Advance review from fantasy writer Shannon Phillips. Grab your own free review copy of the book here. (via sharpestrose)
Let’s wait and see if anyone actually wants to read even one book, let alone more-than-one, lulz
I love this story so much, and the fact that the woman who can spin such beautiful, beautiful stories is someone I have the privilege of calling a friend humbles me.
i would read a hundred books set in this universe because it is SO GREAT and the world-building is super thoughtful and interesting and the characters are well written and such perfect amazing children i can’t actually deal with them
ahahaha I love that the review is like ‘the setting isn’t very fleshed out’ and then you’re like ‘I LOVE THE WORLDBUILDING’, Audz, ahaha.
I’m not gonna argue anything in the review one way or the other, cos I know it’s tacky and weird when writers do that (and also cos it’s a solid review and who wants to argue with that?!). I do think it’s interesting that it came across as dream logic, because I wrote it very much with the intention of things playing by the rules of fairy tale logic, which may be why some elements of the setting weren’t as elaborated on as much as Phillips would have preferred.
Well, I could elaborate, but I’m not sure it would be useful or welcome?
One thing I have struggled to overcome, when I started reviewing books on my blog, is that years of working as an editor have led me to be *much better* at zeroing in on flaws than at anything else. I mean, I can say “yes these chapters are really great!” and I can be specific about *why*, but my tendency is to do that very economically. I mean, I didn’t HAVE to spend paragraphs and paragraphs talking about what’s working when my job is to find the faults!
For reviews, on the other hand, you have to be really careful mentioning flaws at all. Because, let’s face it, so many reviews are biased and overblown. So the reading public is being trained to shy away from anything that isn’t YES THIS AUTHOR IS THE NEXT TOLKIEN OMG.
I write reviews only for my personal blog, so I can be really free about what works for me and what doesn’t, but I’m still aware that my reviews tilt toward the negative and it’s a tendency I try to fight. Especially when it comes to reviews of small-press works, I really do try to excise the criticism, because these are scrappy underdog books and I *want* them to succeed. I leave enough in so that if *I* were reading the review, I’d understand that it wasn’t just written by the author’s mom or whatever.
The first draft of the review I wrote for Ruby Coral Carnelian had more specific notes to back up the two small less-than-adulatory things I said. But I took those out, because ultimately I wanted people to understand that I liked the book—that I was recommending it. That’s the important takeaway. So I minimized everything remotely critical.
I honestly thought my review was pretty gushing, in the form that got posted. I figure, I’m not your editor, and you don’t need to get all my notes on whatever I think could be tightened. Plus, I don’t see how it’s helpful in a book that’s already at publication stage. But if you want that, if it would actually be helpful, then I can be a lot more specific.
As far as the “dream logic” thing goes, I really meant that to be descriptive rather than critical. I was particularly thinking of the kids’ somewhat random decision to pile into a boat and set sail for nowhere in particular. And I don’t think that’s even a flaw, just an indication that it’s the kind of story where people do things that don’t necessarily a make waking-world kind of sense, but make sense according to the subconscious logic of dreams and, yes, fairy tales. And like I said, it’s a narrative decision that pays off in a lovely moment. So I didn’t mean that as a criticism.