, Throne Of Glass, Sarah J. Maas)

1. From what I remember, they DID technically 'decide' to meet. Celaena gave no indication that she didn't actually mean it despite that she was annoyed at the time. In fact, if he DIDN't turn up, I would have struck it down as an incontinuity.
2. HA!! Is this for real? He is always, joking. He has joked in almost every scene he's been in in this book so far. What a ridiculous thing to say.
3. "Yes, but I'm Adarlan's assassin." - For goodness sake, nobody cares! Her vanity injures me! WHY is she such a liked heroine?
4. Oh dear, what a clumsy prince. It's quite clear that the prince would be happy to get romantically involved with an assassin who is bound to honour her deal with him unless - oh! - he happens to be dead. So I've lost about 100 respect points for him, from right about... now.


Prince Dorian is always 'chuckling' or 'laughing' which gives him a two-dimensional edge. It's all he ever seems to do. But I must say, the POV chapter from him helped a lot to flesh out his character a lot. Sadly, I can't empathize with a bored prince. I know not every prince in fantasy has to have some trauma or someone to avenge, but at the same time, I've had no reason thus far to root for Dorian so his wants and motivations mean nothing to me. The scene when he walked in on Celaena playing piano was embarrassing.



Quick List Of Elements In This Book I Have (Regrettably) Seen Done Better Elsewhere

  • Teenage Girl, Wins Tournaments (Against All Odds to everyone else; to us, Inevitably) - Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
  • Young But Extremely Skilled Fighter - oh gosh, so many, you can look pretty much ANYWHERE in fantasy or YA
  • Bored Prince - Prince Tedros, The School For Good And Evil, Prince Joffrey, A Song Of Ice And Fire, Prince Salme Dien from Empire In Black And Gold, like almost EVERY PRINCE in fantasy basically.
  • Young Man Promoted To Top Of Rank At Extremely Young Age - Fell Aron Lee, The City
  • Exotic Woman (usually a princess) With A Secret Agenda - Nymeria Sand, A Song Of Ice And Fire, again
  • Asshole King - King Odem, Half A King, but sorry that's a spoiler. How about Prince Jorg's father from Prince Of Thorns or Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: the Legend of Aang.
  • Woman At Court Who Is A Total Bitch - Scimina, A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, kinda gotta say Cersei from A Song Of Ice and Fire, many of the mothers from The Cousins' War
  • Other Competitors Who Don't Think the Puny New Fighter Can Win But We Secretly Know They Are Stronger Than Everyone - half the mangas I've ever read in my life including King Of Hell, and I've kinda gotta say Jorg from Prince Of Thorns, Pug from Magician and also Éowyn from Lord Of The Rings.

Princess Nehemia is a character that in other situations would have liked. But in Throne Of Glass, there's too many pointers and nudges and pushes that we're supposed to like her before we get the chance to do so ourselves. In the first scene, we are told that she is beautiful, she dislikes slaves, the two-faced women at court annoy her, she dislikes the extravagance of a glass castle, supports rebel groups, and opposes arranged marriages. I feel like it's Virtue Overload.

If I ignore the pointers and focus on what she says and does, as I would when meeting a real person for the first time, this is what I learn. She immediately takes to the one person who knows her language, who unbeknownst to her is an assassin. That's understandable in any situation. But it is NEVER wise, in any language, to barely disguise an insult of one companion to another; she's already bitching about - Kaltrain, was it? - and the castle without knowing where Celaena's loyalties lie. Luckily for Nehemia, it is not with the king, the castle or Kaltrain, but it makes Princess Nehemia appear without tact and she's stuck in the middle of what she considers to be enemy territory.  Her friendship with Celaena happens so fast, that not only do I feel no 'Aw' over it, but I'm aware that from the moment we meet her, all she does is complain (I hate people like that) so maybe they deserve each other. The Princesses I admire best can smile in a room full of bitches and vipers.

What made me put the book down was this line, spoken by Chaol.

"How'd you remember my brother's name?" (p.167, Throne Of Glass, Sarah J. Maas)

??? WHAT? Why the hell would you ask someone HOW they remember something? Well, er, see, you told it to me, and my mind stored it away for future use. ???

That was enough for me, it was getting ridiculous. I don't care what happens, I don't care if it picks up, I don't care how it ends, I don't care about the other three books, I'm done.





The Verdict

I am aware that because I didn't read to the end, there may have been issues I mentioned here that would've eventually been answered. However.

Every character in this story is a stereotype. The dashing but disillusioned Prince, the stern guard promoted at a remarkably young age, female assassin who, despite being harshly trained for eleven years, has hissy fits every five minutes - okay thats not a stereotype, just a Mary Sue. The formidable and probably crazy king, the jealous courtesan, even the surprising ally of a princess-type I have read before. (Game Of Thrones, Margaery Tyrell. Wasn't what she seemed, was she?)

The blossoming romances didn't make me believe in them because I saw no convincing emotional push, and this is down to the nature of the characters. Like I said in my post on A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, characters are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me. Even with an interesting concept and gripping world history and those magical fae making a brief appearance, it's just not enough. What I read of it, I'd give about three stars. I didn't hate it - I just didn't love it enough to care.

***
(unfinished.) :(


Aftermath

So. Pissed. Off.

Not just because I was I looking forward to this series and was disappointed, or because it's YET ANOTHER unsatisfactory YA book that  have to add to the list, but because I know what it's like to love a book and be part of the fandom and to sail the ship and be all like YEAH I'm totally happy to neglect my social life while I search for fan art on Deviantart. *sigh*

Like, I could make myself go on reading it, like I did with Wuthering Heights (I did reach the end of that book, GOD it was awful. I was so angry.), even if just to find out about the fae, and Sam who seemed very interesting (maybe that was just because he had no dialogue. The dialogue in this book annoyed me.) but I don't feel motivated anymore.

I will read something from Sarah J. Maas in the future. Anything. Just... not... this.


Alternative Readings

I'm highly aware that my review is probably ugly duckling in the blogosphere. Like I said, this book is widely loved; almost every book blog where I've stumbled across a review of this rated it highly. Here's a handful:

- Charnell from Reviews From A Bookworm (4.5 /5)
- Regan from Just A Book Blogger (5 /5)
- Amanda from Book Badger (4 /5)
- Ebony from Daring Damsels (3.2 /5)


There was an interesting post on hello giggles about being tired of the Overqualified Girl Sidekick. The writer has a point, but if the girl sidekick graduates into a Do-All Heroine, then in my eyes the risk of her becoming a Mary Sue is a greater danger.

One thing that really gets me, is - in a way, Celeana and Prince Adarlan remind me of my own Karalan and the Prince of Pearls. Which makes me wonder - did I develop my characters properly? I'm tempted to go back and start from scratch.



Ashana Lian .

P.S. God, I feel so bad. Sorry, Miss Maas. I guess it just wasn't for me.

____________________

And now, what you've all (I'm joking, just me) been waiting for:
I love this book, soooo much AND YOU SHOULD TOO!
Unleash your inner kid!
(Review'll probably be posted tomorrow).

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Artwork: Fantasy Twitter/Facebook Covers That Wowed Me

Sooo.... I got a Twitter. URGH.

I have refrained from getting a Twitter since its creation. Then I figured that if I'm serious about a career in anything, I should probably hop on this social networking crap. So. Yes. I think I've only logged in once since I made it. But the point I'm getting to is that while looking for an punchy fantasy cover, I came across some pretty awesome artwork.

Now sadly, I have no idea who the authors or owners of any of them are, so anyone with a clue, leave a comment.



Game Of Thrones: I love how colourful it is! I surprised myself by remembering at least half of the locations and family names by crest and motto.


Brave New World: Whenever I see this image, I think - 'What the hell happened?'


Chained Island: ...made me think of Skyloft. You know, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword? Although Skyloft is above the clouds. High above.


Edge Of The World: Rivers flowing into space? A flat, jagged disc of a world with a grassy top and burning underside? It's so weird, you kind of have to love it.


Mysterious Library: Enchanting. Like all libraries, really.


The Sword and The Dragon: I have never seen a dragon like this before.


Doomsday: Reminds me of The Cats And The Keys again, when heaven falls to earth.


Spellbook: I've seen this image all over google! It's so amazingly detailed though, that's probably why.


Ancient Hellkite: ?! This is. Incredible.


Angel: Angel-Assassin-Magician?


Dragon vs Phoenix vs Dinosaur: This was the cover I chose. Look at those colours. c:


Dragon Of The Deep: I love this one because the dragon looks so sinister.


Potions: This last image gave me an idea! But I'm not going to write it down just get, because I'm getting distracted by too many ideas (e_e). I could use a Focus potion right now.


I thought this was a pretty nice way to start off the Artwork posts, which I've been leading up to for a little while.


Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Book: Empire In Black And Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This review is about a month late.

A quick note. A few days ago, there was a HUGE spider hanging outside our kitchen window. We put it outside when it came in the house, but I've been feeling itchy for days and days whenever I think about it. Ugh. Apparently, because this summer was so hot and humid, large quantities of insects have been about so a lot of arachnids are a lot bigger than usual because they have more food. Despite reading this book and being fascinated with how enchantingly the insects were described, it's clear that I'll never be an 'insect person'.

I got my copy of this book signed at Fantasy In The Court, and Adrian Tchaikovsky said that he's always been fascinated with insects. He also said that the TENTH book in the series was released recently, I think! I'm only on the first one!

My reviews is not spoiler-free.

*

Empire Of Black And Gold analysis

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Tor
Published: 2008
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Epic/Steampunk

Blurb:
The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace for decades, bastions of civilization, prosperity and sophistication, protected by treaties, trade and a belief in the reasonable nature of their neighbors.

But meanwhile, in far-off corners, a warlike Empire has been devouring city after city with its highly trained armies, its machines, it killing Art . . . And now its hunger for conquest and war has become insatiable.

Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see that the long days of peace are over. It falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people, before a black-and-gold tide sweeps down over the Lowlands and burns away everything in its path. But first he must stop himself from becoming the Empire's latest victim. 



This is a book I was lucky to come across. To think - I may never have discovered this wondrous world!

This started of really, really well. It may or may not be something to do with the fact that after 13 painful pages of The Bone Season (but I won't give up yet!), I switched to Empire IBAG and BAM. Right from the start, the action unfolds beautifully. There's these wonderful description of the wasps, and the black and gold reference recurs throughout the book as they are the main antagonists. Something about this novel really reminded me of steampunk and really made this world seem vast.

I was so happy and relieved to find that the descriptions were plentiful and I could 'see' what was happening, which has been lacking in the books I read around the time I read this. The story begins with a tense pre-battle scene, and as a small group of people watch it unfold they realise they've been betrayed. It's really heart-wrenching because even though I've just met these characters, I join them in their horror at realising their doom.

Stenwold Maker was such a likeable character from the very beginning, I rooted for him from the start. He's not the typical hero type; at the start of the story he's in his prime, but for the majority of it he is much older and not the fittest of men! His actions verge on desperation as he realises that after year and years of planning, after years of warning that no-one will believe, the Waps are about to invade and he's not ready. You just can't help but want him to win!

One thing that wasn't one hundred percent clear was whether some things were metaphorical or literal. The characters in the novel are described by what 'kinden' they are. For example, Spider-kinden are often tall and very good at manipulating people, but terrible with anything technical like machines. Beetle-kinden and shorter, squat and stocky, and then there's wasp-kinden, ant-kinden, fly-kinden, mantis-kinden and so on. it's incredibly clever the way it's done, and the introduction of the only Butterfly-kinden was breathtaking.

Eventually I realised that in this world, actual insects still exist and the 'Apt' (I think that's what they're called) are races of people like those insects, many with special abilities, like telepathy, wings, seeing in the dark, and so on. Some characters has spines growing out of their rms and I wasn't sure what to imagine. Also, it was hard to remember who was which kinden so I instead tried not to think about it and when by the description given when they were given. Someone, just know what kinden a character gave a clue to their appearance and temperament, which really helped.

I couldn't help noticing was how often the word 'sheer' was used. 'His look, as Salma clutched at his elbow, was one of sheer arrogance' (p.32), 'the sheer fecund exuberance of it' (p.48), 'armour that only Beetle kinded possessed the sheer stamina to wear' (p.69), and i spotted more. It was one of those funny things, one I noticed the second use, I couldn't stop.

I was really intrigued by the being of darkness that Achaeos was of afraid of. I didn't really understand what was happening there, but I liked it anyhow.

The characters began out as loose stereotypes but grew into so much more as the story went on. Che personality - her stubbornness and inability to think things through properly - provoked me to become very frustrated with her very soon, but after the first third of the story, I actually quite liked her. I found Che and Achaeos very sweet, although I felt bad for Totho, specially as he's a 'halfbreed' with a history of being shunned.

Che becoming captive with Salma was one of the most engaging parts of the story, and they went though some really jarring ordeals. Her scene with Captain Thalric was so great because despite that they 100% oppose each other, they also kind of empathised with each other, as if in another life they would've been friends.

I adored Captain Thalric's complex nature - he didn't like all the things he had to do in his job, and he did have a heart. But above all, his duty to the Empire was stronger than any other resolve he had, which became clear in the bit when Che realised that as long as he did his bit for the Empire he didn't much care about the rest. Prior to that, Che had almost been raped so Thalric's indifference was quite disturbing. Likewise, when he was ordered to kill children he just did it and got over it, but he had children of his own and the fact that he had to kill them in front of their mother haunted him.

Tynisa becoming involved with Sinon's gang wasn't something I was sure I liked, but it was very interesting. I felt like she was a little bit of a flat character. Or not as interesting as the others, at least. She didn't seem to have a real drive, expect fighting, and I've kind of seen that a lot lately. One particular twist that was a sucker punch was learning that Tynisa is Tisamon and Atryssa's daughter, and that for years Tisamon had falsely believed her a traitor. Hands down, the most memorable twist of the book.


The Verdict
****
4 Sha's.

This story was highly imaginative. I loved the Apt, the world was complex and detailed, and the story itself had so many magnificent qualities to it. It wasn't a complete match for me - I don't have any solid faults other than it didn't make me go crazy for it, but I enjoyed it enough to get through it pretty quick. I do hope to read the rest of the series at some point.


Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Book: A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

This book is important for me, being a fantasy book written by a black female author, with a protagonist of colour. Sadly, I don't know very many of those.

If you remember, this was one of my holiday reading choices. I never got round to reading it, but my eldest sister read hers while we were away. Almost every time she put it down, she said to me, "Shani, this is SO GOOD." I tried not to have unrealistically high expectations when I finally got round to reading it last night.

Little update. Upcoming posts: books review that should've been posted in July/August, the first fantasy artwork posts on this blog (finally e_e ), and either a YA of Children's book post.

My reviews are not spoiler-free. To be clear. :)


A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms analysis

Author: N. K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2010
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Epic

Blurb:
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the sky where gods and mortals intertwine.

There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.


This story is... an epic fantasy meets murder mystery meets paranormal romance meets royal court intrigue. That the best way I can describe it. The novel is smaller than a great deal of fantasy novels, only 398 pages. It is also, incredible. I'll tell you right now - I gave it five stars. Now I'll tell you why.

Last night, I was wondering what to read, and picked a few titles from my horde, deliberating. I really wasn't in the mood for any "Oh ye child of destiny, come unto Mordor," slay-the-dragon, save-the-realm bullshit. I really needed something light, easy, and PLAIN ENGLISH. I've been reading tombes all summer. >=(

I read the first page of this to make up my mind, and it seemed like only a couple seconds passed before I realised suddenly I was on page five or six. I thought, 'Clearly this is the one!' and I got into bed to read a little. As it turned out, I couldn't put it down and read until three o'clock this morning. I fell asleep full of wonder and thoughts and gods and mortals. I woke up late.

In terms of epic fantasy, the magic was wondrous and well described. As a murder mystery, I loved how we were given information in pieces, so one bit of harmless knowledge is suddenly a big deal three pages later when the realisation hits. This is actually because Yeine is trying to remember what happened up until the present moment, but it serves the mystery aspect of the story as well.

Because Nahadoth is the God of Night and everything associated with him is dark, ominous, dangerous, seductive, and almost oppressive, when Yeine starts getting obsessive about him it really did remind me of the sort of paranormal romance blurbs I'd casually read while tidying up at work (I was working as well, I swear. And at the time, I had higher hopes for that genre). Royal Court Intrigue - Scimina embodies that element! She was cunning, very cruel and despite how pitifully shallow she was, she was an excellent character because she had enough power to be a very dangerous enemy to Yeine. All in all, a complex and uunbelievably engaging story. I got so, so hooked.

Yeine was such a likeable character, even more so because she didn't belong anywhere. Thanks to her Anameri mother marrying her 'barbarian' Darr father, the Anameri's see Yeine as below them and the people of her father's homeland, Darr don't completely see her as one of them either. She's stuck between two worlds and neither one wants her - pretty heartwrenching. Yeine herself isn't remarkable, but she's brave and compassionate. Surprisingly, that's what helps her get ahead in the ruthless Sky palace, where the Anameri live and where some really appalling things go on, with everybody plotting and killing and sleeping with each other, the Gods, and underage children. Damn.

As for the side characters, I particularly loved Sieh. He seemed both ageless and childlike, and also both human and godlike. He was unnerving and loveable all at once, so N. K. Jemisin definitely pulled off this complex character in a pretty impressive way. Viraine the scrivener reminded me of Lord Varys from George R.R.'s ASOIAF - mysterious and untrustworthy, his spiderwebs clinging onto everyone.

The GODS. I Ab. So. Lute. Ly. LOVED the mythology of this story. The origin story of the Three Gods was probably one of the best I've read in some time. Nahadoth aka Nightlord (I'm sorry but - LOL) was awesome and fearsome, but I'm not sure how I felt about his relationship with Yeine. Nahadoth being a God trapped in mortal body is inevitably going to attract some incompatible lovers. But she gave in pretty easily, which - now, I don't want to say 'made me think less of her' but - really skewed up whatever her motives were meant to be.

There is always the afterthought about whether she ever would have had a chance with Nahadoth in the first place if she didn't harbour his sister's soul. One of the Gods I didn't like (either Zhakkarn or Kurue or someone) said that Enefa's soul being in Yeine had altered her and made them similar, which made the issue a bit hazy. I know I shouldn't have expected a happy fairytale ending for these two, but I was kinda hoping for it. We're talking about a relationship with a God and a mortal - I don't see how that could ever end happily (except in a YA), yet, I don't want it to end badly. I guess I'm one of those annoying hopeless romantics.

Intempas aka Skyfather! The God of Jackassness! (I'm joking, it's Day.) Such a great character, but very easy to dislike. I kind of like that despite the story's complexities, there are some invisible arrows pointing to who you're allowed to hate! Nahadoth is the God that welcomes change, whereas Intempas is his opposite in pretty much every regard, and so resists change. Thus, his stubbornness makes him irritating, and makes the story so much more interesting. It's bittersweet that their differences mean they will always fight, and yet they love each other infinitely.

Finally, it was wonderful to discover the irony that Yeine, investigating her mother's past to avenge her, discovers that that is exactly what Kinneth was trying to do as well. It seemed, then, that everything Kinneth did, even having Yeine, all led back to the revenge she was exacting on her father for (ceremonially, yes,) killing her mother. Despite all of Yeine's fond memories idolising her mother, in the end Kinneth - who didn't even have any emotional attachment to her mother - seemed cold.

It raises the thought that we only see one side to many of the people we meet, or whose blogs we read c: As the second youngest of six kids, it's weird to think that my eldest brother remembers my Mum from before I was even born and what she was like. I've heard she was different. My Dad though... yeah I'm pretty sure he has always been the same.


The Verdict

*****
5 Sha's!!

I did dithered between the four and the five for some time, because there were some things a bit like "Hmm." Because the magic didn't go overboard on the Rules And Boundaries, as I'm used to, sometimes I was a bit like "Huh? What? She/He/They could do that?" Plus, Yeine got a bit annoying at times, but considering that for half of the novel she was on death row that's excusable.

Also, even though I loved the narrative, I am not a huge fan of the whole "What happened to me? Ah, let me tell you my story to help me remember" method of narration as opposed to the, "I have a story to tell you, curious listener, sit your ass down." But I gotta say, N. K. Jemisin did it very cleverly, structuring the narration to give a sense of Yeine recollecting her memories. They weren't alway in linear order, and sometimes she made herself stop and go back.

So then, I judged the ending. It could've ended a lot of ways, and despite that I'm not entirely sure if I liked Yeine becoming a goddess and being able to assume those staggering physical/spiritual/magical characteristics of the goddess Enefa through harbouring her soul (hinted at when she was able to have sex with Nahadoth without dying like every other mortal gone before (that scene was beyonddd my comprehension, man)) despite not assuming anything else... *inhale* ...it was still a brilliant ending. There is no denying it. So it became a no-brainer. Five stars.



Image: desktopnexus.com. Reminds me of Sieh!

Fantasy Food For Thought

Two quick points. The first, surprisingly, is technical.

One thing I personally obsess over in my writing is descriptions. Over the years, I've focused on it more and more and now I go over and above to bring settings and particularly characters to life. I'll admit that characters are more important to me than any other aspect of my fantasy writing (I think I shows. I'm working on that). A long time ago, when I read parts of my eldest sister's working-novel, I was swept away by her incredible her descriptions were.

But lately, I've read a long of books where descriptions have been startlingly minimal - which usually works but sometimes doesn't - and then the rest is left to the reader's imagination, which I both enjoy and think is very important.

When rereading books on characters I enjoy, I realise that me liking that character is partly down to whatever perception I created in my mind of that character when I read about them, which immediately becomes clear when talking to another fan and realising that our perceptions clash, although are both essentially the same.

Remember I said this protagonist was of colour? Guess how many times that's mentioned? Twice. Yeine described her skin as brown two times and no more, and it works - possibly because it isn't terribly important other than adding to her being an outsider, I suppose. Or possibly because the fact doesn't need to be shoved in readers faces - she no more alien than any other ethnicity. Previously, I never thought about how successful short and concise descriptions can be, mainly because I like to obsess over details.



Gods and mortals. It's been some time since I read a fantasy novel where the Gods of the story verbally or physically interact with the characters. The first ever fantasy book I ever remember reading did this, but I'm not gonna day it because I think it's a spoiler. (If you really don't care though, it's in the Bio.) I really liked watching Yeine get to know them and compare folklore from her homelands to the actual deities themselves.

This book also made me think about religion beliefs and the way they shape our world. In Sky the city, punishment for believing anything other than that Intempas is the one true and worthy God is severe. But as it turns out, many of the details are skewed, and during the story Yeine realises the scale of the pain he inflicted. The God that the people of Sky worship is nothing like the actual diety himself.

But I'm gonna stop now, or I'll start getting philosophical about it.



Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fantasy + Cats = ?

Update - I expect posts to be erratic because of the issues I explained previously, but hopefully I can stick to the general Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule.


For the last three weeks when I go off to work, I have seen a cat either on the way there or on the way back when walking down my street. It's getting really weird and creepy that this has happened every time. They casually watch me as I walk past.

I've been trying to ignore this idea because it's distracting me from my novel. But it's getting a little hard now because my mind really wants to run away with the idea of magic-wielding cats. Or cats possessed by magical beings. Or cats as familiars to those caught in the midst of magic, aiding either the Good Guys or the Dark Side. I DON'T KNOW. I have no clue what I want to do with this idea, and if I'm not going to give it proper attention, I'd rather lay it aside. And yet... perhaps this is going to inspire that standalone fantasy novel I always wanted to write (non-series fantasy can be hard to find)...

Image: psd Fan - there's also a step-by-step guide on creating this image!

What Gets Me About Cats

1. Superiority. The thing that gets me about cats is how haughty they are. My sister's cat is so rude. He ignores you if you don't bring food, and if he's hungry and irritable, he'll bite your foot as you walk past. Sometimes he'll just ignore you if you call his name, though you know he heard because his ear swivels and the tip of his tail twitches. He also likes to sit in the middle of busy forcing us humans to notice him. If we accidentally step on his body or tail, he'll hiss the house down. If we trip over him though, that's our problem. You don't really own cats, they own you.

2. Mysticism. The behaviour and "expressions" of cats, at least the ones humans attribute to them, make them seem incredibly intelligent. Black cats hold such a stigma that the superstitious regard them as bad luck. Other associate them with witches and regard them as evil. Cats were worshipped as Gods in ancient Egypt. Those who own a pet cat has probably found their cat doing something uncanny, like staring out of the window, casting spells with their tail (joke) or sighing irritably.

3. They're everywhere - even in my dreams. I had a dream that a cat wouldn't stop following me. It was black and white and somehow I already knew she was called Sophia. She was follow me everywhere and mew all the while, until finally I sighed and picked her up, saying, "Fine, fine. I'll look after you."

Image: The Meeting by Stanley Morrison - stanleymorrison.com

The Cats And The Keys

TCATK is the codename for a brand new novel. Yeah - that one I couldn't stop thinking about for the last two months? I'm writing it now. I couldn't quite help it. I was worried if I shoved this idea away, the inspiration would never come back. So once again, OOTD is on hold.

To begin with, I brought in a protagonist I created long ago in one of my Idea books. I didn't know what for at the time. She fits right in. I wasn't sure at the start, because this was the first protagonist I've created that had little or no personality. Her job is to tell the story and then buzz off, which makes her a bit hollow. She doesn't initiate anything - just react. My initial idea was that the protagonist herself would be used as a device to emphasize the fantasy elements, an idea I'm sure has been done countless times before. That was why I worried about whether I'd be able to do it well, or if potential readers would scream "MARY SUE!". But when the cast around he started comcoming life, I was starting to think I made the right call. Juxtaposed with her upbeat best friend Shandi, it seems just right.

London. I did NOT want to set this in London. It doesn't feel right. And set, when visualisation that's the setting that naturally appears. I'm leaving that bit chalky, as I still might set TCATK somewhere else. However, I feel as though it should probably be in England, because Birmingham has to A. exist and B. not be too far away.

Trees. When I think of trees, I usually think about those huge ones that have been around forever, probably before my grandparents were born. No doubt, it all started with the Great Deku Tree (from The Legend Of Zelda, one of my biggest writer inspirations - see the Bio). I think - vast. Great. Ancient. Life. Those great trees don't have eyes, but imagine if they did. Imagine all the things they would've seen, all the knowledge they would have. I toyed with this idea a bit. In the past, trees spirits or dryads have been male or female, depending on this story. For this one, I see male entities that are not just trapped within the tree, or part of the tree. They are the tree.

Heaven. In the sense of - our perception of 'heaven', not purely the religious sense. The thought of the concept 'heaven' sets my mind racing, because most people have an idea of heaven in their mind, even if they don't believe in heaven. It made me wonder about of beliefs and whether at the end of the day, they actually matter at all. This is something else I decided to include in this particular tale.

Image: google

What makes me feel most uneasy about this story is how many random supernatural aspects I've stitched together. I only gave a few example above, but I feel as though this might get crazy. Usually, I focus on one fantasy element that really intrigues me and run wild with that. But this time, I've taken several that have mildly interested me, then my mind has consciously and subconsciously (I've had a crazy number of dreams about this one story - some were even narratives I could write into the current scene when I woke up) worked over it until it obsessed me. I have tried and tried not to think about this (like DragonsANP, that steampunk fantasy idea that was ticking away) but now I'm going to give it my full attention.

I can't help it. I do get excited about new ideas. It's kind of the one reason I haven't actually finished any story I've ever written.I really think I can make this... bizarre fantasy tale.

Image: Google

... I love cats.


Ashana Lian .

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