After an exhausting 2011, it has taken more than the usual measures to get back on track with…well…pretty much everything. But I am back in the driving seat and I have just switched out of neutral and I’m pulling away from the curb which is good news.
So far this year after all the books I have read (and yes I have read quite a bit), I have not wanted to review a single one. I’ve logged some of my reads in Good Reads, but not one tempted me enough to frantically scribble down notes.
Usually when I’m reading a great book I get continual “thought bubbles”, mental lightening bolts that have to be written down (compelled)…thank goodness for the iPhone Notes app or I would be lost. So there I was thinking (aka whining) why I hadn’t written any reviews so far this year until I cracked open Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson.
Lo and behold! A new and fascinating world to immerse and wallow myself in and for once, UNIQUE. Bloodthirsty. Invigorating. Quirky. I could barely contain all the comments my brain was sparking (including envy) about this amazing book.
So the answer for the review drought was simply apathy.
I want, need, have been craving, is more than the ordinary hero or black-clad heroine in a fiction novel. Is anyone doing anything different out there? Why is it always the same protagonist: the P.I, the messenger, the hybrid shapeshifter, the destined one? Could I be done with paranormal? Perhaps. But I could simply be embracing urban fantasy because it offers more.
Instead of building a book around a character and his/her unfathomable destiny, let’s try to build it around a world with a conflict. A world like no other. Throw your characters in it. Let the world shape them, destroy them, or have them emerge victorious but smoldering. Kill a few off, let’s the casualties reign. It’s hard to do…and I have read plenty of cop-outs over the years. Wring every drop of creativity for your world, invent every nook and cranny…after all you are in charge! It’s your world.
Some of my favorites, the absolute most memorable reads have been books with these characteristics…like Stacia Kane’s Downside series, which is an edgy smoke-filled urban fantasy that simply blew me away. Downside’s gritty burnt-out buildings, and its gangwars between Slobag and Bump, Chess fighting off her personal demons…all of it built on the fabric of magic and the Church of Real Truth.
Another is Lia Habel’s Dearly Departed, a refreshing blend of Victoriana, post-apocalyptic, zombie and steampunk that leaves an indelible mark. The war on the Front, the plight of those infected, Habel creates a complex and textured world that is rich and colored, and unforgettable.
Kristen Painter also wowed me with her world of the Comarre, in Blood Rights, with a rich culture, mannerisms all surrounding the intoxicating ritual of blood.
Another great favorite is Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series which is just as gritty as Kane’s, and breathes dark magic…the definite draw is the turbulence between Pete Caldecott and Jack Winter…heart wrenching and riveting. Talk about going to hell and back, Kittredge pulls all the stops. I might have shed a tear or two…
These are just a few that are my favorites (there are so many more) and with that in mind, I have been selective with some of the urban fantasy series that I was going to read for 2012. They have to be enticing…exciting, unique. I’m building a wish list of reads that I hope will fulfill the
promise of an adventure like no other. I hope I am not disappointed!